Vandals damage important piece of Shawnee history, leaving community livid

SHAWNEE, Kan. -- Thieves stole part of a historic monument in Johnson County, and vandalized and important piece of Shawnee history.

“This is the historical marker, denoting where the star blacksmith shop was historically. It was a blacksmith shop we think was built in the late 1850’s, early 18 50’s,” said Shawnee Town Museum Director Charlie Pautler during an interview with FOX 4 on Friday afternoon.

The Blacksmith who owned that shop was Jeremiah King. Historians say his contributions helped shape this city and county into what it is today.

“Shawnee was founded in the mid-1850’s so a village blacksmith caught everybody coming through town that needed something,” said Pautler.

“Their small contribution helped build Shawnee and Johnson County so it’s really important observe these small markers and contributions,” he explained.

Shawnee Police say sometime this week a 150-poundanvil was stolen from a historic marker that sits at 1630 Nieman Road. During the process of removing the anvil thieves damaged an important piece of the monument.

“I came out of my dental office here Wednesday evening, saw some yellow trash behind the monument so I walked over and to my horror I saw it was a sledge hammer, rocks were blown over,” said Dr. Alan Martin.

Martin owns a dental practice on the same land that the monument has sat for decades. He appreciates the significance of this monument because he knows the rich historical signifigance of the land it sits on and of Jeremiah King’s contributions to Shawnee.

“Somebody maliciously damaged this historical marker so they could sell it for scrap. I’ve been told antique value is probably six to eight hundred dollars, scrap value is probably minimal,” said Martin.

Thankfully, the limestone star below is still intact. Historians say it is an original cornerstone from Jeremiah King’s Blacksmith shop. Still many want the artifact to be returned so the monument can be rebuilt.

“It’s the public defacing of a historic marker that’s just really sad because that shows that these vandals and robbers don’t place any value in where we came from as a people and our local people,” said Pautler.

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to contact the Shawnee Police Deparment.