We are asking you to join Miners Hall Museum Foundation in preserving a unique piece of coal mining history in Southeast Kansas.
This Page 618 Walking Dragline when restored, will be the second and largest dragline preserved for public display in the United States. This destination will benefit Southeast Kansas, bringing visitors, tourists, authors, and students from across the nation, creating local business revenue and interest in our unique coal mining history
Keith Haddock, co-founder of the Historical Construction Equipment Association in Bowling Green, Ohio, is the leading expert on earthmoving and surface mining equipment. He is a professional engineer, author, freelance writer and TV guest. Mr. Haddock states:
"I still believe that saving the Page dragline is of the utmost importance and the top of the list for all items to be preserved in America."
Donors will be recognized on our Page 618 Walking Dragline Donor Recognition digital wall. Additional giving level recognition includes donor names engraved on the donor plaque at the dragline site, and invitation to the dedication dinner, a signed picture, a MHM lifetime membership, and a signed copy of the limited edition book, 'Coal Mining Days' by Debby Ossana Close while supplies last.
Your support is crucial to our efforts! Become a Part of History by Preserving the Past for Future Generations!
Wilkinson Coal Company - Page 618 Walking Dragline
William Wilkinson was born in Pelton Fell, England, in 1862. He worked the mines from the age of 10 and came to Weir City, Kansas, in 1883 at the age of 20 to continue mining. In 1917, he started his own deep mine a mile south of Fleming, Kansas. Wilkinson Coal Company, Weir City, Kansas, operated from 1917 to 1979. William Wilkinson died in 1932 and his sons continued the mining operation.
A Walking 618 Page Dragline with a 110 foot boom was purchased in 1953 from Alexandria, Louisiana, and shipped by rail to Weir City for the strip mining operation. The dragline was later used for clay mining by the Mission Clay Company. It later came back tot he Wilkinson family when Wendell Wilkinson purchased it from Mission Clay.
John W. Page invented the dragline in 1904. A walking mechanism was developed a few years later, allowing draglines mobility free of rails and rollers, and was adopted by the Chicago-based Page Engineering Company in the 1920s. The company introduced its popular 600-series draglines in the mid-1930s.
Wendell and Lynda Wilkinson are pledging to donate the Page 618 dragline to Miners Hall Museum for the restoration project. Out of the eighteen built, this will be the only known Page 618 to be restored.
The dragline, shown at its current location to the right, will make the 30.4 mile trip to Franklin, Kansas, intersection of US 69 Hwy and KS 47 Hwy, also known as Ginardi's Corner.
Once restoration begins, the project will be followed by the donor plaque and information signage, sidewalks, lighting, seating, fencing, and parking for cars and buses.
Please print, complete, and mail the following document to link arms with us in preserving a piece of history for future generations: Contribution Form. If unable to print, a check can still be mailed.
Send to Miners Hall Museum, 701 S Broadway Street, Franklin, KS 66743-8501
You can also donate with a credit/debit card straight off this website
We are an exhibition located within the Franklin Community Center & Heritage Museum in Franklin, Kansas. The public is invited to visit and view the mining artifacts as well as other historic items.
701 S. Broadway
Franklin, KS 66735
Hours of Operation:
Please call to schedule tours.
Donations of mining-related artifacts or photos may be dropped off Monday through Friday, 10 - 4pm.
“Railroaded: The Industry that Shaped Kansas” was presented by Leo E. Oliva at Miners Hall Museum. A large crowd gathered for this interesting program which was provided by Humanities Kansas, a nonprofit cultural organization that connects communities with history, traditions, and ideas to strengthen civic life.The event was part of the Amazon Army Centennial exhibit and speaker’s series. The program was hosted by Linda Knoll in connection with the year-long exhibit honoring the centennial of the Amazon Army March.Mark your calendars for the next monthly program “Red State: Socialism & The Free Press in Kansas” which will be presented by Matthew Thompson of Overland Park, Kansas. This program will be held on October 24, 2021. The presentation will discuss the rise and fall of the Socialist press in Kansas, as well as its causes, leaders, and detractors, and explore the role of free press.Continue to follow us on Facebook for more details, share our posts, and make plans to view the exhibit at the museum. Open Mon-Sat 10am-4pm. Free admission. ...
COVID TESTING at Miners Hall Museum, Monday, September 20: The Crawford County Health Department Mobile Testing Team will be in the north parking lot at Miners Hall Museum, Franklin, Kansas from 9:30 am-1:30 pm. FREE testing will be provided during the visits. No appointment needed. Those between the ages of 12-17 must be accompanied by a legal guardian. Please remain in your vehicle upon arrival. Additional testing sites and dates for the Crawford County Health Department Mobile Testing Team:Wednesday, September 22 - Cherokee City Hall, RV will be on the South side of the building - 9:30 - 1:30Thursday, September 23, K-State Extension, Girard, KS - RV will be on the West side of the building. 9:30 - 1:30. ...
