The Unique Voice of the Prairies – Truthful & Authentic

Historicity, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that publishes the Prairie Connection
121 West Main, Harper, KS 67058

Help the Prairie Connection!

Contributions may be sent to: Historicity, Inc., 121 West Main, Harper, KS  67058

Donate and help restore Rosalea’s Hotel!

Contributions may be sent to: Rosalea's Hotel Restoration Fund, 121 West Main, Harper, KS  67058

1883 & 1968 Rosalea's Patterson House Hotel

Were you a traveling hippie in the 1970s?  Perhaps you stayed at the famous Rosalea's Hotel in Harper, KS.  Now you can help restore it as an historic prairie icon of the 70s!    Goal:  100,000 at $10 each and it is preserved for future generations!

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Rosalea's Liar's Pavilion

Join the social commentary fun!
Send your all-plastic dolls with your liars stories to:
Liar's Pavilion
121 West Main
Harper, KS 67058

This is the site for the Prairie Connection published in Harper, Kansas by Historicity, Inc.

Harper is a small town of 1,600 located 45 miles southwest of Wichita. It was a cowboy settlement in the 1870s when cattle were driven across the prairies to rail shipping points. In the early 1880s educated, wealthy young settlers from Boston, Cincinnati and other points east replaced the cowboys and soon the town grew to 5,000 inhabitants. It was known as “the intellectual oasis of America,” a community rich in culture and beauty. There were art galleries, two opera houses, a symphony orchestra, women doctors, and women’s rights meetings held in the Presbyterian church. There were investment bankers, architects, contractors and agricultural-related business owners who became very wealthy. There was even a Chinese laundry, a broom factory and three fresh oyster parlors.

Along with the rapid growth and wealth came the inevitable corruption. There was gambling, “loose women,” dance halls, bars and hidden tunnels. Soon after the turn of the century, new building erection ceased and unethical businesses practices were veneered by the church-going gentry. Harper had begun its decline.

By the 1950s, most of the beautiful downtown historic structures were covered with “modern” metal facades. A few families controlled the wealth and politics. With the advent of television, the movie theatre built in 1924 had lost its popularity and Saturday night traffic dwindled. By the 1960s, razing buildings became a passion and by the end of the century, the town had lost an average of one beautiful historic building per year, leaving many gaping holes in the once glorious “queen of the prairies.” As in many other small towns, today only a handful of the original buildings remain, many no longer recognizable with “modernization.”

Rosalea Hostetler, born on a family farm west of town, managed to extract herself from a strict Mennonite background and complete a university education. In 1965 she moved to New York City and opened a hand weaving studio in the East Village but by 1968 yearned to go back to Harper to “save my hometown.” The rest is history. The peaceful local folks became upset by her presence and shot holes in the hotel windows, vandalized her property and harassed her. She stayed for about twenty years, attracting young intellectuals (a.k.a. “hippies”) from all over the country who had heard of this unique “Oasis of the Bible Belt.” She moved to Kansas City in the mid 80s.

In 1994 the call to “go home again” brought her back. Quite by accident, out sprang this monthly tabloid, The Prairie Connection. It is a volunteer publication with true stories of the prairies provided by those who have lived them or passed down as family oral history. The format is lively, educational and entertaining. The history articles are interspersed with heartfelt country poetry, recipes, birding, local ecological issues, featured artists, as well as aviation and railroad history. Day Trip Guide to the Prairies is useful for visitors who explore the region.

Rosalea Hostetler is the Volunteer Editor, a visionary who keeps the interesting grass roots publication laced with human interest and variety. You never know what you will find in the next issue—there is nothing else quite like it on the prairies of south central Kansas and northern Oklahoma.

If you have ever lived in a rural area, have family roots in the region, or simply want to learn more about life on the vast prairies of America, you will enjoy the Prairie Connection.

Only $24 a year

Because we are all-volunteer, all subscriptions end in December and back issues will be mailed to new subscribers.

Any amount you provide over $30 may be used as a tax deductible contribution.

Make your check payable to Historicity, Inc., and mail to:
Prairie Connection
121 West Main Street
Harper, KS 67058


Copyright © Historicity, Inc., 121 West Main St., Harper, KS 67058