The seat of Franklin County in jap Kansas, Ottawa is a welcoming city with a vibrant Main Street, a lot of thrilling occasions and spellbinding structure from the nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Many of the best landmarks in Ottawa, together with the Franklin County Courthouse, have been designed by the famous architect, George P. Washburn (1846-1922), whose agency was primarily based within the metropolis.
The right-of-way of the Leavenworth, Lawrence and Galveston Railroad, constructed within the 1860s, runs down the middle of Ottawa, and the outdated depot constructing homes a sensational native historical past museum.
The metropolis’s title comes from the Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma, who arrived right here from Iowa within the 1830s and bought this patch of land within the 1860s earlier than transferring to Oklahoma.
1. Old Depot Museum
This distinctive native historical past museum has the right setting, in an historic two-story depot constructing on the Leavenworth, Lawrence, and Galveston Railroad (LL&G).
Composed of limestone introduced in from Cowley County, 150 miles away within the south of Kansas, the depot is one in every of many native buildings designed by George P. Washburn, who we’ll discuss just a little later.
The museum is a deal with, recreating historic rooms from over a century in the past, like a basic retailer, soda fountain, dentist’s workplace, parlor and a one-room schoolhouse.
There’s a everlasting exhibit dedicated to the Abolitionist John Brown and Bleeding Kansas, a collection of tit-for-tat confrontations between pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in Kansas Territory within the late 1850s. Outside stands a caboose, constructed within the Nineteen Forties and positioned right here in 2013.
2. Downtown Ottawa
Along Main Street, simply south of the Marais Des Cygnes River, downtown Ottawa is preserved as an historic district.
Commercial districts don’t come a lot prettier or so lively, and the latter is because of an enormous serving to of domestically owned shops, eating places and different companies.
Antiques are an actual native specialty and also you’ll come throughout as many as 5 shops on Main Street alone.
Downtown Ottawa has a cultural scene bolstered by the likes of the Ottawa Memorial Auditorium, the Carnegie Cultural Center and the record-breaking Plaza 1907 theater, together with cute pocket parks and the Prairie Spirit Trail, which runs down the west aspect of downtown.
Head to City Park for outside live shows in summer season, whereas the refined Franklin County Courthouse is the backdrop for occasions like September’s Ol’ Marais River Run Car Show.
3. Prairie Spirit Trail
The Old Depot Museum can be the northern trailhead for a 50-mile path alongside the right-of-way of the Leavenworth, Lawrence and Galveston Railroad so far as Iola.
Connecting 10 communities, the Prairie Spirit Trail is paved the place it runs by means of these cities, and has limestone screening on its rural parts.
Since the trail runs down the backbone of Ottawa, a few blocks west of Main Street, it’s a handy approach to get round with out a automotive, connecting Kanza Park, the County Fairgrounds and the location of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market within the south of the town.
4. Franklin County Courthouse
An abiding landmark for downtown Ottawa is the seat of presidency, accomplished in a Romanesque Revival type in 1893.
The architect was one George P. Washburn (1846-1922), whose follow was proper right here in Ottawa and designed no fewer than 13 courthouses and 9 Carnegie libraries in Kansas.
The Franklin County Courthouse is taken into account one in every of his best works, and has a number of of his signature parts, with 4 sq. nook towers, and two cupolas, one containing bells, the opposite a clock.
On a go to you’ll be able to cease to learn the NRHP marker in entrance, and examine the transferring Veterans Memorial on the garden’s southwest nook.
5. Plaza 1907
A star in downtown Ottawa, Plaza 1907 has not too long ago been licensed by the Guinness Book of Records because the oldest working movie show on the earth.
Using quite a few names since that point, Plaza 1907 can hint its historical past again to 1905 when one Fred Beeler screened motion pictures right here.
This was formally a cinema from 1907 when it opened as The Bijou, whereas the Plaza title dates to a rework within the mid-Nineteen Thirties.
The theater was transformed right into a duplex within the Nineteen Eighties and continues to display the most recent first-run releases.
In the outdated stage space you’ll be able to go to the Memorabilia Museum, presenting a set of posters, cameras, scripts and props from the nineteenth century to the current.
6. Ottawa Memorial Auditorium
This fantastic performing arts stage downtown opened in 1921 to honor Ottawa’s residents who had died in WWI.
The Ottawa Memorial Auditorium was one in every of many buildings broken by the Great Flood of 1951, and by the Nineteen Seventies required a whole renovation.
Since then the auditorium has had a capability of 830, with a 30-foot proscenium stage, largely for dwell music within the Country and American genres.
An occasion to mark in your diary is the Grand Ottawa Opry, a recurring Branson-style nation music present, largely for Old Country music, mixed with some Gospel and Rockabilly. This is a family-friendly spectacle, happening on the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month.
7. Ol’ Marais River Run Car Show
In September one of many largest automotive exhibits within the Midwest goes down in Ottawa. The Ol’ Marais River Run Car Show has been an annual custom since 1985 and is restricted to automobiles from 1972 or earlier.
This is generally a two-day occasion, starting on the Friday evening with a sociable cruise-in at Forest Park, accompanied by dwell music.
The most important occasion is on the Saturday, when Main Street is closed off for a cruise, with prolonged hours for a lot of shops, appropriate oldies music and meals distributors establishing on the courthouse garden.