Be sure to read J. T. Knoll's article in the Morning Sun and join us at Miner Hall Museum at 2 pm this Sunday for “Railroaded: The Industry that Shaped Kansas”. The program will be presented by Leo E. Oliva. Funding for this program is provided by Humanities Kansas, a nonprofit cultural organization that connects communities with history, traditions, and ideas to strengthen civic life. Doors open at 1:45. Free admission.All aboard for the Playter, Stilwell and KCP&G (Submitted by J. T. Knoll)At one point there were five railroads traveling through Pittsburg. Today, just one — the Kansas City Southern.I’ve written about riding the rails on KCS passenger trains many times over the years — the boyjoy of ambling up the aisle, stutter stepping to the rock-a-bye of a massive passenger car fifteen feet above the ground.Outings that included day trips with my friends to watch Don Gutteridge manage the White Sox when they had Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio (and get autographs) at the old Municipal Stadium, family outings to see the Ice Capades (and stay overnight at the Dixon Hotel), and day trips with my brother, Steve, to catch a Cinerama movie at the Empire (followed by exploring the downtown area on foot).I once got to ride with my engineer dad in the locomotive to Baxter Springs and back, at one point sitting beside him in the engineer’s seat and advancing the lever to accelerate the behemoth diesel electric motor.It was Arthur E. Stilwell (for whom the Stilwell Hotel is named) who, in 1897, founded the company known today as the Kansas City Southern. In 1897, bucking the trend in railroad building, Stilwell completed the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad Company (KCP&G) with a route running not east and west but north and south from Kansas City to Port Arthur, Texas, which is named for him. Pittsburg’s founder, Franklin Playter, convinced Stilwell not only to angle the railroad over the Kansas – Missouri line through Pittsburg before cutting back over to Joplin, but also to make Pittsburg a division point and build their shops here. In 1900, the KCP&G became The Kansas City Southern Railway Company. This was back in the day when steam engines needed to replenish their water supply even more often than wood or coal — so wooden, and later steel, water towers were a common site along the tracks.In the very early days, steam locomotives needed to take on water every 10-15 miles so water towers (and many times windmills to pump water) could be found in the smallest of towns or, in some cases, miles from the nearest settlement.With the introduction of the tinder (a car that carried extra coal and water), trains extended their water stops to 100-150 miles — a distance which typically coincided with a train crew’s district / territory and the location of maintenance facilities. It’s no surprise that Stilwell agreed to build a repair unit here as it’s 125 miles from the Kansas City freight yards and Union Station.It’s fascinating history. I’m looking forward to hearing more about Kansas railroads at the 2 p.m. presentation by Leo E. Oliva this Sunday, September 19th at Miners Hall Museum in Franklin.Oliva will give a talk and share photographs as part of the Kansas Humanities and Amazon Army Speakers Series in a presentation titled “Railroaded: The Industry that Shaped Kansas.” The Kansas Humanities promotion material outlined by Oliva for his presentation says the following: “In the 19th century, the influence of the railroad industry was vast. Some claim that Kansas was created specifically to accommodate westward expansion of railroads. “Railroads brought immigrant settlers, created jobs, and fed beef markets in the East. They enabled regular mail service and the adoption of standard time. Most Kansas towns were founded because of the railroad, and few survived without it. “This progress came at a cost to the Plains Indians who were forcibly displaced by this westward expansion. This presentation examines the complicated legacy of railroads.” Oliva, whose research focus is on 19th century Kansas, is the author of “Soldiers on The Santa Fe Trail,” six books for the Kansas Forts series, founding member of the Santa Fe Trail Association and Fort Larned Old Guard.As for southeast Kansas, Pittsburg Kansas Memories has a marvelous site on the Internet that features Kansas City Southern railroad history and old photographs of the Pittsburg freight yards, shops, passenger depot and freight depot. Just Google it and go to Pittsburg Scenes – Transportation, or click here if viewing article online: pittsburgksmemories.com/Pittsburg_Transportation/pitttransportkcs.htmlHere’s a quote from a 1951 Diamond Jubilee Program on the site about the importance of the shops being located here in Pittsburg: “Pittsburg has been called a nerve center of the Kansas City Southern, for not only is it the headquarters of the system's 433-mile Northern division, but the entire mechanical and store departments are directed from the shops here at Sixteenth and Michigan.”As for water towers, with the introduction of diesel locomotives in post WW II America, they disappeared, but I found a 1908 photo on the site that shows a view of the KCS yards and shops from 23rd Street, in which there’s both a wooden and steel one. I’m looking forward to hearing more about the old locomotives, water towers — and much more — at the 2 p.m. presentation this Sunday at Miners Hall Museum. Why not take the Franklin spur off 69 Highway and join me? Relax. Maybe take on some water. Let off a little steam.If you have a remembrance and/or photo to share, send it — along with your name, address and phone number — by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by land mail to 401 W. Euclid, Pittsburg, Kansas 66762. You can phone and text photos to 620-704-1309 ...
Thank you to all our generous friends and donors who have helped us reach our goal to repair the storm siren. The process has begun and the storm siren will be working again soon. We appreciate all those who stepped up and helped in any way. Donations can be made to our maintenance fund for the storm siren at any time. If making a donation be sure to note that is where you would like the donation to go. ...