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Guide to the Ghost Towns of

KANSAS

“The Sunflower State

 

 

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Western & Eastern Treasures

Ghost Town USA Column Index for Kansas

Kansas (the Sunflower State) is famous for wheat, corn, and other agricultural products.  Numerous small towns dot the prairie landscape that evokes the popular line from America the Beautiful ... “For amber waves of grain.” It is here that small town America was born and nurtured.  It was here that Dorothy and Toto began their famous flight of fancy.

           

In addition to farming and "The Wizard of Oz", Kansas is also the land of Ghost Towns.   Like many other states outside the American West and its millions of acres of dry desert, Kansas' ghost towns are generally forgotten remnants of the past, many hidden under plowed fields of grain.  Then there are the hundreds of rapidly fading agricultural communities that still stand out in the sea of grass that marks the American Heartland.  Many of these small towns began their slide toward oblivion after WW II, many completely dying with their boots still on.  The old communities that make up “Small-Town-USA,” have just about gone the way of the Edsel, BFO metal detectors, or the Dodo bird - pfft!

           

Kansas was a major crossroads state with cattle trails, emigrant routes, and railroads crisscrossing the state.  Towns were created by land booms rippling across the state as various sections of prairie were opened up for settlement.  Many other towns were trailside "watering holes" that catered to the baser instincts of the pioneering cattlemen, and died out when the cattle trail moved or was abandoned.  Others were railroad boomtowns that fell on hard times when the tracks were pushed onward and outward.  Many of the towns were agricultural communities that have died in the past half-century due to the mechanization of farming, and better transportation methods, that allow people to live in a nearby large town and “commute” to their farms, eliminating the need for many small towns, and their supporting stores and businesses.

           

The Kansas Historical Society has over 6000 “Dead Towns” in their files and online database online database.  Author/historian Daniel Fitzgerald, has written a series of six books on about 600 of these ghost towns.  Any way you look at it – Kansas has a lot of ghost towns! 

 

Memories of these former boomtowns still float like dust in the wind over the Kansas prairie.  The winds of time that created these ghosts reaches into America's Heartland, and those gentle zephyrs lift those memories and deposit them in front of you.  Reach out and grab them!  To get you started on your own exploration of the Sunflower State, the 33 historical vignettes below give details of the lives of a few of these former towns.

 

Check out our HELP! Page if you can add any info to some KANSAS locations folks are looking for.  When they are found, I’ll post on this page.  

 

Where photos are indicated thusly, please use your browser’s “BACK” button to return to this or the individual vignette pages.  More photos will be added over time, and the vignette formatting will also slowly change to incorporate the photos on the page, rather than as a link.

 

THE GHOSTS

 

ABBYVILLE

Reno Co.

This incorporated 3rd Class city is located in the center of the county about 0.3 miles west of SH 14 and a mile south of US 50, along the BNSF Railroad about 16 AIR miles southwest of Hutchinson.  The post office (67510) was originally established December 08, 1873 according to the USPS.  According to the KSHS, that post office was the SALT CREEK Post Office, and it relocated to the new town of ABBYVILLE on June 01, 1886.  It was still active in December 2015.

 

In 1898, it was listed as a post village and station on the ATSF Railroad. 

 

300 people were listed in the 1903-04 Polk Gazetteer, which also listed the following businesses: bank (State Bank of Abbyville, JH McSherry Pres., Frank S. Hinman, Cashier), barber shop with two barbers (Scott & Siler), two blacksmiths (GW Greenwell, I Kitzmiller), two carpenters, two churches (Methodist-Episcopal and United Brethren/ Dunkard) & a Baptist Pastor, drug/book/stationary store (Flora Oliverson), express office (Wells, Fargo & Co.), three general stores (Myers & Co., Rediger & Co., Charles Rumford), grain company (Abbyville Grain Co.), two hardware/furniture stores (DJ Fair & Co., Fehr Brothers Hardware Co.), hotel (Central Hotel, Robt. Baggs, prop. He also served as the JP), Justice of the Peace (Robert Baggs), lawyer (T Hinman), livery (Copenhaver & Sons), livestock (Hereford cattle) breeder/dealer (Charles Fesler), meat market (CT Copenhaver), music teacher (Mrs. Lee), notary (LW Eaton), physician (CW Evans), post office (Flora Oliverson, PM – maybe in her store?), railroad station (FA Coffman agent), restaurant (DJ Davis & Sons), telegraph office (Western Union, operated by Mr. Coffman in conjuction with the RR station) and an undertaker (Fehr & Sons Hardware). It also had a daily stage to Pekin, six miles away.

