Many young boys dream of becoming real-life cowboys – living off the land, wearing cowboy hats and riding horses.
When ITC began work on its KETA line in Kansas, ITC Great Plains Area Manager Kim Goodnight attended a Smith County Chamber of Commerce banquet. At this meeting, Kim was approached by Mr. El Dean Holthus from the Peoples Heartland Foundation. The Peoples Heartland Foundation is a 501c3 charity that operates and manages the American classic Home on the Range site, which would later become the impetus behind the state song, an internationally recognized tune. Since then, ITC has been a proud corporate supporter of the restoration of the Home on the Range cabin.
The cabin is an important part of state history and to preserve the building where the state song was composed all those years ago and combine that with a company like ITC Great Plains, which was founded and headquartered in the state of Kansas, is a perfect combination,” said Brett Leopold, president, ITC Great Plains.
“We have generations that will keep after the foundation to make sure this Home on the Range survives for all the people of the world,” said Holthus.
Dr. Brewster M. Higley made his cowboy dreams come true when he gave up his medical career and claimed a plot of land in Kansas in 1871. Little did he know, his land – and the cabin he built there – would become classic Americana.
Upon moving to Kansas, Dr. Higley was amazed by the natural beauty surrounding him and penned a poem titled, “The Western Home.” The Smith County Pioneer published it under the title, “Oh, Give Me a Home Where the Buffalo Roam” and it was later set to music to become the famous folk song that we all know today, and the Kansas state song.