The Unique Voice of the Prairies – Truthful & Authentic
Historicity, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that
publishes the Prairie Connection
121 West Main, Harper, KS 67058
Help the Prairie Connection!
Donate and help restore Rosalea’s Hotel!
1883 & 1968
Rosalea's Patterson House Hotel
Were you a traveling hippie in the 1970s?
Perhaps you stayed at the famous Rosalea's Hotel in Harper, KS. Now you
can help restore it as an historic prairie icon of the 70s! Goal:
100,000 at $10 each and it is preserved for future generations!
Rosalea's Liar's Pavilion
Join the social commentary fun!
Send your all-plastic dolls with your liars stories to:
121 West Main
Harper, KS 67058
This is the site for the Prairie Connection published in
Harper, Kansas by Historicity, Inc.
Harper is a small town of 1,600 located 45 miles southwest
of Wichita.It was a cowboy
settlement in the 1870s when cattle were driven across the prairies to rail
shipping points.In the early 1880s
educated, wealthy young settlers from Boston, Cincinnati and other points east
replaced the cowboys and soon the town grew to 5,000 inhabitants. It was known
as “the intellectual oasis of America,” a community rich in culture and
beauty. There were art galleries,
two opera houses, a symphony orchestra, women doctors, and women’s rights
meetings held in the Presbyterian church.There
were investment bankers, architects, contractors and agricultural-related
business owners who became very wealthy.There
was even a Chinese laundry, a broom factory and three fresh oyster parlors.
Along with the rapid growth and wealth came the inevitable corruption.There was gambling, “loose women,” dance halls, bars and hidden
tunnels.Soon after the turn
of the century, new building erection ceased and unethical businesses practices
were veneered by the church-going gentry. Harper
had begun its decline.
By the 1950s, most of the beautiful downtown historic
structures were covered with “modern” metal facades.A few families controlled the wealth and politics.With the advent of television, the movie theatre built in 1924 had lost
its popularity and Saturday night traffic dwindled.By the 1960s, razing buildings became a passion and by the end of the
century, the town had lost an average of one beautiful historic building per
year, leaving many gaping holes in the once glorious “queen of the
prairies.” As in many other
small towns, today only a handful of the original buildings remain, many no
longer recognizable with “modernization.”
Rosalea Hostetler, born on a family farm west of town,
managed to extract herself from a strict Mennonite background and complete a
university education.In 1965 she
moved to New York City and opened a hand weaving studio in the East Village but
by 1968 yearned to go back to Harper to “save my hometown.”The rest is history.The
peaceful local folks became upset by her presence and shot holes in the hotel
windows, vandalized her property and harassed her.She stayed for about twenty years, attracting young intellectuals
(a.k.a. “hippies”) from all over the country who had heard of this unique
“Oasis of the Bible Belt.” She
moved to Kansas City in the mid
In 1994 the call to “go home again” brought her back.Quite by accident, out sprang this
monthly tabloid, The Prairie
Connection. It is a volunteer
publication with true stories of the prairies provided by those who have lived
them or passed down as family oral history.The format is lively, educational and entertaining.The history articles are interspersed with heartfelt country poetry,
recipes, birding, local ecological issues, featured artists, as well as aviation
and railroad history.Day Trip
Guide to the Prairies is useful for visitors who explore the region.
Rosalea Hostetler is the Volunteer Editor, a visionary who
keeps the interesting grass roots publication laced with human interest and
variety. You never know what
you will find in the next issue—there is nothing else quite like it on the
prairies of south central Kansas and northern Oklahoma.
If you have ever
lived in a rural area, have family
roots in the region, or simply want to learn more about life on the vast
prairies of America, you will enjoy
the Prairie Connection.
TODAY TO THE PRAIRIE CONNECTION AND HELP PRESERVE THE HISTORY, ART & CULTURE
OF THE PRAIRIES FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS Only
$24 a year
Because we are all-volunteer, all subscriptions end in December and back issues
will be mailed to new subscribers.
Any amount you provide over $30 may be used as a tax deductible
Make your check payable to Historicity, Inc., and mail to:
121 West Main Street
Harper, KS 67058