 

In 1912, the town was listed as a station on the ATSF Railroad, had a bank, churches “of the leading Protestant denominations,” express office, money order post office, shipping facilities, stores and telephone/telegraph service.  It was named after Abby McLean, the first baby born in the town.

 

A large concrete silo complex with a capacity of 1,762,000 bushels of grain and owned by the Farmers Co-op of Abbyville marks the town.  The co-op was established September 17, 1945 (http://www.abbyvillecoop.com/) as the Farmers Cooperative Grain Company and is still active. The coop also operates a small gasoline station/tire sales outlet. The city has no school and is served part-time by a Clerk/Treasurer, Mayor and five council members.  City Hall is open M-F, 10-2. (http://www.renogov.org/DocumentCenter/View/70)

 

This is our CURRENT Ghost Town of the Month

Population figures:

·        1900 – 300, 1910 – 300, 1920 - , 1930 – 147, 1940 - 138, 1950 - 99, 1960 - 118, 1970 - 143, 1980 - 123, 1990 – 140

·        2000 – 128, 2010 – 87

 

Location:

·        S½ Sec 9, N½ Sec 16, T24S, R8W, 6PM, Westminster Twp

·        Latitude: 37.9708468 / 37° 58' 15" N

·        Longitude: -98.2042299 / 98° 12' 15" W

ALBANY

Nemaha Co.

ALBANY is located about 2.5 miles north of Sabetha, a half mile west of the county line/US 75, and at the junction of X4 Road (6th Street)/204th Road.  Sabetha (2010 pop – 2571) -  is a mile west of US 75, seven miles south of the state line, 65 miles north of Topeka.  The aerial photo on Gnis shows the Albany Historical Museum located on the northwest corner of the junction.  There are a few scattered farms around the area.  The museum is located in the old two-story, rock, Albany School.  The four acre cemetery is located a half mile to the north, on 208th Road, and about 0.2 miles west of the junction with X4 Road. 

 

This agricultural town was established in the spring of 1857 by a small group of settlers from Albany, New York.  In the fall, some 46 more folks arrived, taking up land claims.  On August 05, 1858, a post office opened with John P. Shumway as the first postmaster.  He was followed by W.B. Slosson and Mrs. C.B. Stinson.  A proper town site was then laid out in 1859.  A clapboard hotel was built by Edwin Miller, followed by a wood-frame home and school building quickly followed, as did several other houses.  A two-story store was built By Moses Stevens in 1860, and several wings were added.  They served as shops and apartments. The store itself served as a community center, and even church services were often held inside, as well as in the homes and yards of some of the local farmers.  A second school building was built in 1860 and the lower floor was built of limestone by the school district.  The upper floor was finished by the Congregational Society and used for church services.

 

Albany became a thriving trade center, and flourished through the Civil War, at which time it was a “station” on the Underground Railroad.  Some of the businesses included a blacksmith, boarding house, creamery, hotel, livery stable, millinery (women’s hats) store, post office, sawmill, school and the general store.  The cemetery was established around 1862 and a large limestone school was built in 1867.  School was held on the first floor, while the second floor served as a high school during the week and church services on Sundays.

 

Albany boomed until 1870 when railroad surveyors forsook the site and went for the easier grades near Sabetha, running the line through that town.   Once the railroad bypassed Albany, the Albany Store building was physically moved south to Sabetha and Albany quickly faded, although the post office remained open until July 17, 1882, at which time the town was nothing more than “a little cluster of dwelling houses.” 

