McCune featured as Miners Hall Museum quarterly exhibit

Miners Hall Museum in Franklin, KS is proud to announce the 2023 Second Quarterly Exhibit, “Little Balkans Coal Camp – McCune”, opening April 1 and continuing through June 24, 2023.

This exhibit features the fascinating history of McCune. While McCune was not traditionally known as a “Coal Camp” they provided a hub for area coal camps. Join us as we celebrate the unique and interesting history and growth of McCune, KS.

McCune was laid out in 1879. It was named for its founder, Isaac McCune. McCune was incorporated as a city in 1881. The first post office in McCune was established in August, 1878.

This special quarterly exhibit is hosted by Morgan Blanchard-Zimmer and Dick Rauniker.

Morgan Blanchard-Zimmer is the McCune Osage Township Library Director and current director of the McCune Museum. She has lived in McCune since she was a child, and now with her husband Kyle Zimmer. She attended Pittsburg State University and received her Bachelors Degree in Secondary History and Government. She has a passion for local history and keeping heritage alive.

Dick Rauniker is a local veteran who spent many years becoming a history buff on railroad history of the area and of WWII. Dick has lived in McCune for several years with his wife Beverly. He is excited to be presenting on the railroads that forged new commerce in southeast Kansas and united the rural communities to larger cities.

If you have artifacts, photos, or stories relating to this exhibit and would like to donate or loan them for this exhibit or future display at the museum, please contact the museum to share this wonderful history. Miners Hall Museum is located at 701 S. Broadway, Franklin Kansas on Business 69 Highway. Open Monday through Saturday 10am-4pm. Admission is free.

Special monthly programs are held for each exhibit. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. and the programs start at 2 p.m. Scheduled for this exhibit are:

April 23: “The Emergence of the Railroad in Rural Kansas – 1870 to present day”
Presented by Dick Rauniker.

Please join us while we cover the emergence of the railroad in Southeast Kansas focusing on the impact of the railway on McCune and Cherokee, Kansas. You will learn about the different railways that emerged into Southeast Kansas and the future of those railroads. The railroad had major impact on which towns blossomed due to the commerce and rail capabilities, while others faltered.

Richard (Dick) Rauniker the host has lived in McCune since 1949 when his father was transferred to McCune with the Frisco Rail Road. Richard was born in Cherokee, and early life surrounded the railroad. He enjoys history and has a vast knowledge of the railways of the United States. He attended what is now Pittsburg State University with a college degree in Business. While attending college he attended several history courses. He also had the opportunity to study in Slovenia for two summers. Besides researching and having a large knowledge of the railroads, he also has a large knowledge and understanding of WWII. Richard has a large collection of railroad items, memorabilia, and scale models in his study at home. He has also given speeches on the railroads at several other museums throughout the years.

May 21: “The Founding of McCune”
Presented by Kent Smith

Despite living several hours away, in Tulsa, OK, Kent has remained involved with the McCune Osage Township Library and museum and regularly participates in community events. His father, Herman W. Smith, Jr., had been born in McCune. One of his ancestors had one of the first businesses in McCune – a clothing store. His other great-great grandfather, Sevier Wilson emigrated in 1892 and opened one of the first general stores in McCune.

Kent strives to develop themes and stories that evolve from those individuals, their struggles and triumphs with the land, and their drive to create a community – a town named McCune to reflect and immortalize their shared dreams, experiences, and hopes for the future.

June 11: “The Impact of McCune on Industry”
Presented by Richard Weathers.

Richard is a Retired Professor, School of Technology at Pittsburg State University. Dr. Richard Weathers has deep McCune, KS roots. His grandfather, David A. Weathers and his wife Sadie Baer Weathers, had been married only a few years when D.A. began advertising for his “Handmade Harness” and “A Fine Line of Whips, Lap Dusters, and Etc.” in the McCune Herald of Jan. 5, 1893. They and their four children Audra, Jessie, Percy, and Reno were very much a part of the community fabric of early McCune.