In the summer of 1887, 135 years ago, the communities of Linington, Stella and Cut Throat saw the establishment of a new railway line nearby as an opportunity.
The three communities came together to form a new village, called “The Village Of Heart”. At the suggestion of a Mrs. Townes (wife of the local dentist), it was named after Hiram W. Diggins, the railroad superintendent and former hotelier who oversaw the expansion of Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf Railway heading east from Springfield.
In less than three weeks, the Village of Diggins will mark the occasion with a ceremony and celebration on Saturday, July 9 at Founders’ Park, located just south of US 60 on the NN Freeway.
“We start at 9:30 a.m. (July 9) with a patriotic presentation,” said David Bowers, chairman of the Diggins Park Board. “We will raise the flag, sing the ‘Spangled Banner’ and then take the ‘Pledge of Allegiance.’ There will be donor presentations for the Founders Gateway and other structures and projects from the past year.
“There is also a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the walkway and the inauguration of the museum.”
Bowers’ eyes widened briefly as he smiled, “We have a lot planned for the day.”
The day’s festivities will include musical performances from ‘The Isaac Kenneth Band’, ‘Dave Kilgore & Company’, ‘The Heard Family Singers’, ‘The Bluegrass Company’ and gospel music from Diggins Baptist Church and the Greater Life Apostolic Church.
“There will be chanting throughout the day,” Bowers said. “Isaac Kenneth will take the stage at 11 a.m. and play until noon. After that, it’s a continuous program until 3:30 p.m. Lots of music.
The program includes the grand opening of the Walton Pavilion, named after former village resident Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, whose grandfather opened and ran the first storefront in Diggins.
“They honored their roots here, so we want to recognize that.” Bowers explained. The Museum Of Heart, with its new collection of historical artifacts and ephemera, will also receive its dedication on July 9.
“Diggins Baptist Church is having fish fry and Zion Lutheran Church will be there with ice cream,” Bowers said with a smile. “The Shop (a new business on the east side of the village, located just west of Highway O) will do hot dogs.
The village of Diggins will have cake, punch, coffee and water. At the museum, we are going to eat popcorn.
There will be something to eat for everyone.
Webster County Clerk Stan Whitehurst will be there to talk with people about the upcoming US 60 expansion, which includes a new overpass at the Highway A intersection at the west end of the village. .
“It’s going to have a big effect on our community, so a lot of people are wondering about it.” Bowers noted.
He added that author Gary Sosniecki, who with his wife, Helen, owned and operated the Webster County Citizen from 1988 to 1999, will be at the celebration, selling signed copies of his book, “The Potato Masher Murder: Death At The Hands Of”. A jealous husband.
It’s the only literary event Sosniecki, a former Diggins resident, has scheduled this year.
Bowers continued, “We will also be presenting the first annual Founders Day Award for Innovation, Design and Compassion in the Village of Diggins to its recipient in the morning at the grand opening of the footbridge.
He expects around 200 attendees at the event.
“We had 700 people who attended the centennial in 1987, and about 150 came to the 125th celebration,” Bowers said.
“So we expect him to be in the middle or thereabouts.”
Event parking is available at Zion Lutheran Church, as well as at the Curtis property.
“We will have signs clearly indicating parking areas,” he said. “And for the disabled or elderly, you can park right there at the Diggins Community Building so you don’t have to walk that far.”
For the past 135 years, the village of Diggins has been home to a close-knit community.
“It really is a family reunion,” Bowers concluded.
“This is a reunion for everyone who has lived, worked, played, raised their children here and all of our friends. We all have a connection to this place. We want everyone to come and share their experiences and stories from the community. The Founders Day celebration exists to keep that going. It must be continued. »
The official event hours will be 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 9 at Founders’ Park in Diggins.