 

The school remained active until 1962, and in 1965, the property was purchased by the museum foundation, and restoration was begun.  Other significant buildings in the area were relocated to the site and now there are a total of 17 buildings on site.  Two large buildings house automobile and tractor collections, and there are also several train cars and a track.  The Albany School and Waggner (sic) House are the only ones actually native to the location.  The museum complex is the site for the annual fundraiser – Old Albany Days, which takes place generally the weekend after labor day, in September.

 

Population figures:

·        1980 -> N/L

 

LOCATION:

·        SE¼ of the NW¼ Sec 25, T1S, R14E, 6PM (6th Prime Meridian & 40° Base Line), Berwick Twp.

·        Latitude: 39.9369449 / 39° 56' 13" N

·        Longitude: -95.7980448 / 95° 47' 53" W

 

SOURCES: 

·        W2; W4a-nm14; W7a, b; W8a; W9; W20a; W20b

AMY

 

 

Lane Co.

AMY is a class D, near ghost town located along the Burlington Northern & Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad line, 4.5 miles east of the Scott/Lane County line, 7.3 miles west of Dighton (2010 pop - 1038) and straddling SH 96, midway between CR 250/Dodge Road (west) and Eagle Road (east).

It was established as an Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad (ATSF) switch station named ELLEN in 1887, but no development occurred until 1905.  Between 1906 and 1911 it was prosperous, but faded after that.  Today, it is a massive bank of grain elevators overlooking a tiny, rural community.

 

For more details, see our AMY page.

APPLETON

Clark Co.

This class A, 1880s boomtown site is located a mile southeast of Minneola (2010 pop - 745), which is at the junction of US 54 and 283, 21 miles south of Dodge City. 

 

Nine months after it was founded by E. N. Hall, A. R. Neely, L. J. Newkirk, Charles Limbocker, J. S. Shearer, Charles Eckley, “and others” in late 1884/early 1885, APPLETON had a bank (Appleton State Bank – failed in a couple years), barbershop, two blacksmiths, church with “Sabbath” school (Methodist-Episcopal founded Dec 1886), six grocery/feed stores, two hotels, land & loan office, two meat markets, a weekly newspaper (the Appleton Era – January 07, 1886 – July 21, 1887), post office (July 22, 1885 - April 23, 1888) and a restaurant.  In 1885, it was one of the county’s designated voting precincts. 

 

When the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific (CRI&P) Railroad came through, it missed the town by a mile.  A station named Minneola was established a mile northwest of Appleton, and in July 1887, they extended an offer to the folks in Appleton to relocate the town and their homes to the railroad.  The church continued to hold services in the schoolhouse until the winter of 1887, when it moved to Minneola.  Today Minneola has over 700 people, and Appleton is a barren site.

 

A mile southeast of Minneola, places Appleton at or near the southeast corner of Section 13, which would place it on the west side of CR 7 and north of the section line. Source 9a says it was in the SE¼ of Section 13, and that quarter section is entirely plowed over farmland with no structures or foundation outlines visible.  

 

The 20-acre Appleton Township (Minneola) Cemetery is located about two miles further south, about three miles south of Minneola and two miles south of Appleton’s site.

 

Population figures:

·        1890 -> 2010 - 0

 

LOCATION: APPROX (SE Corner of Section)

·        SE¼ Sec 13, T30S, R25W, 6PM, Appleton Twp.

·        Latitude: 37.4289219 / 37° 25' 44" N

·        Longitude: -99.9971592 / 99° 59' 50" W

 

  Cemetery

·        SWC(corner) of the SE¼ Sec 25, T30S, R25W, 6PM, Appleton Twp.

·        Latitude: 37.4006210 / 37° 24' 02" N

·        Longitude: -100.0051500 / 100° 00' 19" W

 

SOURCES: 

·        52a (pgs 22, 24, 48-49); 52b (pgs 46-47, 48, 74, 75); UND (KS State Historical Soc info from Englewood research – 1982); W2; W3; W7a, b, c, d (Clark Co.), e;

BURDICK

 

 

Morris Co.

