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.
Today is your last chance to see the Arma special exhibit "Little Balkans Coal Camp - Arma” . Open today 10-4. Free admission. This amazing exhibit features the fascinating history of the coal camp now known as Arma. Join us as we celebrate the unique and interesting history and growth of Arma, KS. Once again we send a special thank you to an amazing group of ladies who spent countless hours (and had a lot of fun!) creating this exhibit. We look forward to working with them on future projects. Thanks to Christie (Nicoletti) Parrish and her team consisting of Joan (Pistotnik) Barbieri, Emma Louise (Lancelotti) Ales, and Pat (Tassi) McKee. Don't miss this exhibit. Stop in today!! Photos are just a tiny sampling of the exhibit. ...
Thanks to Hometown Girard for the coverage of our program "A Winning Team". Great story and we are so grateful to have hometown news covered in such detail. Thanks to Leslie Montee for the beautiful story. ...
Happy birthday, David!! Wishing our SER Trainee a very happy day today. If you're out and about, stop in and say hi and wish him a happy birthday. David is always a great resource and is very knowledgeable about the museum and the Research Center. We are very fortunate to have him at the museum. ...
Another amazing program (A Winning Team) at Miners Hall Museum this past Sunday. This was one of the most well attended programs and it was standing room only. We apologize to those who did stand but the memories and laughter were well worth the effort. Thanks to the host of the quarterly exhibit “Little Balkans Coal Camp - Arma” Christie (Nicoletti) Parrish and her team consisting of Joan (Pistotnik) Barbieri, Emma Louise (Lancelotti) Ales, and Pat (Tassi) McKee. They created an exhibit that has been enjoyed by countless visitors. Thanks to Coach Tony Fornelli for sharing such wonderful memories of the sports teams and athletes. And what a wonderful site to see those "boys" back with their coach. We appreciate them all for attending and supporting him as he shared many great stories with the audience. Thanks to Gene Wayenberg who shared his stories which brought the crowd to laughter several times. We appreciate his sharing of such great memories and also for the many photos, clippings, trophies, and mementos that he brought to share in the exhibit. And thanks to all those who travelled great distances (St. Louis, Kansas City, etc). Several large groups of family members were in attendance and we were happy to have them. We love being able to share this great history with everyone. If we were unable to personally visit with you, please consider this our "thank you" for attending and for sharing stories, photos, and memories. We know that all the stories were not told and that many coaches, teachers, players and others were not mentioned or not mentioned enough. It wasn't because they were forgotten. Time was a factor and everyone did the best they could. They are remembered in the exhibit and we are happy to continue to share their stories and photos. So if you have items to share, we are more than happy to continue to share those in our Research Center long after the exhibit is removed. If you have photos from the event, please post them to our page and feel free to tag anyone you know. Attached are a few photos from the program as well as an overview of just a part of the Quarterly Special Exhibit. Saturday, September 24 is the last day of the exhibit. Many of the photos and paper items will be in the Research Center in the future so please stop in anytime. We are open Mon-Sat 10am-4pm and there is no admittance fee. Thanks again to everyone involved in making this event a memorable day for everyone. We'll be sad to see the exhibit end but will look forward to our next Quarterly Exhibit opening October 1 and we hope you'll follow along and join us for that exhibit along with the monthly programs. And a special thank you to all the volunteers who helped in any way to set up, tear down, serve, clean, and prepare the museum for the event. We couldn't do it without our dedicated volunteers. We appreciate you all very much. ...