The History of Eudora, Kansas
The History of Eudora, Kansas
Eudora and its residents have been used in fiction novels, movies, and field art (as seen right in photograph of Stan Herd art).
In McKay’s Bees (1979) by Thomas McMahon (New York: Harper & Row), the main character is a wealthy Bostonian named Gordon McKay who goes to Kansas during the bloody struggles over slavery in the 1850's to make money by raising bees, a purely imaginary endeavor pursued by neither the real McKay nor any other real person. With other main characters, he goes to Lawrence, Kansas. On pgs. 165-168, they stop at “Fish’s.” “Mr. Paschal Fish, the proprietor of a commercial establishment nine miles from Lawrence. On the lower floor was a dining room and a store of groceries and dry goods. On the upper floor were rooms Mr. Fish rented as sleeping apartments. Mr. Fish operated his establishment for the benefit of both red and white men. He was a dedicated admirer of the United States, particular the phrase from her Declaration of Independence, “all men are created equal.” He enthusiastically believed in education and owned many books.” After a choice of pigeon or catfish served with blood porridge and corn bread, the characters are served by Mr. Fish described as small, clean, and blue-eyed wearing his silver hair in a braid and a brass medal of Queen Victoria around his neck. The walls of the inn were decorated with daguerreotypes done by Fish and his assistant, Prince Bee, a runaway slave. Fish is mentioned again on pages 173-178.
West of Eudora on Fifteenth Street, 1928 N 1500 Road, is where Sara Paretsky, a mystery writer grew up. She writes about a female detective named V.I. Warshawski who lives in Chicago. In the 1984 Deadlock, Warshawski investigates the fictional Eudora Grain Company, where cousin Boom Boom worked. In her 2008 Bleeding Kansas, Paretsky writes of three families who live in the Eudora community.
Mimi Thebo’s “Welcome to Eudora,” published by Ballantine in 2007 chronicles the fictional events of a small town named Eudora. Thebo who lived in Lawrence and Baldwin said she named her setting because she liked the way the name sounded. In an Aug. 25, 2007 Lawrence Journal World account she was quoted as saying: “It’s not really Eudora. I was looking for a name that was homely in both senses of the word. It could not sound pretentious and needed to sound ‘hick,’ and Eudora has all those qualifications.”
Described by Booklist as “Kidnapped on her way home from a summer festival in her corn-country hamlet of Eudora, Kansas, 16-year-old Blythe Hallowell spends the next two decades of her life in an abandoned Cold War-era missile silo, dozens of feet underground. Her abductor, high-school librarian Dobbs Hordin, is a “conspiracy theory du jour” survivalist who has chosen Blythe to play Eve to his Adam when the apocalypse comes,” is the 2014 suspense book by Isla Morely that uses Eudora as story setting. Morely got the idea to use Eudora when she visited it with her husband Bob who is from the area. Blythe manages to escape the silo accompanied by the teenage son she bore while in captivity to find a world far different than she expected.
Crop artist Stan Herd made field-sized works of art on the Sam (“Junior”) and Elizabeth Neis farm south of Eudora. "Kansas Still Life" in 1986 honored Kansas’ 125th birthday and featured a vase of three sunflowers on a quilt-covered table. The 20-acre art piece contained sunflowers, soybeans, clover, and plowed earth in yellow, rust, green, and earthen colors. It and other Herd’s works attracted media attention from around the world and pilots flew their planes over field to show their passengers.
When the television producers of the 1998 drama Monday After the Miracle, the story of Helen Keller’s adult life starring Roma Downey, searched Eudora for a large Victorian home for their shooting location, they found few offerings. The producers ultimately decided on the Crowe’s large Victorian house, 1928 1500 Road, two miles west of Eudora, a house that had seen better years, and painted it in a multitude of colors and constructed a gazebo to match.
Ang Lee shot the film Ride with the Devil in the area during 1998 and said in a news interview: “When you are doing a period piece, Eudora is historically correct, but they haven’t remodeled too much that they look ginger-bready.” The film crew looked at the Lothholz house for a possible site, but used a bed and breakfast in Baldwin for filming.
The Painting by Santa Monica Pictures, had scenes shot during 2000 in downtown Eudora. The film tells an interracial love story set in the Civil Rights era. It stars Charles Shaughnessy, Clifton Davis, Ben Vereen, Heath Freeman and Stacy Dash. Peter Manoogian and Josh Rose directed.
Sweet Little Lies, a road trip movie released 2010, revolved around Bess (Caitlin Kinnunen), 17, who lives in a trailer park who steals a car with her her best friend — Waldo (Joseph Montes), 9, and head to Las Vegas to find Bess’ father. Some filming was done in Eudora’s Grandview Trailer Park.
Cynthia Leitich Smith wrote Rain Is Not My Indian Name published by HarperCollins Books in 2001. Hannesburg, the fictional town where the novel is set, is a German-American town in Douglas County, Kansas. Smith said she based the town on Eudora, Kansas, as well as Baldwin, Kansas; Belton, Missouri; and New Braunfels, Texas..
“A town by design but rural by nature” (1994, Kansas Quarterly, Vol. 24, No. 4, p. 66)
Several artists have drawn inspiration from Eudora such as Galen Senogles "Saints and Sinners" and Shirley Douglas' many historic artworks in various media (see below).