Book retelling Parsons’ first 150 years to be available Nov. 1

Dave Mattox, co-author of “Parsons Kansas 150 Years,” opens a box of the newly printed books. The books will be sold at an upcoming book signing in November and at two local businesses. Profits from the sales will go toward the city’s 150th celebration in 2021. 


For more than two years, Dave Mattox and Mike Brotherton, who love local history, have worked to compile a book offering a glimpse into the last 150 years in Parsons.

Their efforts help commemorate the community’s sesquicentennial in 2021.

“We’re excited about the book,” Brotherton said. “It’s a perfect way to jump start next year’s celebration.”

Each chapter of the book focuses on a different theme and collects for the reader photographs of events, people, places and items.

Mattox and Brotherton collected information from existing books, research from Parsons’ late historian Maynard Harding, and, including Parsons Sun archives, to get recorded history, dates and first-hand accounts. Photographs came from the Parsons Historical Society Museum and private collections. 

“Every chapter starts with an essay that puts every chapter in perspective and gives a little bit of the history. Then, each chapter builds, and by the end of the book, if you’ve read all the essays, you get the whole general history,” Brotherton said. “It’s a combination of photographs and items. Mostly the items are related to the photographs. Dave did all the page layouts with my suggestions, and I did all the writing.”

One chapter is a Top 10 list of people and events that have shaped Parsons.

Of course, people may have different opinions of what should have made the list. The public is invited to share what events and people they think should have made the two lists by posting on the Parsons Kansas 150 Years page on Facebook.

“Even if they disagree, it would be fun to create a dialogue,” Brotherton said.

Residents are reminded that about every 10 days, to the end of  2020, more information will be shared on the page about Parsons’ sesquicentennial. He encouraged people to keep checking to learn more and interact.

Sun Graphics printed the book, keeping the 150th commemorative book project local.

“They did a fabulous job,” Brotherton said. “I think it’s fun, and I hope people will be happy with it. I think people will find it interesting and hopefully will learn a little history … and just enjoy, because there’s some fun facts in there.” 

Nov. 1 is the book’s official release date. The book is going to be available at Bleacher Gear and at Ace Hardware. It costs $29.99 with tax.

“The money raised from the book is actually going to go back into events and improvements that take place during the 150th,” Brotherton said. So it’s not designed to profit the authors. It’s designed to be more of a commemorative item.

A book signing is scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, at the Carnegie Arts Center, 17th and Broadway.

“People who go to the book signing can either bring the books that they’ve already purchased to be signed, or they can purchase the book there and have it signed,” Brotherton said. “We’re going to have someone there who is specifically in charge of social distancing and creating a line that is not a congested line, and, of course, you have to wear a mask at the Carnegie now anyway.”

The one thing everyone should be aware of is only 500 books were printed and there are no plans to have a second printing, so the early bird catches the worm.

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