Burdick is located on the north side of the former BNSF Railroad, south of BB Ave, and between S 2700 and S 2800 Rd., 6.5 miles east of Lost Springs (Marion Co.), 4.5 miles east and 2.7 miles north of the county line, in the southwestern corner of the county 47 AIR miles southeast of today’s Salina. 

 

Around 1880, the Swedish farming town of LINSDALE was established, and in 1887, the ATSF Railroad came through and the town was renamed Burdick.  The post office opened on August 29 of that year with Clyde L. Reed as the first postmaster.  Since the area was good cattle grazing land, cattle were brought in and Burdick quickly became an important cattle grazing and shipping center, with cattle being brought in from as far away as Texas to be fattened on the rich grass, then shipped to market from here.  A store opened in 1889, and the boom was on.  More businesses arrived, as did people, and this now-class D community quickly became a wide-open cow town, with all the amenities needed to entertain cowboys, including the first reported rodeo in Kansas. Some of the businesses that grew and died included: a dentist office, doctor office, drug store, two general stores, harness store, hat shop, millinery store and several restaurants.

 

In 1912, Burdick was an active railroad shipping center with the following businesses still active: a bank, several churches, newspaper (Burdick Bulletin – December 15, 1909 – December 15, 1910), post office, telegraph/express office and several stores.  Through the 1920s it was still a vibrant little town, but has declined slowly since the 1930s.  Until 1923, it was a popular site for rodeos and fairs.  The 1950s were especially telling as in 1956, the post office relocated into the former brick bank building; the nearby Diamond Springs/Burdick high school is still standing.  It was built in 1921 and closed in 1957.  The grade school followed, closing in the 1960s, while the railroad depot closed and was torn down in 1968.  The town has generally continued to decline, but even so, the Burdick Meat Locker and the Burdick Oil Company along with the post office (66838) are still open (February 2015), and the town hosts an annual Labor Day weekend festival, which had been reactivated starting in 1973, after a 50 year hiatus.

 

The building housing the current Burdick Meat Locker has seen numerous other businesses prior, including its original inhabitant, Ed Persson’s Mercantile.  It has also been home to a barber shop, harness shop, among others.  The Burdick Oil Company gas station and repair garage was built in 1913 as Emil Nelson’s automobile garage and sits right around the corner from the brick post office building that once housed Burdick’s bank. The grain elevators still stand, on the west side of Main Street is a small cluster of four metal silos, while on the east side of the street, the wooden structure is devoid of paint, but the adjacent brick silo is still solid.  The white, clapboard, Burdick United Methodist Church is also still active and sits just south of the former site of the railroad tracks.  There are also about a dozen other unoccupied buildings along the streets of town.

 

Several period photos of Burdick can be seen on the Wichita State University Library website.

 

Population figures:

·        1910 – 225, 1920 – 200, 1930 -  N/L, 1980 - 150, 1990 - 70, 2000 - 75, 2004 – 60 (est), 2010 – unk (206 in entire township)

 

LOCATION:

·        N-Ctr (center) Sec 23, T17S, R5E, 6PM, Twp 8

·        Latitude: 38.5633104 / 38° 33' 48" N

·        Longitude: -96.8467342 / 96° 50' 48" W

 

SOURCES: 

·        63 (86, 95, 02 – K/18); 69(E/8); W1a; W2; W3; W5a (pg 253); W7a, b, c; W9; W27

BUSHONG

 

 

Lyon Co.

Located on the northeast side of the junction of Road F/ former bed of the Missouri Pacific Railroad (MoPac), 1.1 miles south of US 56, 5.2 miles east of the county line, five miles west of Allen (2010 pop - 177) and 17 AIR miles north-northwest of Emporia, in the northwestern part of the county.

 

When the Mo-Pac Railroad came through the area in 1886 it established a station here called WEEKS, honoring the farmer who donated the land for the station.  However, after the 1886 baseball World Series, Weeks was renamed BUSHONG for the famous catcher of the St. Louis Browns baseball team, Albert John (Doc) Bushong.  The railroad named several of its stations in Kansas after players of that team.  Bushong is the sole survivor.

