The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 4, 1997 · Page 86
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 86

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 4, 1997
Page 86
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XTHfe 5ALINA JOORNAL fiock Rock of Ages Ice Age rock won't budge to town's traffic By RIC ANDERSON Lawrence Journal-World •cLOUTH — In the wheel ruts that break off of Granite Street, there's a story. It's about man against nature, with subplots of futility, resignation and acceptance. The main character: a rock, apparently a mother of a rock left by a retreating Ice Age glacier, smack in the middle of the street. "In the early '40s, the WPA (Works Progress Administration) tried to dig it up," said Glenn Wear, the mayor. "They said that the farther they dug down, the bigger it got. So they gave up on it." The Franklin Roosevelt-era WPA is gone, but the rock remains, framed by a paved portion of Granite Street and a set of tracks carved by McLouth motorists who have been driving around the boulder for years. Nobody really knows why the road was laid out in the rock's path. But Wear said legend suggests that the town's founder, Amos McLouth, might have had something to do with it. "Some of the old-timers told me that when he started the town, he stood on top of this rock and looked around," Wear said. More than a century after this small town 15 miles north of Lawrence was founded in the early 1880s, legends about the rock have grown. Its lore includes brushes with fire, chiseling, even a corporate takeover attempt. "About 10 years ago, a guy from Kansas City, Kan., wanted it," Wear said. "They were putting up a building, and at that time, everybody wanted to have a big rock in front of their building. "The council turned him down." John Bower, an 84-year-old rural McLouth resident who has lived near the city all his life, said he had heard that somebody tried to flatten the rock by setting a fire around it. The theory was that the fire would weaken the boulder so it could be broken up. The rock withstood the heat. Common thought is that the rock was around about 10,000 years before Amos McLouth came to town. It's likely what geologists call a "glacial erratic," swept up by an Ice Age glacier that formed in the north, crept south and then dumped off the rock as it began melting and retreating. Evan Franseen, an associate scientist with the Kansas Geological Survey, said a number of similar rocks have been found in northeast Kansas. But few have taken on the significance ofMcLouth'srock. Although it has never been named, the rock has become as much of a landmark as the stovepipe-style water tower in this community of about 900 people. Some folks have an emotional attachment, like Bower, whose grandfather often stood on the rock to scan the prairie for wayward cattle in the 1800s. Others are drawn by curiosity, Wear said. "A lot of people have stopped to look at it," he said. Improvement plans for Granite Street call for the road to be paved on both sides of the bulge. . "I think it's here to stay," Wear said. - The Associated Press McLouth Mayor Glenn Wear sits atop a rock that protrudes from the center of Granite Street In this small northeast Kansas town. Jimco Charters/Sharlar Tours 800-536-2185 "TRAVEL WITH JIMCO CHARTERS" CELEBRATING OUR 11TH YEAR OF BUSINESS... 1986-1997 Accident Free!! COME JOIN SHARLAR TOURS FOR THESE SPECIAL DATES: LET US CHARTER YOUR GROUP TOURS WEDNESDAY, JUNE 18TH The Adorable "Roadside" musical "Pump Bays ft Dinettes" O Amarlcan Heartland Theatre SUNDAY, JUNE 22,1997 «The New Theatre Overland Park Heal andThaatra Don't miss out! SEPT. BRANSON SEPT , 9th 12th, 1997^ OCT. BRANSON OCT I Jlh Iblh 199 / Call For Octdilb About Haiiali b Caiinu Trlpi May & June Date:, Available- WEDNESDAY • MAY 28th Boarding Hutchinson, Inman, McPharaon, SaUna •firm* B« a Wlnnar With Harrah's ft Jlmco Relive the drama of the most suspenseful mission in the history of i manned space flight at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, Kansas. Part of a $13 million expansion, "Odyssey" isn't the only incredible addition to the award- winning Hall of Space Museum. Other highlights include an SR-71 Blackbird spy plane, authentic German V1 and V2 rockets, a full-scale Space Shuttle, and Mercury Redstone and GeminiTitan rockets. The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center...quickly becoming the most comprehensive space museum in existence. jlCOSIVnSPHERE .1 KANSAS COSMOSPHERE AND SPACE CfcNIEH

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