Road Trip: St. John, Garden City, Dodge City, La Crosse, Hays and Russell

The last of my work road trips for a while.  Special thanks to my co-workers Ashley and Ed, for being good sports as I stopped to take pictures.  Truth be told they both commented they learned a great deal from our stops.

St. John, KS

Our first stop was to see the Strengthen the Arm of Liberty Statue. There are 27 of these sculptures across Kansas. They were part of a Boy Scout Celebration. Check out the story.

Great Bend, KS

Dr. Kilby Memorial

Great Bend is the home of Jack Kilby.  Never heard of him?  He invented the pocket calculator and the Microchip.

This statue is dedicated to Kilby who grew up in Great Bend and graduated from the high school in 1941. He would later work for Texas Instruments, that’s where he built the integrated circuit in 1958.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 2000 and died in 2005.

The monument, titled “The Gift,” was dedicated on April 28, 2012.  Plaques in the plaza explain the meaning behind the statue.

“He (Kilby) reaches out his hand, giving his microchip to a young boy. To Kilby’s right, a girl eagerly reaches out a hand to her slightly older companion. With her other hand she points toward the stars.

Symbolically, the sculpture represents transmission of knowledge from one generation to the next and how that transmission has been affected by the microchip. Kilby passes on the knowledge of his generation, “The Greatest Generation,” to the boy who represents “The New Generation,” which has been the first to fully experience the impact of Kilby’s revolutionary invention. The microchip greatly accelerates the speed at which knowledge is shared.

The young girl representing “The Future Generation,” is eager to find what goals her generation can achieve with The Gift.

Sculptor Chet Cale, Great Bend, KS”

Garden City, KS

Strengthen the Arm of Liberty

I was able to visit 5 different Strengthen the Arm of Liberty statues on this road trip.  The one in Garden City holds reign over the Finney County Courthouse. Check it out.

Dodge City, KS

There are so many things to see and do in Dodge City.  I picked three spots that represented the history of the city and the fun of visiting roadside attractions.  Jeremy and I will get back to Dodge City to do a more complete visit.

John Henry ‘Doc’ Holliday (August 14, 1851 – November 8, 1887)

Doc Holliday was a town marshal and dentist in Dodge City. His biggest claim to fame was his involvement in the “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.”  Holliday died from tuberculosis on November 8, 1887 at the age of 36.

Janet Zoble created the sculpture which was dedicated in April 2015. I love the detail on this sculpture. Doc is playing poker; booze, chips, and cards sit across the table.

The open chairs allow visitors like my friends to pose with the legend. It looks like Doc is reaching for his six-shooter… apparently Ed told him one of his dad jokes.

Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp (March 19, 1848 — January 13, 1929)

Wyatt Earp was an old West lawman who worked in Dodge City, Wichita, Deadwood, and Tombstone. He is best remembered as a close friend of Doc Holliday and their involvement in the “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.”  Earp died of a urinary tract infection on January 12, 1929 at the age of 80.

Mary Spurgeon created this sculpture dedicated in 2004. This is another great statue.  It’s larger than life, much like the legendary cowboy.  He looks across the city keeping his eye out for bad guys… and in this case… Ed.

Oldest Cowboy in Dodge City

Local dentist, Dr. Oscar Simpson, created a plaster mold of Joe Sughrue who served as the Dodge City Chief of police from 1933-1936.  The statue was unveiled in 1928.  Dr. Simpson went on to lead the restoration of Boot Hill Cemetery before he died in 1935.  The statue was restored in 2015.

The plaque on the statue reads, “On the ashes of my campfire, this city is built.  Modeled by G.H. Simpson, DDS.  Pioneer Dentist 1927.” 

I could have sworn I read that the statue is made from tooth enamel, but I can’t seem to find that reference.

La Crosse, KS

This is the third statue during this trip.  As you can see, Lady Liberty is missing.  The kind woman at City Hall told me the liberty statue is undergoing restoration work and will return to her pedestal once completed.

Jeremy likes to tease me about visiting some of America’s weirdest roadside attractions.  The Barbed Wire Museum is the example he always uses, even though neither one of us has been there.  I was disappointed it was closed on this trip.  But I had to get a picture for Jeremy.


This Strengthen the Arm of Liberty holds court over the Hays city library and looks out on a local treasure the art deco Fox Theater.


Our final little liberty statue of this trip was found in Russell, KS.  Home of one of our state’s greatest men, Bob Dole.

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