BSE third graders display historical timeline at library
By November of 1898, 33 buildings stood in Bonner Springs, which had been granted rights as a third-class city.
The following year, an opera house was built that could seat up to 600 people. The first motion picture was shown in Bonner Springs in 1906.
All of the above were facts that third graders at Bonner Springs Elementary learned this year as they researched local history and created a historical timeline for the city of Bonner Springs. The timeline is now on display at the Bonner Springs City Library, and at a reception Sunday, the students had a chance to show off their work to their friends and family — many of whom learned a lot of facts about Bonner history they didn’t know.
Emily Ashford said her mom was among those impressed by the historical facts the third-graders found.
“She was looking at those and was kind of amazed,” Emily said.
Last year, third-graders used historical facts to create a board game. This year, third grade teachers Ea Trumbo, Amanda Ketterling and Don Cooley decided to do a history project that was more accessible for the public. So they worked with the Friends of the Library to get the students’ project on display, and library volunteer Linda Losier helped the students get prints of historical photos to display with the timeline.
Watching people check out the timeline Sunday was gratifying.
“We wanted to make it more interactive, and you can see people walking up and flipping up the cards,” Cooley said.
Kim Beets, library director, said many patrons had taken interest in the timeline, which has been on display the last few weeks and will remain at the library for the next month.
“The response has been great,” Beets said. “We’ve had a lot of walk-in traffic come and spend a lot of time flipping through the information.”
The students began researching at the beginning of the school year, interviewing Bonner history experts like Mayor Clausie Smith and Roger Miller and making use of the library’s Kansas Room. They broke into small groups to break down the information year by year and decide what was most important for the timeline, beginning in 1540, when explorer Francisco Coronado stayed in the area for the winter.
“They liked the history with the downtown fire — they found that interesting,” Ketterling said. “The also liked the history with the schools and how they changed, going from a one-room school house to the separate schools.”
Caleb Lewis said the hardest part of the project was picking out what information went into the timeline and what didn’t. His favorite part was learning about the history of schools in Bonner.
“We liked to know that only four or five students attended the first school house,” he said.
Larry Fox helped write the information for the year 1908, so he said his favorite part was learning about the fire in October of that year, which destroyed 19 businesses and houses, causing $70,000 in damage.
He also liked taking a walking history tour and seeing some of the same buildings that they had seen in historical photos of the city.
The teachers say they hope to find another historical project for next year’s third-graders — they may even try to write a book.
Trumbo said learning about local history has proven to be a big benefit to the students.
“I think they’ll take more ownership in their community by learning this history,” Trumbo said.