The soul and spirit of Amelia Earhart flows through Atchison.
It’s all around, from her grandparents’ home where she grew up to the Forest of Friendship to the various statues of Amelia located around town, you’d be hard pressed to find a location where Amelia doesn’t reside.
One of Atchison’s newest businesses, The Sunflower, 115 N. 5th St., can now be added to that list thanks to local resident Marianne Miller, and iconic Amelia Earhart researcher Michele Cervone.
Donating an original Amelia Earhart photograph taken by her personal photographer Albert Bresnik, The Sunflower will now have a piece of Earhart history that few others in the world have. Having visited the venue several times since its opening in December, Miller wanted to make sure that Amelia’s presence was felt by every customer that walked through its doors.
By doing so, she’s making sure that the legacy of her great friend Michele is felt as well.
“This photo of (Amelia) is one of many in the collection of Michele Cervone; Michele was an (Earhart) historian and she was also my friend,” she said. “I feel that Michele would have loved for (owner) Katie (Wagner) and The Sunflower to have such a wonderful piece of history in her new business adventure.
Michele loved to see the joy in others as they took part in Amelia’s adventurous spirit. She was well known for her love for Amelia," Miller said.
“She donated many pieces from her personal collection to the Birthplace Museum upon her passing in July of 2016,” Marianne says.
Wagner expressed her thoughts to me via social media regarding her personal connection to Amelia’s legacy and on receiving the donation.
“I’ve always admired Amelia Earhart for her sense of adventure,” she said. “She has been quoted as saying adventure is worthwhile in itself. This rings true in my personal and professional endeavors. I was quite honored to have received the Bresnik photograph and I will cherish it and everything the photo stands for.”
Speaking on his uncle’s connection to Amelia Earhart, John Bresnik of San Diego, California, told us a memory about his uncle Albert’s photographs of his famous client that have become something of legend in Earhart lore.
“In 1987 Uncle Al took his 4x5 negatives of Amelia Earhart out of storage and made some prints,” Bresnik said. “My Dad had a sign shop in West L.A. and Al used to visit quite often. One time he came back to the production area where I was working and gave me five prints of Amelia that he had made. That was one of my lucky days — how often do you get photos of Amelia Earhart from the photographer himself?”
My wife, Vanessa, and I had the pleasure of visiting The Sunflower for the first time last week to watch as Miller made the donation and to take in the ambiance of Atchison’s newest hangout.
The Sunflower is a combination of old rustic Midwest and new edge tech, offering its patrons a chance to enjoy a drink while they take advantage of the free Wi-Fi and charging stations for their mobile devices. A nice touch is the addition of study rooms for local students to gather and work on projects together.
Being involved in the Chasing Earhart documentary project as we are, we immediately searched for anything Amelia related in the venue, spotting the Earhart inspired drink choices on the menu.
I couldn’t help but be tempted to try “Amelia’s Final Flight,” a concoction of 360 Apple & Lemon Vodka, Cranapple and Sprite while my wife opted for “George’s Mint Julep,” a combination of George Remus Bourbon, water with Mulled Mint and Powdered Sugar.
Both drinks are great for a warm spring day and carry high recommends from the Chasing Earhart team. From now on, when patrons visit The Sunflower, they’ll have a little bit of Amelia Earhart’s legacy to ponder, thanks to a generous resident and lifelong Amelia Earhart researcher.