 

When the post office was established on January 31, 1887, Joseph Fulls was the first postmaster in this little agricultural town.  On August 06, 1899, the Bushong Bulletin newspaper came out, but only lasted for a single issue.  In 1912, some of the businesses included: bank, several general stores, hotel, money order post office, public school, railroad station, telegraph and express offices and also had telephone service.  Later in the decade, Main Street was lined with one and two-story rock buildings, including a bank, hotel and the garage (built in 1915).  There were quite a few others, but they were not identifiable in the old photos.  In the 1920s, a major fire burned the community hall, a garage and a restaurant.  That large gap was never rebuilt.

 

In 1927 Bushong incorporated as a City of the 3rd Class (SEE note below the vignette section), and Main Street was lined with businesses such as: a blacksmith, an elevator, garage, gas station, grocery store, hardware store, a combination grocery/hardware store and the post office. A couple years later, in 1929, the Emporia Gazette Print had an article about Bushong, giving it a population of 150 and having two-room grade school and a four-room “rural” high school.  It also had a Methodist Church with an active Sunday School.  It appears to have peaked around 1930, then began to fade.  In the 1940s it was still had the bank, elevator, a couple grocery stores, a post office, railroad station and maintenance shop, a shoe repair shop.  The post office was discontinued on July 02, 1976.

 

In the 2010 Census, 12 of the 16 housing units in this tiny, still-incorporated city were occupied.  In January 2015, the Directory of Kansas Public Officials (W24) listed a mayor, four council members, a city clerk and a city treasurer.  The town consists of a tall cylindrical water tower; a park; concrete sidewalks that face empty lots; a loose cluster of occupied and abandoned homes and mobile homes; the two-story, abandoned, rock and brick high school on 4th Street; the white, clapboard Bushong Church at 4th and Main; the roofless rock Bushong State Bank at the northwest corner of Main and 3rd (with the brick vault in the rear); the brick, former post office/city building cater-corner on the southeast of Main/3rd; and just south of that, the tin-roofed, rock Bushong Garage (built for E. A. Pykiet in 1915). 

 

In a 2012 blog entry, the writer indicates that the post office building and garage are boarded up and secure, and the town looks more abandoned than occupied.

 

At the height of the Cold War, Bushong was Site 5 of a circle of ICBM Atlas E missile complexes surrounding Topeka and administered by the 548th Strategic Missile Squadron, based at Forbes Air Force Base (Now Forbes Field/Topeka Regional Airport). It is located ON PRIVATE PROPERTY on the west side of Road D, about 1.5 miles north of the intersection of US 56/Road D, which is 3.4 miles northwest of Bushong.  Trespassing is NOT permitted.  Please view the site from the public right-of-way (road shoulder.)  According to techbastard.com construction began in June 1959 and was completed a year later.  The missiles arrived in January 1961, and were all in place by October.  The squadron was deactivated on March 25, 1965.

 

Population figures:

·        1910 – 250, 1927 – 150+, 1930 – 193, 1970 – 39, 1980 - 62, 1990 - 57, 2000 - 55, 2010 - 34

 

LOCATION: Town

·        N½ of the SW¼ Sec 24, T16S, R10E, 6PM, Agnes CityTwp

·        Latitude: 38.6430637 / 38° 38' 35" N

·        Longitude: -96.2572195 / 96° 15' 26" W

 

LOCATION: Missile Complex

·        SWC of the NE¼ of the SE¼ Sec 4, T16S, R10E, 6PM, Agnes CityTwp

·        Latitude: 38.6866349 / 38° 41' 12" N

·        Longitude: -96.3022503 / 96° 18' 08" W

 

SOURCES:

·        25 (pgs 96-98); 63 (86, 95, 02 – K/20); 69 (D/9); W2, W5a (pg 260); W7a, b, c; W9; W16a; W17a; W18; W24

CAMP POND CREEK
POND CREEK STAGE STATION

Wallace Co.

SEE Fort Wallace - below

CLARK CITY

Clark Co.

This class A 1880s boomtown was located on the trail between Fort Dodge and Fort Supply, 1.5 miles north of Ashland. The exact location is not determined.  When it was active it was part of Ford County.

