R. A. Long Historical Society
Visits Columbus, Kansas

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First Christian Church, Columbus, Kansas
First Christian Church, Columbus, Kansas

On January 13th, Tim Sullivan (President, R.A. Long Historical Society 2006 to 2014) and I traveled to Columbus, Kansas to meet with the City Council.

          Tim showed the DVD “Ours to Give.”  It is amazing to think how the worlds largest lumber company got it’s start in this little town.

          Several of the council members knew a great deal about Mr. Long from first hand family experience.  A wonderful woman, who volunteers at the local genealogy library, had lost a grandfather in an accident in one of Mr. Longs coal mines.  It goes to show just how dangerous a business Mr. Long was in.  Even with today’s modernization and safety measures, mining and lumber are still two of the most dangerous businesses in the nation.

          At the end of the DVD, Tim opened a question and answer session.  There was quite a bit of interest about Mr. Long and his family.  Tim answered many questions and some of the attendees even asked how they could tour the farm.  It was a very successful presentation and interest is very high.  We were both given Christmas ornaments that showed Mr. Long’s second home, a stately Victorian structure that has been torn down and the emergency room of the local hospital is now in its spot.  I can’t help thinking that Mr. Long would be very pleased with that.  The R.A. Long Historical Society was also presented with a framed original page of the local telephone book that has the listing for the Long-Bell Lumber Company.

          After the council meeting, we toured the local museum and the local Genealogy library.  The Genealogy library contains almost all of the newspapers that have ever been printed in the county.  Also all the old county records were stored here after they were put on microfilm.

          The local museum is a real must-see.  Whole sections are devoted to different areas and times of life in the town.  Large displays of clothing through the ages and uniforms from the different wars are exhibited.  There is even a horse statue that stood for many years in the hardware store belonging to Mr. Long’s brother-in-law.  Local children had played on the horse for decades and I found it interesting that the saddle was a woman’s version.

          At the museum the charming lady in charge told us that Mr. Long had given organs to the local Christian Church and the local Methodist Church.  The Christian Church had burned down and was rebuilt and Mr. Long gave a second organ to this church.  The organ had been replaced but the pipes were still being used.  There was also said to be a stained glass window in the Christian Church with Mr. Long’s name down in one corner.  Tim and I went to this church and I took pictures of the organ pipes while Tim searched for the window.  He never found it, but we plan to go back some day with more information as to its location.

          Columbus, Kansas is a wonderful day trip and Tim and I highly recommend that you visit.  You will have an enjoyable ride and experience a town that was a pivotal point in the R.A. Long story.

Michael Keating,
Board Member
R. A. Long Historical Society