Fairmount College (Wichita State University) Basketball team, 1905.
“Wichita is, and has always been much more diverse than I realized,” said Barb Myers, creator of the popular Facebook group Wichita History from My Perspective.
The group, which allows members to post, share and comment on stories and photos of Wichita’s history, now has nearly 4,600 members.
Wichita History From My Perspective is just what it sounds like. Wichita’s history from the perspective of the group’s creator.
“It’s how I see it—the pictures, the links to websites, the discussion groups—all things that I find interesting, and I hope that others do, too!” Myers said.
The group was created in August of 2014, as Myers was working towards a graduate degree in Local and Community History at Wichita State University. Myers had spent a lot of time exploring Wichita and its historical roots when she realized that others might be interested in what she was learning, and that some may be able to help her learn even more.
Myers began her fact-finding process by visiting local museums, where she would make note of important names. She learned all she could at the museums and took the names to the library, where she would study them further.
“What had they done for a living? Some had streets or buildings named after them—why? Did they have families, and where were they? Then I would find out where they had been buried. That ultimately brought me to Highland Cemetery,” Myers said. When little information about the cemetery was forthcoming, Myers began photographing the cemetery for her own records and to share on her own personal Facebook page.
The Facebook Group is Created
“The more I took, I more I realized I needed to share,” Myers said. This was when she decided to create the Wichita History From My Perspective group. Myers hoped that, by creating the group, she might be able to find the answers she had been searching for.
“In some cases I would have more questions than answers. So, I would post pictures on the Facebook page, just to see if anyone knew ‘this or that.’ That would lead to another person adding to the discussion, and another…”
It would seem that the group really came into the public eye around Thanksgiving of last year. Though she’s not sure why, Myers says that membership doubled from 1,500 to 3,000 in one weekend.
Myers has not lived in Wichita her whole life, but she says it will always be a part of her. In addition to gaining an understanding of Wichita’s past, Myers says that her involvement in this group has made her feel more connected to the current Wichita community.
Myers says the most rewarding part of having created the group is getting to meet people that she might not have had the opportunity to otherwise, and hearing stories that would otherwise have been forgotten.
”A large part of our past is still unwritten. Be a part of it—go to the museums, the libraries, join the genealogy societies or clubs. Or, just join us on ‘Wichita History From My Perspective’. But never, ever stop learning and sharing!” Myers said.
To learn more about Wichita's history and see more photos, you can join the Wichita History From My Perspective Facebook group here.