Experience Historical Rooks County

(Sample one day itinerary; guided or self-guided)

Tour #1

Damar and Nicodemus – A good one day trip might begin with a tour of the small town of Codell and a recollection of the tornadoes that hit this town in three consecutive years on the same day–May 20, 1916-1918. This astounding sequence of events led to the decline of the town and landed them in Ripley’s Believe it or Not.  The next stop would be in Damar for a tour of the beautiful St.Joseph’s Church in western Rooks County. Built in 1917, the church is an example of classic Romanesque design and stands as a testament to the importance that religion played to early settlers. The afternoon would conclude with a tour of the historic Nicodemus townsite. The site was the first all-African American settlement in Kansas and is now a National Historic Site.  The tour may begin with a lunch catered by a local resident using the famous Ernestine’s BBQ Sauce.

There are no admission fees at any locations, however, tour guide tips would be welcome. All arrangements must be made in advance.

Tour #2

Frank Walker Museum and Stockton – The day would begin with a tour of the Frank Walker Museum in Stockton. The Rooks County Historical Society maintains the museum, which features memorabilia from the early days of Rooks County. Next would be tour of the Rooks County Courthouse in downtown Stockton. The Courthouse is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features solid marble throughout the building. A noon lunch could be catered at the newly renovated Nova Theatre with a tour of the building after lunch, or you could visit one of the local restaurants for lunch. A current list can be found here.

Next would be a tour of the Waller-Coolbaugh 20th Century House. The house was built in 1905 and is now preserved as a local landmark. The afternoon could conclude with an opportunity to visit the Main Street Gallery in downtown Stockton.  The gallery exhibits many works of local and regional artists, artisans, and craftspeople.

There is a $3.00 admission fee to the Coolbaugh House. There is no admission fee to the museum, but donations are appreciated.  For tours, contact 785-425-7227.

If you are interested in industrial tours, arrangements can be made for tours of the Dessin Fournir Companies in Plainville. Visit the Rooks County website at www.www.rookscounty.net for information about other Rooks County attractions. For information on all tours, please contact Roger Hrabe at the Rooks County Economic Development Office at (785) 425-6881.