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New exhibits at Hoisington museum
Hoisington museum open Labor Day
hois musueum quilt
Former students of Lincoln Elementary School in Hoisington have a new spot for photo ops. Old school sign is now located at the Hoisington Historical Society Museum, which will be open during the Labor Day Weekend. - photo by Susan Thacker

HOISINGTON — A retired Lincoln Elementary School sign, a celebrated police and fire chief’s uniforms, and a 105-year-old friendship quilt are recent additions to the Hoisington Historical Society Museum, which will be open during the citywide Labor Day Weekend celebration. The museum is located at 120 E. 2nd St., across the street from the Hoisington Post Office. Admission is free but donations are welcome.

Rhonda Templing, secretary-treasurer of the Hoisington Historical Society, said the exhibits can be seen from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, Aug. 31; 1-4 p.m. on Sunday and noon to 4 p.m. on Monday. The museum will also have a booth at Hoisington’s Downtown Street Market, which runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, and it will have a float in Hoisington’s 123rd annual Labor Day Parade at 10:30 a.m. on Monday.

The complete schedule of the city’s Labor Day Celebration can be found online at

Each block on the friendship quilt was signed by the woman who created it. The names may be familiar to longtime residents.

There are two “Susanks,” Templing noted. “We realized that the quilt came out of northern Barton County,” she said.

According to “Barton County Source,” a publication of the Great Bend Tribune, the city north of Hoisington named for Edward J. Susank was founded in 1919. Susank, a Barton County official, worked with the Santa Fe railroad and members of Congress to establish the town on the spur completed in 1917.

Hoisington is known as a railroad town and a room in the museum is mostly dedicated to the Missouri-Pacific Railroad, later purchased by the Union Pacific. There’s also a room full of military memorabilia.  

The Lincoln School sign is on display outdoors, on the north side of the museum. Scott Christians Construction helped install the sign at its new home.

The uniforms of the late George Nettlingham, who served as both chief of police and fire chief, are on loan to the historical society from the Hoisington Fire Department. Nettlingham died on Thanksgiving night in 1968 while battling a major structure fire at the Hoisington Cafe, located at 152 South Main. He was 49 years old. According to information from the historical society, Nettlingham suffered a heart attack and died that night. One year later, his wife Ruth died in a fiery car wreck, three miles south of town on U.S. 281. The Nettlinghams' graves are in the Hoisington Cemetery.

The museum was established in 1995 in a house donated by James Beetz. The property also includes a barn where the Hoisington Historical Society has some items from the early days of Kansas Brick and Tile. Photos in the museum show the town through the years, including the old Opera House, which is now the headquarters of Kans for Kids.

“There’s quite a bit in this little house,” Templing said.