Faron Wahl, Manager.
We’re entering the mid-summer stretch here at the village. With no negative connotations intended, one might consider it the eye of the hurricane; a pause where the winds of high-activity events subside only briefly before ramping up again. However, our staff and I will find ourselves accelerating the whole time, not pausing.
While this couple of weeks represents a rare open spot on our events schedule, the push is on for great things yet to come. We’ll continue to see lots of campers coming our way, squeezing in a few nights of camping wherever their family schedules will allow it. We’ll start off August on a hot trail, beginning with the 25th rendition of our car show and quickly pressing into Jamboree mode shortly thereafter. And nestled in between will be a carousel homecoming celebration to beat all.
But our nearest upcoming event is a concert Saturday, July 28 by the Beatles tribute band Abbey Road. These proficient musicians carry a faithful following around the region, and we anticipate folks who haven’t previously been to our Opera House looking to get seats to this one. You can reserve yours right now by stopping at our gift shop or by calling 256-3644.
Looking in the mirror, it’s been a whirlwind nine days here at the village. We’ve hosted a spreadsheet-boggling movement of traditional Independence Day campers, checking in and out at every combination of times during that span given the July 4 position on a Wednesday this year. We tied it all up with Railroad Days and an Opera House concert featuring powerful, high-talent female vocals.
As this busy extended week wound down, a small ceremony took place alongside our chapel car. It was an event filled not with visual fanfare, but instead heralding a humble tribute to an incredibly rare and poorly understood artifact that’s sat quietly on our grounds for 46 years, too often passed by as “some old railroad car”.
Sunday morning, right after the close of an annual church service inside chapel car Emmanuel, many visitors gathered just outside for the dedication and unveiling of this car’s new historic marker. As manager, it was deeply impacting for me watching folks gather to hear some words about her years of critical service, and to be part of this important step in the village’s ongoing preservation of history.
Considering there are only two other chapel cars of the original thirteen that can be visited by the public in fully restored form, an innate responsibility is therein placed on Prairie Village as Emmanuel’s host. It’s not only a privilege to keep her here, it’s incumbent on us to excel at sharing her history, telling our guests about her 49-year mission and the heavy sacrifices of those who served during her years traveling the West.
When it comes to making such additions at the village, the issue isn’t one of fault for no one doing this earlier. In the case of the chapel car, we’re just very thankful Emmanuel was saved from demolition, brought here and restored. But if we’re going to be true to our mission, we must broaden our scope in places where we’re perhaps not yet telling the stories, spotlighting areas where we could do better educating our visitors regarding history so significant.
Next time you’re visiting Prairie Village, be sure to take a few minutes down by the chapel car to soak in a snapshot of the chronicles of its fascinating life. We’re honored to host this gem of American history, and we want to share its legacy with every visitor. As we continue to pave that pathway, we welcome you to be part of it.