 

Clark City was born in June 1884, the first town established in present Clark County (which was official on May 05, 1885). Clark City was established with the intent of obtaining the county seat when Clark County was to be formed from Ford County.  It had many businesses, including a church (with Sabbath School established in the fall of 1884), drug store (Dr. Davis), flour & feed (Robinson & Turner), grocery & feed store (W. D. Baker prop.), land office (Church & Myers), newspaper (Clark County Clipper – 1st issue Sept 18, 1884), two physician/surgeons, post office (July 14, 1884 > June 26, 1885 with W. D. Baker as the postmaster), real estate office & shoe store (Robert C. Marquis) and three restaurants (Harry Aylesworth prop, Charles Ward prop., and the Star Restaurant – J. M. Beckett prop).  A wide-open saloon operated near the town and was the cause of a lot of problems in both Clark City and nearby Ashland.

 

In October 1884, Ashland was established and the developer offered free lots to residents of Clark City and help in relocating their homes to Ashland.  As a result, Ashland quickly eclipsed Clark City and obtained the county seat.  By mid-January 1885, Clark City was gone and Ashland had over 2000 residents.  Baker moved his 18 x 30, wood-frame store/post office to Ashland and became Ashland’s first postmaster.

 

Today it is unmarked farmland.

 

Population figures:

·        1890 -> 2010 - 0

 

LOCATION: APPROX (Center of the half-section)

·        E-Ctr of the N½ Sec 35, T32S, R23W, 6PM, Center Twp.

·        Latitude: 37.2183019 / 37° 13’ 06” N

·        Longitude: -99.7886517 / 99° 47’ 19” W

 

SOURCES: 

·        52a (pgs 48, 51, 56, 58); 52b (pgs 48, 77, ); 52c (pgs 33, 53); W2 (Not listed, but coordinates obtained through it); W5a (pg 358);

W7a, d (Clark Co.), e;

DONIPHAN

Doniphan Co.

This class D, rural community is located along the Missouri River in the southeast corner of the county, in the far northeast corner of the state, six AIR miles northeast of Atchison (Atchison Co.), and 12.7 AIR miles southwest of St. Joseph, Missouri. 

 

The Doniphan Land Company was organized in November 1854, and in 1855 they surveyed the town site and sold lots at the site of an old trading post operated by Joseph Utt the couple years prior.  Development included homes, Presbyterian church (1856-1881), St. John the Baptist Catholic Church (1857 – 1864 when it burned), Kansas Valley Bank of Leavenworth (built 1857), a post office (March 03, 1855 > August 15, 1943), newspaper (Kansas Constitutionalist), a sawmill (Samuel Collins, summer 1855-1860), a second sawmill (James F. Forman, April 1857- burned in summer of 1858, rebuilt and burned again 1861),  flour mill (J. W. Forman, 1856/57 – burned in 1869), the Doniphan House (hotel, built by Forman brothers, burned in 1868), The 40-room St. Charles Hotel (built in 1857 – burned in 1860), Foreman Brothers’ General Store, Allen B. Lyon’s general store and Bowdell & Drury’s Drug Store.  A doctor and a lawyer also set up offices as did multiple newspapers. A blacksmith, lawyers and wagon maker also set up shop.  In 1856 a “subscription” school opened, and in 1857 the government land office was established, but relocated a couple years later.  The population in 1857 was said to have reached 2000.

 

The timeline for the town’s briefly published, weekly newspapers is: Constitutionalist (January 01 – October 14, 1857), the Crusader of Freedom (January 30 – March 06 1857), Doniphan Post (Fall 1860 - 1861), The Doniphan Democrat (May 1871 - early 1872), The Doniphan County Weekly News  (March 17 – August 25, 1882) and the Bible Investigator (January through September 1882).

 

In 1864, the First Methodist-Episcopal Church was built with Reverend Houts as the first pastor.  Later that year the wooden frame Catholic Church burned, but was replaced in 1867 by a 26 x 50 brick edifice with a bell tower and stained glass windows.

