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Historical groups put merger plan into motion with ice cream social

Hannah Brown/Kiowa County Signal
Kiowa County Signal
HHF President Jean Jones and SWKAET Association President sign a merger agreement signifying the union of the two groups.

The Haviland Heritage Foundation and the Southwest Kansas Antique Engine and Thresher Association announced the merger of the two groups on Saturday, August 22 with an ice cream social and program. HHF President Jean Jones and SWKAET Association President signed a merger agreement to make it official. 

“This merger will unite the two groups to carry on the history of Haviland, and provide the community and the county a beautiful place to gather and hold events,” said Jean Jones, HHF President.

Information was shared about future plans for the 8.5 acre property owned by the SWKAET association, Darry Clark provided entertainment, and ice cream was enjoyed by the 50 or so people who attended the celebration. Plans for the future include renovating the 114 year old farmhouse that graces the property, a monumental task that will bring back the beauty that has deteriorated over the last eleven decades. The foundation took donations to kick off the fundraising campaign, which is slated to be almost $300,000. The Konkel Family moved into the house in 1935, raising 10 children there and breeding and selling Spotted Polish China pigs that were known around the midwest for their quality. Descendants of the Konkel family shared stories of their parents growing up in the house. The two groups would also like to revamp the South West Kansas Antique Engine and Thresher Show, which it hopes to bring back in August of 2021. The 55th annual SWKAET Show was in August 2019 and it was announced by the group that it was the last show due to dwindling membership. Now, the two groups hope to bring that event back as well as add other events in conjunction with the show. 

Merging the two groups will benefit both parties. The Haviland Heritage Foundation will acquire the Konkel Family home to restore and use as a museum, displaying the history of Haviland. The SWKAET Association is now in a place to receive tax-deductible donations under the HHF’s 5013c. 

The Haviland Heritage Foundation started in 2002 with five members, Dolores Williams, Rodney Hannan, Shirley Dowell, Lucymae Meireis, and Sheryl White, as part of White’s doctoral project. Their mission is to embrace the past and build the future, which fits well into their plan to restore the Konkel home to display Haviland’s history for generations to come. The South West Kansas Antique Engine and Thresher Association started in 1965 with a group of local farmers who wanted to display various farming methods and engines.