Learning local history in Bourbon County

Learning local history in Bourbon County

Bourbon County, Kansas is a place that doesn’t forget about history, especially its own. That can be seen at Fort Scott High School, which just kicked off an 18-week class dedicated to the history of Bourbon County.

But this class didn’t start up at the whim of school administrators. It started with a high school history club.

“I brought a picture in one time of downtown Fort Scott in 1950 to show them the difference between today and then. And they just had so many questions,” said Brian Allen.

Besides running the high school history club, Brian Allen is also the president of the Bourbon County Historical Preservation Association, and he was happy to get the local history conversation started.

“So I started bringing in more photos and we started meeting at lunch and we started a history club, and it just keeps morphing and now, it’s become a class offered in the school,” said Allen.

Now, the class is packed with more than 50 enrolled students who chose to learn about local history as an elective.

“I live on Wall St. and I walk downtown and I see all the old type of architectural buildings and it makes me think, how much has changed from then to now, and I want to know why things have changed so much,” said Fort Scott High School senior Logan Foster.

The class will spend plenty of time on Fort Scott’s history and even dive into the high school’s history, but this is a Bourbon County history class.

“We’re going to teach them about all the little towns that came before. There’s been many towns, ghost towns, and we’re going to talk about those,” said Allen.

And while the class has a great textbook written by former Fort Scott High School educators and current members of the Bourbon County Historical Preservation Association, the students won’t limit themselves to book learning.

“We’re planning on doing a project at the end of the 18 weeks, where they will actually sit down and talk to residents of Bourbon County who are in their 80s and 90s, and get that living history so they can pass it along,” said Allen.