Unsolved mysteries at the library
Turn left at the Goodland Public Library‘s check-in desk and go all the way to the back to find the Kansas Room. Look to the left to see the oil painting, The Gleaners, that covers nearly the entire west wall.
Painting’s origin has a mystery around it. Apparently the painting was commissioned by First National Bank as a decoration for its newly-remodeled facility at 1102 Main. The Western Kansas News reported in its Oct. 31, 1921, issue that it had been painted by “a former Polish count now living in Kansas City.” In the Nov. 3, 1921, issue, the newspaper said that the painting was hanging on the west wall above the vault “and was the subject of much wonderment and praise.”
So who was this Polish count? No one knows. The records are silent.
The inspiration for Goodland’s painting is no secret. It’s a copy of The Gleaners by Jean Francois Millet (1814-1878). His painting now hangs in The Louvre in Paris.
But another mystery surrounds the Goodland painting. When did it leave the bank and when did it arrive the library? No one knows. Records do not tell when the painting came to the library. The bank moved to 202 E. 11th in 1965. Did it move with the bank or did it stay in the building for the next tenant? Records are silent. The library building was built in 1975, but no records mention the painting’s installation then or later.
The mysteries remain unsolved.
More to see at the library
Also enjoy Kansas painter and print maker Birger Sandzen’s works in the Kansas Room and the adjacent librarian’s office. Library posts rotating displays in the area outside the Kansas Room. Go to the library’s meeting room to see the rescued stained glass window.
Library offers free wireless Internet access.
Open September-May, Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; June-August, Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mountain Time.
The sculpture More Than Words stands outside the library’s front door. Cross the street to see the sculpture They Came to Stay, Central School Bell, a benchmark and the Art Deco details of Sherman County Courthouse and its District Courtroom.