|
|
|
Morning Sun
  • County unveils revamped records collections

  • Not long ago, it seemed as though one might need a map to navigate the sea of maps scattered throughout the Crawford County Courthouse. There were records on top of records on top of records, all under a thick pile of disorganization.

    • email print
  • Not long ago, it seemed as though one might need a map to navigate the sea of maps scattered throughout the Crawford County Courthouse. There were records on top of records on top of records, all under a thick pile of disorganization.
    “There was a toilet paper box full of maps at the bottom. On top of the maps were records. On top of the records was trash. If we hadn’t looked through the trash, those maps and records would have been thrown out,” said Susie Thom, County general government clerk.
    But those days are now, thankfully, in the past. Thanks to a grant offered through the Kansas Humanities Council, Crawford County unveiled the results of the Crawford County Maps project, which preserves and protects not only the numerous maps, but the records from cities, counties, elections, transportation maps, school districts and townships.
    All told, the collection includes items as far back as 1882 and contains more than 6,600 documents.
    “There was a focus to preserve and protect,” Thom said. “We couldn’t get to preserving and protecting until we found them all. They were everywhere,” Thom said. “It was a labor of love to find what we could save and make available or salvage. It’s important to make records collections available to the public. We will build on this over time.”
    The total cost of the project was roughly $11,500, with a grant from the Kansas Humanities Council in the amount of $3,500. As part of the grant application, the county had anticipated 260 hours of labor. In reality, it was more like 440 labor hours.
    More than 600 of the documents and maps have already been scanned, with 116 online. For now, that’s all they can do because of legal restrictions. But all the maps online are from 1923 and before, since there are no trademarks on those maps.
    There’s also a new index, so people can look up particular files and where to find them. But perhaps the biggest improvement has been the display room for the maps, which is a converted office space in the courthouse. Most of the files are located there, but there are a few that have been cleaned up and given new, organized storage in the basement, including county commission reports and resolutions.
    Other records, including Vital Statistics Records (births and deaths) and Tombstone Transcription records, provided through the Crawford County Genealogical Society, can be searched through computer access.
    Thom herself has a few favorites, including a beautiful, well-preserved calendar from 1963 found taped underneath a map. There are also the county appraisal maps from 1929, showing the junior high on the west side of Broadway near 9th Street in Pittsburg. She also is particularly fond of the Central Coal and Coke plans and visions from 1927 for the town of Litchfield.
    Page 2 of 2 - “It’s only a paper town now,” Thom said.
    Thom said the final project was well worth the time and the effort.
    “If you don’t protect it, it’s gone,” she said. “We’ve come a long way in creating a safe repository for these documents.”

        calendar