Exhibit showcases structures of significance
Collection provides perspectives on historic buildings.
Special to The Telegram
Thirty-four years ago, a handful of Garden City artists recorded part of the community's heritage in a series of paintings and drawings that depict a dozen significant structures, ranging from the Finnup House to the Windsor Hotel. Today, just one of those six artists survives, but their legacy lives on in the Landmark Homes and Buildings Art Collection.
The collection was donated to the Finney County Historical Museum recently by Garden City resident Barbara Orinderff, and it went on display officially on Tuesday, sponsored by Regan Jewelers and Commerce Bank. There will be a public reception to acknowledge the sponsors and donor from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 16, but viewing is available now with hours of 1 to 5 p.m. seven days weekly. Admission is free.
The series of watercolor, acrylic and oil paintings, as well as pen and ink images, includes work by Alvin Schultz, Garden City, as well as the late Louise Beckett, Keith Fillmore, Jack Kempton, Bob Scott and LeRoy Seay.
Sunnyland to American Legion
In addition to the Windsor, which dates to 1886, and the 1902 Finnup House at 401 N. Ninth, the collection shows perspectives on the 1879 C.J. Buffalo Jones home, 515 N. Ninth; Lincoln Block on Eighth Street, dating to 1887; the Sunnyland mansion, erected in 1902 at Fifth and Pine streets; the 1902 Finnup Land Co. building on South Main Street, once used as the Finney County Courthouse and located where the Women's Clinic stands today; and the American Legion Memorial Building, an art deco structure finished in 1932 at 125 W. Pine St.
The series also includes two depictions of Cedar Cliff, a brick Finnup family home built in 1909 at 501 N. Ninth St.; the late 19th Century Buffalo Hotel, placed by Jones on Grant Avenue before fellow founding father John Stevens built the Windsor Hotel; the wood-frame Kankakee Hotel, which once stood on South Main Street; and the north Finnup family frame house, completed at 405 N. Ninth St. in 1907, now flanked by the Finney County Administration Building.
"We hope everyone will come out to see this one-of-a-kind collection of historic art," said Steve Quakenbush, executive director of the Finney County Historical Society. "We want to acknowledge Barbara Orinderff for donating the series to the museum, and both Commerce Bank and Regan Jewelers for making it possible to put the display in place, as well as Ward's Garden Center for providing accompanying floral arrangements."
The Front Door Gallery is a small display space located just inside the museum's entrance. It was inaugurated in May as a site where exhibits can be changed repeatedly throughout the year. The group of landmark paintings follows a display of Kansas landscape photography by local resident Shirley Creeden. The gallery was launched with an exhibit celebrating the Mexican immigrant culture of Southwest Kansas.
First time in more than a decade
The collection of uniformly-framed house and building images, ranging in size from 19-by-23 inches to 28-by-38 inches, was commissioned in 1979 by New West, a periodical published by Orinderff before she launched a current magazine called Territorial. The series was displayed several times over the years, and once hung in the administrative center of USD 457. However, none of the paintings and drawings had been shown publicly for more than a decade, until a one-day outdoor exhibition in June during the Garden City Historic Homes and Buildings Tour, sponsored by the historical society and the Garden City Women's Chamber.
Though some appear differently than when built, 10 of the 12 structures remain in Garden City today, though the Kankakee and the Finnup courthouse building were demolished years ago.
Other exhibits in the museum range from "Spirit of the Plains," "Buffalo Jones — Last of the Plainsmen," "Finney County Agriculture," "Take Stock in Finney County," and "My Place in Time," to a participatory children's area entitled "Celebrate Kansas," and a period clothing dress-up area styled like a room of the historic Windsor. The museum also includes a temporary gallery, currently featuring a community theater display; and the museum store, offering gifts, books, videos, toys, art, handcrafts and souvenirs related to local and state history and culture.
The museum is located at 403 S. Fourth St. in Finnup Park. Information is available at (620) 272-3664.