Mead Island

Wichita Urban Native History Tour

Mead Island

Wichita, Kansas 67203, United States

Created By: Wichita History Walk


In late May to early June 1927, a caravan of Wichitas traveled back to Wichita, Kansas, to erect a council lodge on the little island just south of 13th street. According to papers at the time, the visit was coordinated by the Indian Historical Society and the group planned to build a lodge similar to one previously located there.

Because the dam had recently closed, the water around the island rose up and a temporary bridge had to be built to access the island. Locals were surprised that the women of the caravan were doing the majority of the construction work, with Ida Ross and Fannie Stevenson identified as the main architects. The lodge was crafted with cedar poles and grass. They brought the material with them from their own farms on the Wichita reservation in Oklahoma.

Once the first structural poles were raised, the tribe stopped working so that one of their group could offer an invocation. In her own language, 75-year old Suck-ah, who lived in the area as a girl, prayed: “I ask the pity and the blessing of the Almighty on this home. I ask His pity and blessings on the people of Wichita, of the past, of the present, of the future. I ask that all children born here and who later visit this hut may live to be as old as I.” Other Wichita tribal families helping with the project included: Dan Smith, his wife Ida, and their daughter; Roland Stevenson, wife Fannie, and 8-year old Raymond; Walter Lamar, wife Husseah-ah, and their son Claude; and Suck-ah.

While they worked, many white residents of Wichita grew curious and watched the progress. For those who wanted to watch the tribal lodge being erected, the Beacon gave the following instructions, “Go west on Thirteenth Street to the municipal tourist camp and after parking your car, walk south across a temporary road build over the north branch of the stream, leading to the island. The Indian hut is about a block below the Thirteenth Street bridge.” So many people came to gawk at the work being done that the Wichitas felt uncomfortable – especially as people continued to watch them during their mealtimes. The Indian Historical Society arranged for a local troop of boy scouts to help guard the camp from visitors and give the Wichitas a little peace.

While in town, several of the visiting tribal members attended local baseball games. Once the work was complete, the Wichitas slept in the lodge for a night or two, packed up and returned to Oklahoma, leaving the lodge to the local parks department and the people living in the city that shares their tribal name. The lodge stood there for 20 years until 1948, when two teenage boys playing hooky from school started a fire and accidentally set the structure ablaze. This destroyed it completely.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Wichita Urban Native History Tour


Leave a Comment



Download the App

Download the PocketSights Tour Guide mobile app to take this self-guided tour on your GPS-enabled mobile device.

iOS Tour Guide Android Tour Guide



Updates and Corrections

Please send change requests to