13. Chase County Courthouse Ball of 1873 -
  ©  Anne B. Wilson 2010

Songnote:
We were honored to perform this tribute to our Courthouse on its
150th birthday celebration.  I'd give anything to travel back in time and
witness the banquet and dance held to celebrate the opening of this grand
structure.  If the pioneers then only knew how much pleasure its beauty
would bring future county residents and visitors!  We are ever-thankful to all
who have worked for its preservation, including Charlie's father, the late
Whitt Laughridge, who served over ten years on this project.

Lyrics:

Out in the Kansas Flint Hills where the Cottonwood flows deep,
There stands the finest courthouse that you will ever see.
For two long years the workers built this fairy castle dream,
A real French Renaissance chateau in the river valley green.

Their giant horses heaved and pulled the hand-cut stones so fine
From a quarry down on Spring Creek up to the town square site.
The carpenters and masons worked in walnut, oak, and brass,
And built a limestone monument for centuries to last.

Last on the top, the cupola, reached to the prairie sky
To hold bell and clock and flag aloft a hundred feet up high.
The bell would warn of twisters.  The clock would time the day.
The oval window framed the view of ridge-tops miles away.

They came to celebrate that night in eighteen seventy-three
In buggies and on horseback, from pasture, farm and field.
The eight foot doors swung open wide for all the folks to see
The county's finest open house:  Grand Ball festivities.

Up the graceful winding stairway made from river walnut trees
That spiraled in wide circles up to story number three,
The jail rooms held the banquet; the courtroom held the Ball.
They ate and danced the night away the first time in those halls.

The ladies in their gowns of lace and men in frock coats fine
Would
alaman and do-si-do with partners down the line.
They danced the long Virginia Reel 'til everyone was tired
And the fiddlers played a pretty waltz for lovers to inspire.

Those dark red bricks of long ago still pave the wide Broadway
Leading to our courthouse that's still in use today.
Underneath this roof of red, within these walls of stone,
Is the heartbeat of our county in the courthouse of our home.
It's the heartbeat of our county - this courthouse of our home.
Clean Curve of Hill Against Sky
Volume 1 Songs of the Kansas Flint Hills
Photo by Kevin Ireland
Photos by Julia Wilson
click note for
music sample
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