Delphos Museum News


  • Museum Organization
  •  Exhibits
  • Resources 
  • Grace Bedell Foundatio


It is not so we live in the past, but so the past can live in the future.

The Delphos Museum is located at the southwest corner of the square, 101 North Washington St., Post office box 338, telephone 785-523-4540.

Hours at the Museum are Monday 9-12, Tuesday 12-4, Wednesday Closed, Thursday Closed, Friday 9-12, Saturday 9-12 and 1-4 p.m. Appointments may be made at other times by calling, 785-523-4658, 785-523-4331 or 785-523-4306

Museum Organization

The Delphos Museum was organized in 1993. The former Brock Auto repair building on the south west corner of the square became available and was purchased by Tom McGavran and Bill Hurtig for a place to work on antique automobiles and implements. Wendell Hare wanted a place to store and display the implements that had been in the Hare family for many years. His parents, Jay and Ia Hare were married in the early 1900's and lived on the same farm until they retired.

Other residents had articles that they wanted to share with the public and were added. Dorothy Bourne had a lifetime of material that she had collected and there were the trophies for the Delphos high school and  mementos of the country schools as well that needed to be preserved. There are mementos of Grace Bedell Billings and the State Bank of Delphos which George Billings co-founded in 1880.   

The Delphos Museum was then organized as a non-profit organization with the stated purpose:

    To preserve the heritage of the Delphos community.

    To help persons appreciate the culture of this area since the settlement.

    To display the vehicles and agricultural machinery used in the community.

    To display a working elevator, a scale, railroad depot and section car.

    To provide a place for family photos, letters and other docxuments to be preserved.

    To encourage field trips, study, and "hands-on" experience of our history. 

Current officers: C. J. Ballou, president, Raymond Packta secretary-treasurer. Other members are Carrol Somers, and Tom McGavern.Mary Ballou is the curator.

Memberships are encouraged for twenty-five dollars a year. Other gifts of funds for operation and expansion and items for display are also encouraged.  

    Lord/Cain Elevator                 Former Mullinex Building

In addition to the original museum building the organization owns the former Mullinax building on the north side of the square and the former Lord/ Cain elevator on West Second Street which are in need of being renovated  A sponsorship of either of these projects or the Bedell Billings home as additional display area is encouraged by anyone. 


Grace Bedell Foundation

  George N. and Grace Bedell Billings home

 A foundation has been formed in order to save the  home that  was built by Grace Bedell and her husband  George N. Billings about 1880 after they moved to Delphos  from their homestead northwest of Delphos. She is  remembered as the eleven year old girl from New York  who wrote the candidate Abraham Lincoln and suggested that he grow a beard. Lincoln replied by mail and did grow the beard and was elected the fourteenth president of the United States. Several books have been written about this event including "Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers" by Karen Winnick.

Another letter to the president from Grace Bedell was found in the Lincoln archives. In this letter she asked President Lincoln for a job in the treasury department. A copy of this letter which he may have never seen is on display in the Delphos Museum.

The foundation was organized by Karen Nettles, Sharon Snively and Duane Billings, Grace's great-grandson who grew up in Delphos. A website has been established at  Contributions toward the saving of Grace's House may be sent to Grace Bedell Foundation, Box 321, Delphos, Kansas 67436


This is an authentic  buggy that was pulled by one horse. It belonged to Jay and Ia Hare and was one of the first acquisitions to the museum by Wilfred and Wendell Hare.


Ladies Exhibit 

A ladies exhibit is located in the loft of the Delphos museum. It is called a ladies exhibit as it features hats and clothing worn by some of the early residents. One is a Swedish costume worn by Mary Ballou's mother and sisters. It features a pink apron and stocking. The articles from the 1920's as well as furniture and a sewing machines of interest to the ladies.

Part of the barbed wire collection 

Barbed Wire collection

 The Barbed wire collection made by Wayne and Luella Kiser has been loaned to the Delphos Museum by Dewayne Kiser. There are 446 different kinds of wire and a few tools. They are on display in the west room.

Fire Extinguisher

The Delphos Museum has a new fire extinguisher to exhibit. It a huge extinguisher that had been in the Glasco Booster Plant. The Asul Dry Chemical is complete with the operation manual. The huge tank (about ten gallons) is mounted on two iron wheels about four feet high. It can be moved by tipping it and has a pressure tank and hose. The last testing date is 12/94.

It was donated by Wilbur Moon who found it in the barn of his former residence. 

Flag Case

The large glass case with a flag which had been at the American Legion hall has been donated to the museum by Lamoine Baldock. The case was made by Jack Willars.

Antique Rocker

An antique glider rocker has been donated by Alberta Paramore. Some may remember when Mary Paramore sat on her porch in the mile north of where 5th street crosses the railroad tracks west of town waving at the passing traffic.

New Exhibit

The museum recently received a kerosene lamp filler from David Berndt. It is a five gallon can with a pump to transfer the kerosene to the base of the lamp. Only the connecting tube is missing. It is interesting to find that the item is from Delphos, Ohio.

Other Exhibits 

The museum has the pen used by Grace Bedell to write the letter to Abraham Lincoln. There is other memorabilia from The State Bank of Delphos organized by George N. Billings. Included is a ten key adding machine that was put in service March 27, 1905. It was donated on the 125 anniversary of the bank's founding.  


There are many resources of local history in the museum. There is some genealogical information as well as school year books (and D. H. S. trophies), scrapbooks, family history stories, pictures and old Delphos Republicans. A 1918 Ottawa County Atlas is available to look up land owners in that time. .  

Newspaper items

Katie Jacques, PhD has compiled newspaper articles in several three ring binders. They include: Solomon Valley Pioneer published in Lindsey, Kansas 1870-1873.

Obituary and Death notices in The Sentinel August 5, 1875 to September 20, 1883; The Delphos Republican 1900 to 1909 ; in The Delphos Herald Carrier and Republican in 1879 to 1899 and The Delphos Republican 1910 to 1919.

 Hall Cemetery transcriptions of stones.

Katie is the granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Leo Allison. 

Books Available

There are books of local history available for purchase. They include "Delphos in the Solomon Valley", "My Delphos in Kansas", and "Historic Houses in Delphos Kansas" by Donna Burough Opat.


Current needs:

A questionaire was sent to members seeking imput as to the various needs and direction the museum should take. Among the concerns is the west wall of the current museum. There has been some progress as the blocks have been obtained and students from the Beloit Vocational School will apply them when they can be scheduled.  

    *Generous support is needed for Museum B remembered as the "Mullinax" building. The walls have be repointed and roof renewed. Most of the floor has been removed on the main floor and the second story also needs floor repair. It is a large building which could accomodate many more displays such as domestic displays, family historical items, local genealogical displays as well as more machinery.

    *There is more machinery to display and needs to be displayed properly. Some is crowed in to the lean to, some is stored in the country and there are some of substantial value that would be donated if there were space for them.  

    *The lots south of Big Riches belong to the Delphos Museum and another possibility is to erect a steel building there.

    *This space has also been considered a location for the former Lord/Cain elevator which was donated to the museum in 1998. This could be a valuable display and it is one of the oldest elevators of this kind still standing in Kansas. It needs to be moved which will be expensive especially because the power lines in the path.  

    Monthly expenses amount to about $650.00 per month 

Any suggestions or financial support should be directed to an officer of the museum. They are truly solicited. Membership is Twenty-five dollars a year and can be sent to Delphos Museum, Box 338, Delphos, Kansas 67436.