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Kansas Kaleidoscope, October 2001

(Volume 5, Number 2)

Real People. Real Stories.

A fun magazine for kids!

Kansas Kaleidoscope, October/November 2001 A MOVING EXPERIENCE: IMMIGRATION TO KANSAS

Have you ever moved to a new home? If your family moved, you would take your clothes and toys with you. You wouldn't want to leave these special things behind.

After the Big Snow

In the 1880s, large numbers of people from eastern Europe came to Kansas City seeking work. Many Croatians settled in an area that came to be called Strawberry Hill after the wild strawberries that once grew there. Marijana Grisnik grew up in this neighborhood and began painting scenes from her childhood in the 1960s. The painting on the cover, After the Big Snow, shows Croatian-American children making snowmen at the Zupanac house on Strawberry Hill.

New People in a New Land

America is a land full of people from other places in the world. Since Leif Erikson and Christopher Columbus, people have been coming and they are still coming. These people are called immigrants.

Many Roads to Kansas

Since Kansas became a state in 1861, thousands of immigrants have settled here. An immigrant is someone who decides to move here from another country but the term can also be used to describe someone moving from one place in the United States to another. Most people who moved to Kansas came from somewhere else in the United States first but many also arrived directly from Europe, England, Asia, Central America and Africa.

Immigration Helpers

Moving to a new country was (and still is) a big decision to make. People wanting to move to America listened to others who knew about the new land. Some of them read books or pamphlets describing what life in the United States was like. Some people read the happy letters of relatives who had immigrated.

The Orphan Trains

Children without parents to care for them were given special help to come to Kansas. Some of these children were recent immigrants from Europe, others were abandoned or homeless American children. The Children's Aid Society of New York operated orphan trains between 1854 and 1929. Of the 150,000 children who left New York, nearly 5,000 of them were adopted by families in Kansas.

Kaleidoscope Challenge: Everyone Counts
On the census, these young boys would have been listed as bakery workers.

Every 10 years, a count of how many people live in Kansas is taken by the United State government. This count is called a census. Today, forms are mailed to every household to collect this information. Years ago, officials called deputy assessors would go to every house and family living in Kansas. Their job was to count how many people lived in each household and record their names, ages, occupations, and where the people were born.

Journal of a Journey Journal of a Journey

By the end of the 1800s, German-speaking people formed the largest group of new immigrants to Kansas. Many came from Germany but many others were living near the Volga River in Russia. They called themselves Volga-Germans or German-Russian. Most were members of one of three different religions: Lutherans, Catholics, or Mennonites. All three of these groups helped large numbers of immigrants come to Kansas.

Land of Liberty Land of Liberty

Millions of people came to the United States hoping to start new lives in a new homeland. Between 1892 and the early 1920s, they arrived at major seaport cities to apply for permission to stay in the U.S. At these immigrant processing centers like Ellis Island, NY, people waited with their personal belongings to see if they would be allowed to stay. If they did not pass all the requirements, they would be deported and have to sail back home.

How to Become an American

Getting permission to enter the United States does not automatically make you a citizen of this country. First you must apply then pass a very hard test.

The Barn Stormers

In the previous issue of Kansas Kaleidoscope (volume 5, number 1, we began a story about four young adventurers
--Gina, her cousin Max, his little sister Opal, and Opal's dog Marshmallow--who took shelter from a Kansas thunderstorm in their grandparent's barn. The kid found thmselves trapped in a dark room while lightning struck outside. When Max cracked open a hole in the barn wall for the kids to escape, they crawled out only to make a shocking discovery: they were in the same place but in a different time, almost 200 years back in history! Face to face with Lewis and Clark, who in 1804 explored and mapped a part of the land which would become the state of Kansas, the kids worried: How would they return to the present day?

We asked readers to write to us and continue the story. One of those entries is published in this issue.

¿Habla inglés?

Children of immigrants usually learned to speak English faster than their parents. One reason was that most classrooms used English only. In the early 1900s the Santa Fe Railroad paid the bilingual children of their Mexican workers to translate for them. Kids also helped their parents with the language barrier when shopping and doing business.

Book Report

Issues of Kansas Kaleidoscope will have books report written by one of our student subscribers. If you would like to contribute a report for the December 2001/January 2002 issue, read Lois Ruby's book, Steal Away Home. Send your report to Book Report, Kansas Kaleidoscope, 6425 SW 6th Avenue, Topeka KS 66615-1099. Entries must be received by November 30. Those reports not published in the magazine will be printed online at www.kshs.org.

Growing Up on Strawberry Hill

Marijana Grisnik was a lucky little girl. She was born in 1936 in the Croation-American community of Strawberry Hill. All four of her grandparents immigrated to Kansas City from Croatia, in eastern Europe. As Marijana remembers, I was very fortunate in that my mother shared me with the people on the Hill. They all seemed to have a hand in raising me.

Home Swede Home
Some new immigrants lived in temporary homes underground.

Swedish pioneers who moved to central Kansas in the mid-1800s called their new home framtidslandet, the land of the future. Many had left their homeland when famine threatened starvation. Swedes praised immigration and encouraged friends and family in Europe to join them. I saw how God had blessed our settlements in this beautiful, flourishing, and liberty-loving state, wrote Dr. Carl Swensson. (In 1881, Dr. Swensson founded Bethany College in Lindsborg.)


In This Issue:

  • Kaleidoscope Challenge
  • For Parents and Teachers
  • Bee a Winner!
  • Heritage Word Search