Take a Hike through History on the Indian Creek Trail on National Trails Day

Sunflower Republic News Release

Contact: Henry Fortunato
Sunflower Republic, LLC
(913) 309-7888

Preview the future of the past: Take a Hike through History on the Indian Creek Trail on National Trails Day
Get an Advance Peek at an Innovative New Interpretive Signage System

(Overland Park, KS) – A special event on National Trails Day – Saturday, June 4, 2016 – offers the opportunity to exercise both mind and body with an introduction of a major enhancement to the Overland Park segment of the Indian Creek Trail.

Four samples of new outdoor exhibit panels will be on display at the shelter at Roe Park, 10400 Roe Avenue, Overland Park, KS from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. for public inspection and comment. Illustrated with archival photographs, maps, and other images, the panels feature well-researched original historical narratives about the names of the various streets that cross or intersect with the Trail, as well as other points of interest.

“The Indian Creek Trail in Overland Park is about to be transformed from a walk through Anywhere, USA into a hike through history,” notes Henry Fortunato, founder of Sunflower Republic, LLC, and director of the Indian Creek Trail Interpretive Signage Project.

“Focusing on the history of specific streets – how they got their names, what they looked like before suburbanization, what took place along their routes – offers an ideal spine on which to hang a host of historical vignettes in an accessible format,” adds Fortunato. “When completed, this collection of exhibit panels will foster a sense of place and a deeper understanding of how Overland Park and Johnson County came to be what they are today.”

Among a host of historical nuggets, attendees at the event can learn about:

     • How a jocular suggestion turned 111th Street into College Boulevard
     • Why the name of the Roe family graces streets, schools, parks, pools, and subdivisions, let alone the city of Roeland Park
     • How the founder of Shawnee Methodist Mission became the namesake of Johnson County
     • Whether bison once roamed present-day Overland Park subdivisions

The event also includes two guided loop walks along the Indian Creek Trail of approximately three miles each, plus an appearance by historian Bill Worley who will portray the Rev. Thomas Johnson, Refreshments will be served. Admission is free.

“Our mission is to help residents develop a greater understanding for our local history and connections to their lives today, adds Mindi Love, director of the Johnson County Museum. “This trail project is a great way for residents to be active and to build a sense of place for the area around us. We are so pleased to be a partner in this undertaking.” 

Developed by Sunflower Republic, LLC, under the auspices of the Johnson County Museum, the Indian Creek Trail Interpretive Signage Project is intended to enhance the trail experience by providing engaging commentary and compelling images to examine the history of Overland Park, Johnson County, and northeastern Kansas. 

When completed and installed in fall 2016, this series of exhibit panels will offer narratives about a host of Johnson County thoroughfares ranging from Mission Road on the east to Pflumm Road on the west, and including Quivira Road, Switzer Road, 69 Highway, College Boulevard, I-435, Antioch Road, Marty Street, Metcalf Avenue, Lamar Avenue, Nall Avenue, and Roe Avenue. Panels also will examine topics relating to the environmental history of Indian Creek and the agricultural heritage of Johnson County. A mobile phone app will complement the physical signage.

Schedule for the June 4, 2016 event at Roe Park is as follows:

     9 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Refreshments and public inspection of the sample panels
     9:30 a.m. – 10 a.m. Remarks and appearance by Bill Worley as Rev. Thomas Johnson
     10 a.m. – 11 a.m. Loop Walks
          (a) Roe Park to Mission Road and back
          (b) Roe Park to Lamar Avenue and back

The Indian Creek Trail Interpretive Signage Project is funded by generous support from the Regnier Family Foundation, the Sunflower Foundation, the Barton P. and Mary D. Cohen Charitable Trust, the Greater Kansas City Health Care Foundation, and Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area. Additional funding from the Johnson County Community College Foundation supports scholarly review of project content by JCCC faculty members and the involvement of an undergraduate intern. Installation and site planning services are being provided by the Parks Services department of the City of Overland Park. In-kind assistance with research and image identification is being provided by the Overland Park Historical Society and the Lenexa Historical Society.


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