On December 23, 1955 the Fredonia Lions Club turned on the lights to the new rotating star on Fredonia's South Mound. This project was made possible by local machinist & blacksmith extraordinaire Loren Ludlum, who is credited with the construction. Two separate lighting circuits allowed the structure to have a lighted rotating star from Thanksgiving to New Years Day and a lighted cross during the Lenten season.
In 2007 the motor allowing rotation was no longer repairable and the prevailing opinion was that the star would need to remain stationary until such a time when the motor could be completely rebuilt. After some 50 years of the relatively maintenance free operation, wear and exposure to the elements of nature caused problems to such an extent that in 2008-2009 much work and expense was invested into maintaining the light installation, but the star has not moved since.
During an inspection by Lions Club members in early 2017 it was discovered that the entire structure has deteriorated to the point that it is not feasible to perform further repairs... including repairing the framework, which has extensive rust as shown in the video below.
With a new design donated by TCI Fabrication & Industrial Services, a red-white-and-blue American flag will be added to the lighted star and cross displays. New LED lighting will be used and framework will be designed to current industrial standards, with 180 degree rotation for the star. Plans are also being designed to include rotating cameras atop the structure so that Fredonians near and far can see their hometown online. There's very little as heartwarming as the view of Fredonia at night.
Now comes the part where we ask for the public's help to "raise the falling star". Our local Lions Club is currently seeking donations for this project. A funding goal is being established but final costs could reach somewhere near $40,000. This project cannot be accomplished without the help of everyone who loves Fredonia. Whether your contribution is $5 or $5,000, every donor gets us closer to saving a local landmark that can be seen from Highway 400 and is such a nostalgic sight in our hometown. Should we exceed our goal the additional donations will stay in the fund for future repairs and upgrades of local parks, making our town even more beautiful.
An account has been set up with the Central Kansas Community Foundation to allow for online payments and funds will be forwarded to the City of Fredonia in order to make donations tax deductible - clicking on the "Donate Today!" button will take you to the donation site. Donations can also be mailed as shown at the bottom of this page.
Fredonia Lions Club turned on the lights to the new rotating star
Last year the rotation function operated
Star was taken down, repainted, and repaired for stationary use
c/o Fredonia Area Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 449
Fredonia, Kansas 66736
Central Kansas Community Foundation
301 N. Main, Suite 200
Newton, Kansas 67114