We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming of creepy museums and attractions in the month of October to bring you a museum dedicated to a film star, who was born on this day in 1895:
In the small town of Piqua (pronounced Pick-way), Kansas is a small one-room museum dedicated to American actor, vaudevillian, comedian, filmmaker, stunt performer, writer, and silent film star Buster Keaton. There are movie posters, photographs and copies of his movies, which visitors can play. And if you’re into face casts, they have one. But there is no sign for the museum as it is located inside the town’s water district office. But there is a plaque located nearby where his birthplace once stood. It says:
“In October of 1895, Myra and Joseph Keaton were touring with Harry Houdini in a traveling vaudeville show. The troupe stopped in Piqua [Kansas] for a performance. While in Piqua, Mrs. Keaton gave birth to a son, Frank Joseph Keaton. The troupe eventually moved on, and the Keatons’ son became a famous comedy actor and silent screen star, known as Buster Keaton. Mr. Keaton returned to Piqua only once in his lifetime. Even though he was never a resident of Piqua, we are very proud to claim a small part in this great actor’s life!”
Well, they certainly are, especially when you consider the fact he didn’t even grow up or live here. But his wife and some relatives have visited the place. Back in 1992, the nearby community of Iola started an annual event devoted to Keaton, and people started to donate memorabilia. The collection eventually ended up in the Piqua water department because the residents could not justify supporting a separate museum. In fact, hardly anyone visits the Buster Keaton Museum, (even their annual celebration was cancelled last month) so if you have plans to visit the place, or are just driving nearby, remember…it’s appointment only.