Mayor pegs McPherson to lead sesquicentennial effort
Lana McPherson has a three-ring binder ready for the latest task assigned her by De Soto Mayor Dave Anderson.
Last Thursday, Anderson said the city clerk would lead the city's effort to plan the celebration of De Soto's 150th anniversary in 2007. McPherson said she was already filling up the three-ring binder with contact names.
"It's the best way for me to stay organized," she said, adding that some have hinted it was too early to start organizing. "When you're working on an event of this magnitude, it takes time. De Soto Days takes a year of planning. The people on that committee basically take a week off and start planning for the next festival."
That was especially true when fund-raising efforts were needed, McPherson said. The hope behind the mayor's initiative was that a better celebration could be planned with the combined efforts of many organizations and their funds, she said.
Her plan was to send letters to the chairmen or presidents of local organizations and groups, inviting them to a joint meeting at City Hall with Anderson meant to kickoff the community sesquicentennial planning, McPherson said. The list already numbered about 30 organizations to contact, she said.
Another early task was brushing up on De Soto history, McPherson said. In that regard, she said she had received information from the Kansas State Historical Society on De Soto's early days. That information nailed the date of the town's founding.
"According to the State Historical Society, the De Soto Town Company was the first land deeded by John Possum, a Shawnee Indian, on Oct. 3, 1857," she said. "The De Soto Town Company had its first election Dec. 1, 1899. Dr. W.M. Marcks was elected mayor."
But McPherson said there was a lot more to learn. She said she was reading Dot Longstreth's 1957 book "De Soto is 100 Years Old" for information and would confer with Dott Stephens and other local community historians.
She and Anderson had talked of celebrating the sesquicentennial by doing something big for De Soto's 2007 Fourth of July celebration and again during the annual De Soto Days Festival over Labor Day weekend, McPherson said. But she said all ideas were welcome and the community effort would shape the event.
"We're open to anything and everything, because we want to work with each organization and group and encourage them to think about their part in the celebration.
"It's going to require many, many people of different talents, money and ideas. Let's combine our mutual talents and funds and go as far as we can."
Those who would like information about the sesquicentennial effort can call McPherson at 583-1182.