This year’s Symphony in the Flint Hills Signature Event will return to the picturesque surroundings of North Lakeview Pasture, which was the site of the 2008 annual event. Located in Morris County, the pasture has been an important part of Symphony in the Flint Hills Board Chair Julie Hower’s family since her grandfather, Hale White, purchased the land in 1942. Used today for double-stock cattle grazing, the land is admired for its scenic views, however, none of which actually includes any glimpses of a lake. In a recent interview, Julie gave her theory on the land’s unique name and why she’s excited to once again play host to the Signature Event.
How did the land become known as North Lakeview Pasture?
The land was originally owned by Hattie Lake and in this part of the Flint Hills we name pastures after former owners. We have three lakes in Morris County, but you can’t see any of them from this pasture. I think the land was probably originally called the Lake Pasture but since my grandmother, Carlene, loved the view, they started calling it the Lakeview Pasture. Now it’s called the North Lakeview Pasture because there is another pasture across Four Mile Road we call the South Lakeview.
How would you describe the pasture?
It’s a typical Flint Hills pasture—open with terrific native grass. To the west of the Signature Event site, there are two ponds where my granddad liked to take my brother Steve and me fishing. Ask one of us about the incident with the snake and the fish!
What do you love most about the Flint Hills?
I have to say the open spaces—the view and that feeling of just being out on the prairie. It has this calming effect. There’s just something about getting out here in the pasture and taking a breath.
What makes this pasture ideal for this year’s Signature Event?
There’s the perfect bowl area for this event. It’s right on the highway so there’s easy access to the site. It’s two miles south of Council Grove. We love bringing this event to Morris County because of the boost to the local economy and this year happens to be the 200th anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail.
Why is your family looking forward to being this year’s host?
My family and I like to introduce people to the Flint Hills and let them experience and appreciate this beauty we see every day. I can remember at the 2008 Signature Event at the same location, around the time of the sunset and singing “Home on the Range,” the guy beside me said, “Do you appreciate this?” I thought, “Probably not as much as I should.” We just see it every day and take it for granted. I’ve decided I just want to give anyone that would like an opportunity to learn about this area to do so.
What inspired you to serve on the Symphony in the Flint Hills board of directors?
My mom, Marty White, was on the board in the earlier years of the event and I think it’s important for people to learn about the Flint Hills and this ecosystem and why it’s an important part of what we do in Kansas.
What would you tell someone who has never been to the Signature Event?
This isn’t your typical symphony! Don’t come dressed to the nines, be ready for a day on the prairie with bug spray, sunscreen and this year—hand sanitizer. Approach the day with an open mind and learn all you can through the education tents or just talking with people. Enjoy your day in the Flint Hills!