A Landing a Day

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Plains and Kismet, Kansas (revisited)

Posted by graywacke on February 24, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2085; A Landing A Day blog post number 513.

 Dan –  When I saw my random lat/long, I thought that maybe I landed in north Texas.  No such luck, as I landed north of Texas and north of the Oklahoma panhandle and into the southwest corner of this OSer . . . KS; 61/56; 2/10; 150.2.  Note that I’m back in the 150s . . .

 Here’s my regional landing map:


My local landing map shows a veritable plethora of small towns (I should come up with another phrase instead of “veritable plethora”):


This all seemed a little familiar, because not too many landings ago (12 to be exact) I landed not far from here:


Remember my Hugoton post?  The one about the crazy County Seat War? 

 Also –  as I was checking out Plains (the closest town), I got another flash of familiarity.  More about Plains a little later, but first, my Google Earth (GE) shot:


No surprises here (and no StreetView coverage, either); although I think the scenery is pretty consistent over a very large area.  Thinking that, I went south of my landing to Route 54, and took a look at the StreetView shot.  I happened to notice that a pick-up truck was passing the Google StreetView camera car. 

 Using my new-found screen capture skills, I produced this enthralling video (at least, it gives you a feel for the landscape):


Moving right along to my watershed analysis.  It look a while, but using the GE elevation tool, I figured out that drainage from my landing site headed southeast, towards Crooked Creek.  Here’s a streams-only landing map:


As you can see, I’m in the Cimarron River watershed (15th hit); on the Arkansas (113th hit); on to the MM (819th hit).  By the way, this was my 11th “Crooked Creek” watershed in which I have landed.

  Here’s a more regional shot to show most of the Arkansas River system:


 Anyway, like I said before, it’s time to get back to Plains (which seemed familiar).  So familiar, in fact, that I was pretty sure I landed near hear and did a post about Plains.

 Yup.  Back in March 2011, I had a “Plains and Kismet, Kansas” post.  Here’s a map showing where I landed back then, relative to today’s landing:


My first choice in this situation was to find a hook associated with one of the other small towns in the area.  Much Google time spent, no results.

 Combine this with the fact that I was in the very same area just 12 landings ago, and I decided that I would more-or-less repeat a good chunk of my March 2011 post.  Here goes . . .

 Plains & Kismet are pretty-much typical high plains towns – settled as agricultural hubs in the late 1800s as the railroads pushed through.  Plains has a claim to fame, as discussed in the Meade County Economic Development website:

 From the book: “Plains, Kansas – 100 Years” by Joyce Knott:

 In 1901 and 1902, Albert Hempel and Don T. Edwards surveyed and laid out the  main street of Plains, Kansas. Asked why they made it so wide, they answered, “There was plenty of no-good ground, so it just as well be in a street.”

 Grand Avenue is nearly a half block wide. It is the widest main street in the United States, Bob Ripley once stated in his “Believe It or Not” column.

 The street was unpaved until 1929, when the city council decided to pave half of each side of the street with bricks. Noticing that the street was twice as wide as most cities main streets, Simon Elliott, then mayor of the town, added a raised brick sidewalk down the center of the street. The walk, stretching three blocks through the center of town, is known as “Simon’s Monumnet.” The city doubled its on-street parking by allowing parking along both sides of “Simon’s Monument” as well as along the sides of the street.

 Today the street, including 12 foot wide sidewalks along the sides, measures 155 feet, 5 inches across, store front to store front.

 Here’s a picture of Main Street from the same website:

plains 1

And here’s another, from Panaramio (by Marnox1, who points out that the trees in the distance are in the middle of the street):

plains 2

Just down the road from Plains, here’s a picture from Panaramio, by “Scarulu 16” which is inexplicably labeled “Arco Iris Sobre El Hill:”

plains 3


Here are some back-in-the-day shots of Plains from OldMeadeCounty.com, starting with an overview from the early 1900s:


plains 4


Wow.  That’s what it looks like when you just plunk down a town on the open prairie.  A few years later, the town is more substantial.  Here’s a picture of Grand Avenue from the 1920s:


plains 5


And this, a bunch of folks posing during a 1906 flood (I love this photo!):


plains 6


Moving on to Kismet –  I found a website from rootsweb/ancestry.com, about the Olin family.  (Kismet was founded by Alfred & Emeline Olin).  Here’s what they had to say:

 Although no records have been located as to the origin of the name “Kismet” for the town, it has been surmised that the “fate or “the end” (which are dictionary meanings of “Kismet”) of the railroad as it traveled west hinged on its successful crossing of the Cimarron River just to the west of Kismet. The railroad made that crossing at Arkalon where several years later a train went into the river. At that time the track was built in a more direct route with the mighty “Samson of the Cimarron” bridge across the river.

 Here’s a picture of the Samson bridge, also from Marnox1:


kismet 1


Here are some Kismet photos, from Dankalal.net, which presents a series of motorcycle travel blogs.  This, from a Nov 26, 2006 trip:

 kismet 2


I’ll close with this wonderful picture of the Plains High School 1923 girl’s basketball team (from OldMeadeCounty):


That’ll do it.




© 2013 A Landing A Day

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