8. Forest Park
Resting on the north financial institution of the Marais Des Cygnes River, Forest Park is within the northwest of the town and is beloved for its grand outdated oak and walnut timber.
It’s all an image excellent venue for occasions just like the Chautauqua Festival and Fireworks Show (Ottawa’s July 4th celebration), in addition to the cruise-in for the Ol’ Marais River Run Car Show.
Beyond that, Forest Park is endowed with a variety of services, just like the municipal outside pool, 5 new lighted tennis courts, 18 horseshoe courts, lighted baseball and softball diamonds, a disc golf course and no fewer than 4 playgrounds, one in every of which is a tot lot.
9. Smoked Creations BBQ
Despite the truth that Ottawa is lower than 30 miles from the Kansas City space, there’s just one BBQ joint on the town.
Fortunately Smoked Creations, based in 2010, is without doubt one of the greatest within the area. The Traditional BBQ choice options hickory-smoked brisket, hand-rubbed pulled pork, lean smoked turkey breast, seasoned pulled rooster, smoked rooster, jalapeño-blend smoked sausage and honey and brown sugar ham.
Don’t ignore the St. Louis Cut Spareribs smoked slowly over choose hardwoods, and served an entire slab, half slab, plate of three ribs or as a single bone.
For sides you’ll be able to select from BBQ pit beans, cole slaw, fried corn on the cob, hand-cut fries and lots of extra. The greatest time to return is weekends, when the restaurant’s signature burnt ends are on the menu.
10. Ottawa Farmers’ Market
Ottawa has a thriving little farmers’ market, taking place May by means of October on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings.
The venue is the Orscheln Parking Lot at 2008 Princeton, not removed from a Prairie Spirit trailhead when you’re approaching foot or by bike.
There’s no higher choice for recent produce and seasonal flowers in Franklin County, all bought by growers inside a number of miles of Ottawa.
Other specialties embrace pies and different baked items, made with conventional Mennonite recipes which have been handed down the generations, together with locally-raised meats.
11. Carnegie Cultural Center
One of the best sights in Ottawa is that this historic Carnegie library constructing sitting among the many tall mature timber of City Park.
The outdated Ottawa Library is one other work by George P. Washburn (1902), in a Free Classical type with an imposing portico and a pair of Ionic columns flanking the primary entrance.
The public library moved out within the Nineteen Nineties, and the constructing turned a cultural heart, internet hosting fantastic artwork reveals, live shows, theatrical productions and lectures, together with academic applications like artwork workshops and music courses.
The second flooring is dwelling to Ottawa Suzuki Strings, a music college specializing in string devices, placing on common performances.
12. City Park
The most important park serving downtown Ottawa is the stately City Park, commanded by the Carnegie Cultural Center.
And whereas that is the primary draw, there’s a compelling piece of native historical past a brief hop south within the type of the Dietrich Cabin, one of many few remaining authentic log cabins in Kansas.
The German immigrant Jacob Dietrich constructed this dwelling for his household in 1859, and it changed a cabin that had burned down in 1857.
The cabin was expanded over time after which restored in 1961 to change into a pioneer museum you can go to on Sunday afternoons in the summertime. Other parts at City Park are an artillery gun from earlier than WWII, a bandstand internet hosting summer season live shows and a kids’s playground.
13. Kanza Park
Another park alongside the Prairie Spirit Trail is that this leafy area within the south of Ottawa, divided by the Skunk Run stormwater drain.
A defining function at Kanza Park is the mile-long multi-use path, which is lit with charming Victorian lighting that was on Main Street within the early twentieth century.
This round path is used for a wide range of annual occasions, resembling runs and walks and an attractive luminary show at Christmas. There’s additionally a kids’s playground, a exercise space and a disc golf course, zigzagging by means of the timber.
14. Pleasant Ridge Pumpkin Patch
Out within the countryside east of Ottawa, this family-owned farm has been opening as much as the general public for seasonal celebrations for the reason that late Nineteen Eighties.
Pleasant Ridge has been within the Peckham household since 1914 and raises some 1,000 acres of soybeans, corn, wheat and hay, in addition to pumpkins and Christmas timber.
The pumpkin patch is open late September by means of October, and you may take a hay wagon journey to this two-acre subject.
There’s a ton of actions for youngsters in fall, like a hay maze, pedal carts, bean bag toss, rubber duck races and a 40-foot tube slide.
Then, through the vacation season, the farm welcomes you to select a recent Christmas tree, taking a journey on the hay wagon and admiring an enthralling mild show.
15. Franklin County Fair
Franklin County has one of many longest-running festivals within the state, now developing for its a hundred and sixtieth version and bringing hundreds of individuals to the town.
Usually a six-day celebration round mid-July, the Franklin County Fair is your probability to witness time-honored abilities in motion.
There’s a slew of 4-H reveals in quite a few classes, and children will love seeing the numerous animals spruced up for judging.
Among the truthful’s annual traditions are a youth rodeo on Wednesday, adopted by the URA Rodeo on Thursday and Friday, whereas Thursday evening is the favored group barbecue. Familiar truthful meals is at all times a part of the enjoyable, and the identical goes for the carnival and demolition derby.