Preserving the Past: Coal Camps and Coal Company Houses – July 1 – September 23 exhibit

Miners Hall Museum in Franklin, KS is proud to announce the 2023 Third Quarterly Exhibit, “Preserving the Past – Coal Camps and Coal Company Houses”, opening July 1 and continuing through September 23, 2023.

This exhibit will focus on the restored Miner’s House which is located at the museum. The house was donated by Sacred Heart Catholic Church parishioners. The exhibit will include a photo gallery of the restoration, from its acquisition in 2012 until its completed renovation in 2023. The restoration of structures in the camp town of Chicopee and the process of restoring historic Southeast Kansas buildings will also be highlighted. 

The exhibit is co-hosted by Linda Knoll and Jerry Lomshek. They also serve as Co-Chairs of the House Renovation Committee.

Jerry Lomshek is a local historian noted for his research on the Frontenac Coal Mining Disaster (1888) and other aspects of Southeast Kansas history. He was instrumental in establishing the Chicopee Foundation in 1994 renovated St. Barbara’s Church and created an active community center. Over the years, Jerry has restored multiple houses and buildings in Chicopee and has compiled research and historical records on the area’s coal mining and immigrant history. Jerry is a past board member of Miners Hall Museum.

Linda O’Nelio Knoll is an educator and historian who has worked in a variety of settings for heritage preservation. Her play, Army of Amazons (1995), which provided the research for the mural “Solidarity”, has been performed for numerous audiences. She maintains a website devoted to the women’s march. Linda is a member of the Humanities Kansas Speakers Bureau for which she gives talks across the state on Little Balkans coal mining and immigrant history.

Special monthly programs scheduled for this exhibit include the following:

July 23: “This Old Company House -This Old Coal Camp”

Presented by: Jerry Lomshek — with special guest Virgil Albertini.

Please join us for a Discussion about the history and process of restoring the Miner’s House and the restoration of St. Barbara’s Church and other historic structures in the original camp town of Chicopee.

Dr. Virgil Albertini will provide memories of living next-door to the Miner’s House when it was located on Depot Street in Frontenac in the 1930s.

August 6: Researching Your Home and the People Who Lived There

Presented by Diana Staresinic-Dean

Executive director of Franklin County Historical Society and Old Depot Museum, Ottawa, KS

Researching a property, be it an old home, a new business, or a section of pastureland, can do more than tell us the history of a space. It can also build a human connection to the people who came before us and the times in which they lived. This talk shares creative ways to study documents and assemble relevant narratives from maps, deeds, newspapers, and often unsought or unknown resources. This is ideal for those new to seeking out family and community stories, and helpful for those stymied by a dead end.
The program is made possible by Humanities Kansas. (Please use attached Humanities Kansas logo).

September 10: “Salvaging the Past

Presented by Larry Fields

This presentation will focus on Larry’s dedication to the preservation and renovation of the historic 1876 Frisco Depot and the Pittcraft building on Locust Street.

Miners Hall Museum is located at 701 S. Broadway, Franklin Kansas on Business 69 Highway.  Open Monday through Saturday 10am-4pm.  Admission is free.