The Historical Society of Crawford County was formed September 23, 1940 by Mrs. O.P. Dellinger. Dellinger was the State Historian for the Daughters of the American Revolution and was urged by the Kansas State Historical Society to organize a County Historical Society.
The Crawford County Historical Society is located in Pittsburg, Kansas and is comprised of a large main building, two out buildings and large expansive grounds. There is also a 1922 Marion Steam Shovel in the parking lot, a jail cell and several historic faming implements displayed on the museum’s grounds. This non-profit society currently averages 3,000-3,500 visitors each year and also accommodates special tours such as large groups or field trips. The primary goal of the society is to preserve and display local artifacts and records of interest.
The society worked with Pannier to design two interpretive signs to allow visitors to read a concise history about each building and view some related historical photographs allowing them to have a better understanding of the structures before them and the people who used them. Both signs were financed by a grant from the Pritchett Trust, which is provided by BMO Not-For-Profit Services.
“Utilizing Pannier’s graphic design team was an easy choice for us, after seeing examples of their work on Pannier’s web page,” said Mark Dulek, President of the Crawford County Historical Society. “We just had to compile enough historical data and photographs to give them plenty to work with. Since both buildings have enjoyed many decades of use, the facts we came up with were numerous, and we had to edit them to reasonable lengths. Both panels had similar design layouts but different color schemes, which worked out perfectly, since they are displayed close to each other. The large type of the designs makes the information easy to read, which helps engage the visitors and hold their attention.”
The Fiberglass Embedded panels were placed in Double Pedestal exhibit bases outside the two historic outbuildings. One of the buildings is the Green Elm School which is a one-room schoolhouse built in the 1870s. It was located in the southwest corner of Crawford County, seven miles north and one mile west of McCune, Kansas. The school held classes from 1872-1955 and employed sixty-six different teachers. The school’s name was based upon an elm tree located near the school. The second building is H.R. Brown’s Grocery, which was one of the last neighborhood grocery stores in Pittsburg, Kansas. By 1912, there were seventy-nine retail grocery stores in Pittsburg. The store featured fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, dairy products and a large variety of dry goods. It flourished for almost six decades, operating from 1910 until 1968.
“Since this was our first time ordering interpretive signs, we wanted high quality signage that would last for many years, so we began our research by visiting area state parks and historic sites for examples,” said Dulek. “Then we began searching on the internet for interpretive signage companies that offered similar signs, which led us directly to Pannier. We were impressed by the variety of high-quality products that they offered with weatherproof features.”
“We couldn’t be happier with the signs and the whole experience of working with Pannier,” said Dulek. “They have great customer service and were very responsive to our needs. When we choose to add signage to our steam shovel and Civil War marker, we will certainly be calling Pannier again.”