One man’s treasure
The chest came to Kansas by careful design. Bernhard Warkentin, the son of a Mennonite miller who is credited with setting up Ukraine’s prosperous wheat industry, came to the United States in 1871 to scout
possible sites to do the same in America.
Along with several of his fellow Mennonites, he travelled for two years by both horse and train covering a distance of over 10,000 miles in places like Canada, the Dakotas and Minnesota, looking for the ideal terrain.
In Kansas, he found what he was looking for: “The climate here is similar to that of the steppes in Ukraine,” says Fern Bartel, director of the Mennonite Heritage and Agricultural Museum in Goessel, Kansas. “Long winters.
Dry in the summer, rainy in the fall and spring.”