New residents may not realize it, but Derby has a lot of history – 150 years of it, in fact.
To get the city’s heritage out to all – local citizens and visitors alike – city officials have put together several history-oriented endeavors from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 9.
The activities will be centered at the Derby Historical Museum, 710 E. Market St. They include a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the debut of the city’s new historical landmark signs and a narrated tour of Derby’s other six signs. There also will be a chance to see the new time capsule inside of the museum. That capsule will be opened in 50 years.
The tour will be available on the city’s bus, the Derby Dash, or participants are free to drive themselves.
No reservations are needed for the bus tour. There will be three buses with a guide on each bus and the tour is expected to take 1.5 hours, but will depend on the number of people on the bus.
The ribbon cutting is at 4:30 p.m. followed by the time capsule display. There will be refreshments at the museum and it will be open for tours. The bus tours will begin after the time capsule display.
Highlighting the city’s history through signs, which is common practice among cities and along historical roadways nationwide, began in 2017, when planning started for Derby’s 150th anniversary celebration year of 2019.
Officials and community volunteers got together to identify and establish seven historic landmarks.
Unlike many other Kansas cities of the same age, Derby does not have a historic downtown district with brick buildings. But, planners say, that doesn’t mean it has a shortage of history, it just meant that some extra effort had to be put into place to find the sites where history was made and do the research on them.
Bill Smith, the Landmarks Committee chairman, said members in the group talked to quite a few people in town to gather their photos, memories and historical information in order to create the landmarks.
“We could not have done this without their help,” he said.
A Landmarks Committee member, Chuck Warren, whose family has deep roots in the city, said historical education is what makes a city special.
“Learning about Derby’s history and sharing it with family and friends is what builds community pride,” Warren said.
Those who can’t make the event are encouraged to visit www.Derby150.com to see a walking and biking map of the landmarks along with photos and descriptions.
The seven landmarks are:
• Arkansas River Crossing, Warren Riverview Park, 321 W. Market.
• El Paso Business District, Derby Police Department, 229 N. Baltimore.
• Smith Farm & St. Mary School, Madison Avenue Central Park, 512 E. Madison Ave.
• Derby Public School and Museum, Derby Historical Museum, 710 E. Market.
• Lauber Farm and Silo, Brookwood and Redwood streets and on the east side of road.
• El Paso Cemetery, 700 E. Kay St., which is the southeast corner near Woodlawn and Kay.
• Garrett Homestead, Garrett Park, 1100 E. Chet Smith.