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Origins of the Foghorn Funston

Perhaps General Frederick Funston had such striking adventures and notable accomplishments because he had to endure living in the shadow of his towering 6’4” father, a civil war soldier, Congressman & Senator Edward Funston. Edward was not only large in stature but in charisma and political debate. The library of the Funston home in the tiny town of Iola, Kansas, was such a national hotbed of political discussion and discourse by political and military figures visiting from around the country that the trains arriving at the local station had devised a special whistle to alert the Funstons that a visitor was on his/her way.


He was elected and served in the Kansas House of Representatives from 1873 through 1875 and was made Speaker in 1875.  In 1880, he was elected to the State Senate for four years and was made President Pro Tempore of that body. During his tenure as Congressman, Senator, and the Kansas Speaker of the House, Funston would become known as "Foghorn Funston, a Farmer's Friend." The appropriate title originated from Funston’s Congressional campaign.

Congressman & Senator Edward Funston, Born, September 16, 1836, New Carlisle, Ohio  Died:September 10, 1911, Iola, Kansas




(Below copy from Allen County Historic Society)

Ideally, the Funston home would have been left in its rural setting four miles north of Iola.  However, the planned move of U.S. Highway 169 from in front of the home to east of Iola in the following years, would have left the home somewhat isolated on a country road.  Additionally, it was not practical for the Society to operate the home as a museum four miles out of town.  Thus, the Society saw as its only option the move of the home into Iola. 

After two other Iola sites were considered as a new location, the Society selected in 1993 the vacant tract on South Washington Avenue across from the courthouse square. This tract had been vacant since a fire in 1990, which resulted in the razing of five business buildings. Most of this tract was donated by the respective owners for the Funston project, and the funding of the project bas been totally by private donations of money and services except for a $24,500 grant from lottery funds as a part of the Economic Development Initiative Fund of the State of Kansas. By July of 1994, approximately $124,000 had been raised for the moving and restoration of the Funston home and two outbuildings. 

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