The sale of the Kansas Farmers Union building in McPherson went forward as planned, finalizing on Dec. 31st. Todd Whitehill took possession of the property at that time.
Todd tore into the building even before the closing, remodeling the parts of the building we would be moving into, which wouldn’t be having major structural changes (I kind of balked at tearing out walls until the deal was done). This way our new digs were painted and fixed up before we needed to move in.
Todd’s really done a nice job on the building remodeling so far, I’m looking forward to watching it all develop.
But with the remodeling and our office move we needed to move stuff, ALL of the stuff. A couple of years ago when Callie came on board and started popping out kids we decided to move the offices to the back of the building where an infant would not disturb the other tenants as bad and hopefully make the more leasable space up front available for rent. That wasn’t so bad.
But now THIS time EVERYTHING needed to be gone through and moved to our new location in the building or done away with. We are talking about decades of KFU history! I’m in my 14th year with KFU and there are nooks and crannies and shelves and cabinets that I’ve never even opened! This was a herculean task that volunteers took on the week after state convention.
All of the volunteers that helped are deeply appreciated and I’ll list them shortly but the real hero in this event was Tom Giessel. Tom, with his personal recollections and Farmers Union historical knowledge was crucial to know what to keep and what not to.
Tom came one day a couple of weeks before the big moving event and we kind of started browsing and scoping out our plan of action and then was there for the whole move. It felt like we dug into the piles like swathing through a field of hay but as we did so every piece, every file, every picture had to be sorted and a decision made. We made three categories, material to keep at the office, material to go to the state historical society, and material to discard.
We found amazing stuff! Evan asked me that if we found any pictures from the building being built he would appreciate copies. I spread the word and within a minute Tom comes walking in with a whole handful of pictures of the building under construction! We found the original building bids, contracts, blueprints, mortgages, etc! We found minutes record books of locals dating back into the teens! We found memories of a vibrant, active organization that was raising KFU up from their crisis of the previous decade! Every piece of history we looked at begged to be studied and absorbed, it was difficult to stay on task and often we just HAD to show others something that was too noteworthy to flip on by. I was really bad at that…
Tom took home boxes of pictures to attempt to identify the people in the pictures and label them for future historians. And we probably have a U-Haul trailer of paraphernalia stored to take to the Kansas State Historical Society.
The office and our history have responsibly been sorted through and we are now in as good of shape, historically wise, as we have been in years.