Hall of Waters Tour

Today we held tours through both the Excelsior Springs Museum and the Hall of Waters downtown. On the August ballot there will be an opportunity for the public to vote for a property tax that will be dedicated to improving our historic museums in town. Both today and next Saturday at 6:00pm the public is invited to take a tour through the space, ask questions, and see firsthand the priorities that will be set with the money generated from the tax.

City Manager Molly McGovern and City Councilwoman Sonya Morgan look over the study of the space from 2014. In the plans, there is space planned for a lobby, circulation, leasable space, staff only space, mechanical, public space, and storage.

Hall of Waters Building Manager TR Kennedy walked us through the old woman’s spa that has been turned into a museum. Here he is demonstrating how the light boxes were once used.

This is probably the space most folks have a heart for and memories of. I brought a couple down to see it and the man told me he remembered taking water babies here. I was able to tell him that I did, too!

This is the boiler room. The boilers are literally from the 50’s and could go out at any time. The first priority for the Hall will be to fix the ventilation problems, including the HVAC from mold and other harmful airborne contaminants.

In the sub-basement there used to be a water tank attached to the base. They ended up torching the tank off the base to find a huge buildup of sediment from the mineral water underneath. It’s so heavy that it will probably never be removed.

In the tunnel that runs alongside the bottom sides of the swimming pool, you can see the corrosion around the columns. The iron underneath is reacting to the contaminants in the air causing the damage. A new ventilation system can help to stop it.

In the elevator. This is a relatively new floor, meant to match the other Mayan styled decor that exists throughout the building. It was paid for by ghost tour proceeds.

Under the front lawn is the well room where the original Siloam well is housed. You can see above the five pipes that were used to bring the Springs into the Hall.

On the wall, you can see the workers initials with the year 1937 (when it was built) etched into the cement. I wonder who they were.

Ceiling damage in the well room, underneath the front lawn.

The original well spring Siloam. You can see the red iron in the water coming out of the floor. The springs are healthy!

In the Solarium we have our Visitor’s Center, where the public can walk around the water-bar and learn some of our history.

I can’t imagine our community without the Hall of Waters. It’s the heart of the downtown and was built in celebration of our unique waters whose varieties can’t be found together anywhere else on earth. It would be such a disappointment to see it go. I hope everyone votes Yes on August 7th to restore it.

Visit www.museumtax.com for more information and details on this project.

Connecting My Community

Technology is something that has always been given to me. It comes naturally to me, because I’ve been using it as it has developed since the 1980’s. My parents, both in printing and publishing, always had Mac’s in the household. I taught myself how to type by typing out books and articles. In addition to contributing to my typing speed, I also learned grammar and punctuation, things that would help me to communicate with others throughout my entire life.

Because I always had technology, I’ve literally just adapted to its many changes over the past two decades. I can still remember logging on to the Internet by means of a modem that would screech and squeal as it connected. At that time, pre-Facebook, I spent my time in chat rooms, downloading music on Napster, and competing in card game tournaments on Yahoo!.

By then, my parents had already made the switch from traditional printing to online publishing. They started building websites and established a company that they called Morgansites. For many in the Excelsior Springs area, the Morgan’s helped to establish a business presence online and market their goods and services 24/7 through a custom website. While my family’s business was already building sites two decades ago, there have been a lot of changes between now and then.

Developments in social media have only continued throughout that time. I started using it to connect others while running for office in 2009. Facebook was the perfect tool for me to publicize my message for the campaign, connect with supporters, and then raise money directly by linking up my website. Since that time, I have used social media to publicize various candidates, brands, businesses, and organizations.

Even still today, the developments in social media have us changing our approach when it comes to online marketing. Websites are now mostly used to house the tools that you’ll use to push to all your networks for the best return. Creating and establishing those networks is what is most important for it to be successful, though. Social media offers tools that stand-alone websites cannot, which is other people.

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About three years ago while working as the Chamber Director in Excelsior Springs, I was looking for the best way to promote our local businesses to the community in a kind of “Shop Local” campaign. I created a group and called it “Excelsior Springs News, Events, and Daily Deals.” While working from a list of local businesses, I went through and found which of them had a facebook page and which of our members were missing one. Then I started visiting each of the pages and sharing their posts into the group. I limited the group to only local business promotion, no individual promotions, because there were already established Swap Shop pages that provided individual citizens that opportunity.

Since that time, the group has grown to close to 9,000 and steadily growing with 10-20 new members each day. The list of businesses has doubled what it was three years ago. Now I monitor a little over 400 local pages, finding the latest information and sharing it with the community two to three times per day. I allow any local business that wants to post into the group to do so. In being this connected to the community, I now have around 3-5 people per day sending me questions or asking for local referrals. Having grown up in the community, I have an advantage in knowing its history and what the business community has to offer.

Aside from simply sharing posts into the group each day, lately I have been trying to offer new ways for our community to connect. I have established a type of theme for each day as follows:

– Memories Monday – sharing history or scenes of Excelsior Springs that can be reflected on by citizens
– Caption Contest Tuesday – sharing random photos depicting scenes that allow for citizens to make funny captions on
– Ask a Question, Get an Answer Wednesday – citizens ask community-related questions and I work to get them an answer
– Thankful Thursday – citizens give shout outs to things/people they’re grateful for this week
– Fab Friday – citizens share what they’re doing for the weekend
– Social Saturday – promoting local business Facebook pages to increase their follows
– Sunday Survey – asking a question for citizens to answer on random topics

As I move into a different role in the community, working as the Community and Business Liaison for the Excelsior Springs Job Corps, I’m interested now more than ever in finding out what the needs of the local community are and how I can connect others with those who can make them more successful. I plan to devote this space to positivity and the work that I’m doing daily to connect the Excelsior Springs area community even more.

There’s great power in communities that are connected. This next year not only do I plan to better connect the community with what’s going on, but also create opportunity for people to connect outside of technology. Using technology as the tool that pulls us together, to create a community of support to each other, along the way.

If you are interested in this approach to community, you might consider watching the following YouTube videos. Mrinalini Ingram talks about the power of connecting communities in her TED Talk:

The insight that Lisa Cook brings in her TED Talk to those in communities that are living alone was also eye opening:

If you have ideas for ways to connect communities or create authentic opportunities for people to connect with one another for advancement, please leave a message in the comments! To join our community’s Facebook group, click here!