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August 7, 2017

The history of Johnson County Community College has now been shared with the community as part of a major enhancement to the Overland Park segment of the Indian Creek Bike and Hike Trail.

Discover the founding of the College

The history of Johnson County Community College has now been shared with the community as part of a major enhancement to the Overland Park segment of the Indian Creek Bike and Hike Trail. The 10-panel installation was a joint partnership by JCCC, area historical societies and the City of Overland Park.

Illustrated with archival photographs, maps and other images, the panels feature original historical narratives about the names of the various streets that cross or intersect with the Trail, as well as other points of interest, including JCCC.

JCCC student intern Scott Davis was responsible for getting the word out. “I went to local businesses, hotels, churches, synagogues, community centers and apartments and talked to all of the priests, hotel managers, apartment managers, managers of stores and community organizers to spread the word about the event,” he said. “The reception I received from everyone was very positive and the majority of people I spoke to were excited because they exercised on the trail daily.”

Hike, bike and learn

“The Indian Creek Trail in Overland Park has been transformed from a walk through Anywhere, USA, into a hike through history,” said Henry Fortunato, founder of Sunflower Republic, LLC, and director of the Indian Creek Trail Interpretive Signage Project.

The signage specifically about College Boulevard and JCCC is located on the Indian Creek Trail just south of College Boulevard and east of the JCCC campus in Shannon Valley.

The college that Johnson County built

JCCC’s installation includes information about the creation of JCCC through successful bond sales, as well as a pro-college campaign sign from 1968 that says, “Build Johnson County/Vote Yes June 3” and the story of how College Boulevard got its name.

The Indian Creek Bike and Hike Trail provides a connection to historical aspects of Overland Park prior to and following the arrival of pioneers “going west.” Interpretive signs along the trail depict archival photographs, maps and other images that tell the history of Overland Park.

Just to be on the streets where we live

“Focusing on the history of specific streets – how they got their names, what they looked like before suburbanization, what took place along their routes – offers an ideal spine on which to hang a host of historical vignettes in an accessible format,” said Fortunato. “This collection of exhibit panels will foster a sense of place and a deeper understanding of how Overland Park and Johnson County came to be what they are today.”

The series of exhibit panels offers narratives about a host of Johnson County thoroughfares ranging from Mission Road on the east to Pflumm Road on the west, including Quivira Road, Switzer Road, 69 Highway, College Boulevard, I-435, Antioch Road, Marty Street, Metcalf Avenue, Lamar Avenue, Nall Avenue and Roe Avenue. Panels also will examine topics relating to the environmental history of Indian Creek and the agricultural heritage of Johnson County. A mobile phone app will complement the physical signage.

The unveiling

Fortunato led the dedication ceremony.

With JCCC, find permanence in the past

Dr. James Leiker outlined the significance of the founding of JCCC and how 111th Street came to be renamed College Boulevard.

Looking back over 50 years

Board of Trustees member Jerry Cook describes how a piece of undeveloped land became the crown jewel of Johnson County, about to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Happy Trails

Greg Ruther, Director of Park Services for the city of Overland Park, discussed the development of the trail over the years.