An Early Easter

Users of our site are well familiar with the story of Easter Heathman, the long-time tender of the memorial at the site where Knute Rockne’s plane crashed. His daughter, Sue Ann Heathman Brown, now heads fundraising for the Chase County Historical Society & Museum, which helps to keep the history of that area alive. Recently, she reached out to some of our members who have toured the Rockne Memorial looking for their assistance, and we want to make sure that request is forwarded on to others in the group. If you have money you’re looking to use for a charitable cause, please keep the CCHS in mind.

As you can imagine, the financial funding from our small county of farmers, cowboys, and senior citizens is extremely low. With the added space, maintenance and upkeep are much higher. The old stone building has its original huge single pane windows, so it is not energy efficient at all. We voted to close the museum for 2 weeks from Dec. 20 until Jan.6 and may have to close a lot more before the 2015 tax dollars arrive. This year, the state of Kansas will be sending the money instead of the Chase county treasurer, so we don’t know when that will be. Last year, we received $17,000.00 for an annual budget. We simply must supplement this to make our ends meet.

I could go on about all the maintenance and repairs this wonderful old building is in need of, but please know, we are being as frugal as possible. Grants are being written for any need that stands a chance of being approved. This year, we received 2 grants for new wiring, which was at the top of our priority list. Board members are pitching in to buy everything from ink cartridges, brochures, shelving, and more. We recently had a biscuit and gravy fundraiser, and are planning on more fundraisers in the spring and summer. I am hoping you will consider becoming a member of the Chase County Historical Society, or perhaps make donation. One year memberships are $25 for in-state and $35 for out of state members, although we will appreciate any donation.

Every dollar donated will at least help us keep our doors open, or maybe even help buy a new energy efficient window or two. The museum is valuable to so many people not only because of the Chase County history that is on display, but because of all the genealogy research that is done there, and it is the first link to making arrangements to schedule a tour to the Rockne monument. All donations are tax deductible, as we are a 501 C(3) entity.

Donations and memberships can be purchased by Paypal on the website:, or mailed to:
301 Broadway
Cottonwood Falls, KS 66845

We will be planning the 85th Anniversary Memorial of the Rockne plane crash just about a year from now. It will be on Saturday, April 2, 2016. We hope to see you then!


Sue Ann Brown,
Chase County Historical Society/Museum

Sue and her dad spent a lot of time and effort giving Irish fans a way to remember their greatest football coach. Let’s take some time to give a little back.


2 thoughts on “An Early Easter

  1. Sue Ann, check is on the way. On cross country RV trip i met up with the Browns and was taken to the site of the crash. Have pictures with my wife and Easter’s dog who went along for the ride. They wouldn’t take any money from me that day. We stayed in Cottonwood Falls, and visited the museum too.