Jay Price

History commentator

Jay M. Price is chair of the department of history at Wichita State University, where he also directs the public history program.

His works include Temples for a Modern God: Religious Architecture in Postwar America, Gateways to the Southwest: The Story of Arizona State Parks, Wichita, 1860-1930, and El Dorado!: Legacy of an Oil Boom. He has co-authored Wichita's Legacy of Flight, the Cherokee Strip Land Rush, Wichita’s Lebanese Heritage, and Kansas: In the Heart of Tornado Alley.

He has served on the boards of the Kansas Humanities Council and the Kansas State Historic Sites Board of Review. He is currently on the board of the Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Museum and the University Press of Kansas.

Ways to Connect

Looking at a photograph of the west side of the Arkansas River from a century ago shows a prominent two-story railroad station just south of Douglas. This was the site of one of Wichita’s lesser known railroad connections: The Midland Valley Railroad. 

Jay Price

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, where LBGT patrons of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted one of many police raids on the bar. It remains a turning point in the gay rights movement.

Until 2016, many Wichitans knew Blake Hall at 3317 E. 17th Street as KMUW’s home. What they may not know is that the KMUW story at that spot only goes back to 1981. During the 1960s and 1970s, the intersection of 17th and Fairmount was part of a neighborhood business district, home to several establishments. 

KMUW is turning 70 years old this week, so we decided to take a peek at what Wichita looked like in 1949, the year the station was born. Dr. Jay Price, director of Wichita State University's Public History program, gives us a glimpse.

Beth Golay / KMUW

Back in 2012, John Bardo became Wichita State University's president. Some presidents are caretakers, who maintain the status quo. That was not Bardo’s legacy. He took on an institution that was, in some ways, not that different from the one where he taught back in the 1970s. Now, as the university's head, he became a builder, a transformer, and the campus became a very different space.

Just a month ago, the WSU departments of History and Philosophy returned to their old home on campus, Fiske Hall, after a several-year exile to other buildings due to major renovations.

Historically, societies along the Great Plains have organized along watersheds that form backbones to the states that have developed. Nebraska, for example, is the state of the Platte River. Its main cities, from Omaha and Lincoln in the east to Scottsbluff in the west, follow the Platte in part because the Union Pacific’s main line also follows that river course.  

At a picturesque national cemetery inside a volcanic crater above Honolulu, crews with shovels and backhoes are digging up hundreds of long-nameless U.S. dead from the Korean War and turning them over to a nearby Pentagon lab for identification.

The massive disinterment project is giving hope to thousands of aging family members that they may finally know what happened to missing fathers, brothers, husbands, and uncles.

This fall, a group of students and I participated in the Day of the Dead event at the Nomar International Market. We had with us a large, blown up map of the North End from the 1950s, showing all the individual houses, stores, and other structures. People could write on the map or put in pins with tags that showed what the given building was and why it was significant to them.

constitutionus.com

While the ideals of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence hold true today, the mechanisms of those ideals were rooted in a specific time and place. The founding fathers created our system right at the tail end of the pre-industrial era. Most people were engaged in agriculture, travel was difficult, food, information, and defense were largely local, and worldly cosmopolitan perspectives were the privilege of the educated and wealthy few.  

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