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Butler Life Enrichment to Host Singer, Humanities Kansas Presenter

Leo Oliva and Jeff Davidson
Published: Friday, November 22nd, 2019

Kansas Wagon Train, Railroad History Highlighted

El Dorado, Kan. – Butler Community College’s Life Enrichment will host Jeff Davidson and Leo Oliva on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 9 a.m. Davidson will sing at 9 a.m. and Oliva will present “Railroaded: The Industry that Shaped Kansas” at 10 a.m. 

Using songs, historical facts and pictures, Davidson leads audiences through the history of the settlement of the west, with particular emphasis on the state of Kansas. The development of Kansas had a tremendous influence on western settlement, helping to shape the economy, ideology and heroism of a young nation. Davidson entertained as part of the Flint Hills Overland Wagon Train for 25 years where he developed the idea of using historical events to introduce songs he sang. He uses a combination of classic western and folk tunes along with his own compositions to highlight the significant historical events that led Kansas into statehood. 

Some claim that Kansas was created specifically to accommodate westward expansion of the railroads. Railroads brought immigrants, created jobs, and fed beef markets in the East. Most Kansas towns were founded because of the railroad, and few survived without it. Oliva’s presentation examines the complicated legacy of railroads in Kansas. Oliva is a historian with a research focus on 19th-century Kansas. He is the author of “Soldiers on the Santa Fe Trail,” six books for the Kansas Fort Series, and a founding member of the Santa Fe Trail Association and Fort Larned Old Guard. 

“Railroads are the key to understanding the development of Kansas,” said Oliva. 

“Railroaded: The Industry that Shaped Kansas” is part of Humanities Kansas's Movement of Ideas Speakers Bureau, featuring presentations and workshops designed to share stories that inspire, spark conversations that inform, and generate insights that strengthen civic engagement. 

Life Enrichment meets on the first Tuesday morning of the month during the school year. Area adults enjoy high-quality speakers and performers, along with a light breakfast and coffee during each regular meeting. Meetings take place in the Clifford/Stone Community Room at the Hubbard Welcome Center on the El Dorado campus. Meetings are open to everyone and there is no charge to attend. Those who attend regularly are encouraged to register so they receive monthly newsletters announcing the programs. New members are always welcome. 

For more information about Life Enrichment or the December 3 program, please contact Trisha Walls at 316-218-6355 or twalls@butlercc.edu.