The articles on this site are historical narratives.  They are dramatizations of local history and should not be considered comprehensive reports on their subjects. The Iola Register is solely responsible for the site’s content.

We are grateful for interest in our community’s history. Please contact with any questions or suggested corrections.

Like local history?

Then you’ll love Taking Southeast Kansas History Online.

Simply navigate to the SEK History homepage at, on either desktop, tablet or mobile, and you’re ready to start exploring.

Did we mention that it’s absolutely free, thanks to a generous grant from the nonprofit organization Humanities Kansas?

Your first option is to choose a quadrant on the splash page, out of Northern/Southern Allen County or Northern/Southern Woodson County. On your phone, simply press “continue.”

Once you’re inside the site, you’ll find a map of the two primary counties dotted with pins of different colors. 

The colors of pins correspond to whether the land is privately or publicly owned, as well as whether tours are possible with a guide. Purple is a warning not to trespass without permission, whereas green signals land that’s completely open to traverse. Please be courteous of land-owners and pay attention to sign postings.

As the project continues to expand, there will also be sites marked on the map from other southeast Kansas counties as well, such as the Old Mill Dam in Fredonia or Dalton Defender’s Museum in Coffeyville.

Go ahead. Zoom in a pick a pin to click.

A new page then opens featuring a full-length story on the historic site along with photos.

The stories are familiar content from Register reporter Trevor Hoag’s “Just Prairie” articles, but they have been situated in the specific places to which they refer.

Again, thanks to the grant from Humanities Kansas, these stories are now freely available to the public.

Let’s say we chose the pin for the historic Allen County Jail, northeast of the Iola square. You’ll notice it’s colored yellow, which means it’s possible to get a tour of the inside.

Once the story tab is open, note the box that says “Let’s Go.” If you’re unsure how to drive to somewhere, click this option and driving navigation will automatically be opened in Google Maps.

Keep in mind that many of the pins are not in exactly the place where things are located, but are usually close by.

After you get a feel for the site, you’ll be reading and exploring in no time.

Along with Humanities Kansas, other sponsors for SEK History Online include the Iola Register, Woodson County Historical Society, Iola USD 257 and the Bowlus Fine Arts Center.

The primary content creators and site designers for Taking SEK History Online are Trevor Hoag and Tim Stauffer of the Iola Register.

They hope the website will continue to be used for years to come, and that it serves the following functions:

-To generate interest in the historical tales of southeast Kansas, whether among natives or folks visiting from elsewhere.

-To educate people young and old about the place that they are from, and to help them forge a deeper connection to that place.

-To draw in tourists who will spend money at local businesses and restaurants.

-To produce civic pride in our local stories, and to preserve them for generations.

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