Howard Cripe, right, a member of the Santa Fe Trail Amateur Radio Club, demonstrates the use of a spark-gap transmitter (partially visible in this photograph) for the benefit of Olathe Mayor John Bacon and Liz Ruback, the assistant to the mayor. Submitted photo

Rick Nichols
Special to The Gardner News
Olathe Mayor John Bacon, his assistant, Liz Ruback, Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation Brad Clay, and Director of Quality of Life Mike Sirna visited Ensor Park and Museum in south Olathe the afternoon of Wednesday, Nov. 17 and were given a special tour of the eight-acre historic site by two members of the Santa Fe Trail Amateur Radio Club, Marty Peters, call sign KE0PEZ, the secretary-treasurer of the club, and Howard Cripe, N0AZ. Two other members of the club, including Peg Nichols, KD0VQO, also were present and assisted with the tour as needed.
During a period of about an hour and a half, the mayor and the other city officials were guided through the two-story Italianate house amateur radio pioneers Marshall Ensor, W9BSP, and Loretta Ensor, W9UA, grew up in and from which they taught radio lessons by radio in the 1920s and ’30s and up until the start of World War II. They also were shown the quaint Peg Barn where radio equipment used during the war and shop equipment from Olathe High School (now Olathe North High School), where Marshall Ensor taught Industrial Arts for nearly half a century, are on display. A side trip to another building allowed the foursome to have a good look at Ensor’s 1949 Ford.
The city has owned and operated Ensor Park and Museum, located at 18995 W. 183rd, since 2006.
“It’s amazing,” Bacon said of Ensor Park and Museum following the tour. Then he added, “I think that it’s a great amenity that the city should figure out a better way to utilize. I think there’s definitely a story to tell that people need to know more about.”
Currently, two amateur radio clubs, the Santa Fe Trail Amateur Radio Club and the Johnson County Radio Amateurs Club, provide tour guides during the four months of the year in which Ensor Park and Museum is open to visitors, May, June, September and October.
For more information about the site, visit www.ensorparkandmuseum.com.