Small Towns on the Edge

This summer, KHC features daily posts about the speakers and topics in the Humanities catalog. Today’s featured presentation is “Film and Discussion: Florence, Kansas” by Steve Lerner.

historic photo of railway depot in Florence

Florence’s Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway depot, early 1900s. Image courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society.

Like many rural communities today, the story of Florence, Kansas, is one of loss and resilience in the face of a changing economic landscape. Filmmaker Steve Lerner was captivated by the people he found there and their sense of pride and commitment to their community. “’Florence, Kansas’ explores the history, challenges, and future of one small Kansas town in the voices of those who live there,” says Lerner of his short film of interviews.

“Their experience will resonate with many others in small towns all across rural America today.”

Steve’s Speakers Bureau presentation begins with a film screening of “Florence, Kansas,” followed by a discussion that explores the rich history and challenges of Kansas small towns and their dreams for the future.

Steve Lerner

Steve Lerner

Steve Lerner is a psychologist, songwriter, and filmmaker. He founded and directed Menninger Video Productions, which produced many teaching films for mental health professionals. He also directed a number of documentaries and several short dramatic films as well. “Florence, Kansas” was produced by the Florence Historical Society and Lerner.

You can bring Steve Lerner’s “Film & Discussion: Florence, Kansas” or one of the other presentations in the Humanities catalog to your community for FREE with a Resource Center Support Grant. It’s quick and easy! Visit the Speakers Bureau page to get started or contact Leslie Von Holten, director of programs, at leslie(at) for more information.