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 Longest line of coins-world record set by Fort Scott Residents

 FORT SCOTT, KS, USA-- Members of the Fort Scott Youth Activities Team and the community laid 40 miles of coins, breaking the previous world record of 34.57 miles, set in Malaysia.
     Photo: Volunteers raise their arms in celebration after laying what they hope will be the fastest mile of pennies in history. Photo Kansas City Star 
  (enlarge photo)

The record comes on the heels of another record on Thursday night, in which the team laid the fastest mile chain of pennies in a time of 2:23.01. The project began at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Fort Scott's record-breaking score beat the United Kingdom's record by one minute and 14 seconds.  

 Im just as surprised as I was at this point last night, team member Diana Mitchell said Friday. Im pretty high in the air. This is pretty awesome.

   The sea of pennies serves a purpose. The $33,790 (more than 10 tons) raised will serve as starter money to improve the nearby Ellis Park. The park improvements would add batting cages, a miniature golf course, volleyball and basketball courts, and a walking/running trail around the park. The improvements to the park are expected to cost $4 million.

   It is so wonderful to be part on a community that believes in something and comes out to lay coins, Mitchell said. So many people said they just came out to look, but they ended up helping out. Ive been here three days and I cant go home. Its pretty addictive.

  Local philanthropist Danny Ellis, whom Ellis Park is named for, attended a Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce Coffee Thursday morning hosted by YAT members at the penny-laying site. Ellis said he was there to view the penny project for the first time, and that he has been very pleased to work with the YAT committee on a plan to improve the park.

   "Looking out here, I'd say I'm impressed," Ellis said. "This is leadership that has stepped forward, and everybody's pulling on the same end of the rope. This will mean nothing but positive things for the community. It's the best voluntary leadership I've seen in probably 40 years."

  Ellis said he was thrilled when YAT members contacted him about a possible plan to improve and expand Ellis Park, and has supported YAT activities and the penny project since its inception.

   "I've had no objection to improving the park," Ellis said. "This (project) is just the beginning as far as I'm concerned."

   Ellis Park, which Ellis said he donated to the City of Fort Scott and Bourbon County years ago, is between 25 and 30 years old and has been in need of improvements for some time. The park, which first began as only trees and brush, currently contains a baseball field, a soccer field, and various other amenities that are in need of improvements, Ellis said.

  Speaking in support of the penny campaign during the chamber coffee, local resident Jim Scott expressed approval for YAT's efforts. "Nothing happens until we make it happen, and in reality, that is what we're doing," Scott said.

  Saturday, July 12, 2008


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