 

A 40,000 bushel elevator, the largest in the state at that time, was built in 1867 and operated by Adam Brenner.  It burned in 1872.

 

On February 11, 1869, the town incorporated, and in 1873 reincorporated as a City of the 3rd Class.  In that same year the first permanent public school building was erected for a cost of $8000 by James F. Forman.  It was a two-story, 38 x 65 building and had four rooms and a full basement.  In 1883 it had 60 students.  That year also saw a large, 44’ x 65’, two-story Brenner Vineyards building built on Main Street.

 

Two lodges and two other associations were also chartered, including:

·        Masonic Lodge – Arcana Lodge #31, AF&AM, chartered December 29, 1858

·        R. A. M. – Doniphan Chapter #13, chartered October 17, 1869

·        The Doniphan Dramatic Club, founded November 1880

·        Young Folks Literary Society, Started in June 1882.

 

This busy Missouri River port bustled until a bridge was built across the river and then it began a decline that was mitigated in part when the Atchison & Nebraska Railroad pushed tracks into the town.  In 1881 a flood wiped out the rail line and cut the town off.  

 

In 1912 it had faded greatly, only counting 178 residents in the 1910 census.  In the 1980s several of the old buildings still stood, but it appears to have faded out completely now to where the GNIS aerial photo shows what appears to be only a cluster of farms.

 

Population figures:

·        1857 – 1000-2000 (est.), 1910 – 178, 1930 – N/L, 1980 – rural, 1990 – rural, 2000 – rural, 2010 – rural*

 

LOCATION:

·        SE¼ of the SE¼ Sec 5, T5S, R21E, 6PM, Wayne Twp.

·        Latitude: 39.6416624 / 39° 38’ 30” N

·        Longitude: -95.0808028 / 95° 04’ 51” W

 

SOURCES: 

·        25 (pgs 17-20); 63 (86, 95, 02 – G/23); 69 (B/11); W2; W3; W4a-dp3; W5a (pg 528-529); W7a, b, c; W8b; W9

ELMDALE

Chase Co.

This class D-community is located along the east side of the BNSF Railroad, just over 200 yards east of the junction of US 50/210th Road (Main Street), 5.6 AIR miles due west of Cottonwood Falls and 6.7 road miles southwest of Strong City.  It lies just to the west of the confluence of the Cottonwood River/Middle Creek.

 

This town was founded in 1872 and the post office established January 07, 1873, when it relocated from Middle Creek to a spot along the ATSF Railroad (Now the BNSF).

 

In May 1872, Phineas C Jeffrey established a “first class country store called the William Jeffrey & Son General Store in ELMDALE. His initial investment capital was $235, and by the early 1880s was running $40-50,000 per year in sales.  He also served as postmaster from 1878-1879.

 

In 1876 a storehouse was built

 

In the fall of 1878, a drug store was opened by Dr. Frank Johnson, M.D., who was also the town physician.  In 1882, Dr. Johnson relocated his drug store into a large building and turned it into a general store.  He was appointed the Elmdale postmaster in the Spring of 1878.  The Cutler book does not indicated whether this was a short-term appointment as they also listed P Jeffrey as the postmaster in 1878-1879.

 

In May 1881, the Elmdale Bank opened, built by Ebenezer Stotts.  It averaged $10,000 per month in deposits.

 

In 1882, the Elmdale Lodge #128, IOOF was active.  It was organized on October 5, 1875.

 

In 1882, the “neat little town” had two blacksmith shops, church, a drug store, three general stores, hardware store, hotel, loan agent, post office, railroad depot, a saw & gristmill and a schoolhouse.  The main street ran east-west and had “a thrifty, beautiful appearance.”

 

It incorporated in 1904 as a City of the 3rd Class, and has been damaged several times by flooding of nearby Middle Creek and Cottonwood River.

 

In 1912, Elmdale had a bank, money-order post office, weekly newspaper (SEE below for list of the newspapers), a railroad station, telegraph & express offices, and several stores.  It was at the center of a natural gas discovery and also had a doctor, a couple grocery stores, hardware store, hotel, and a pharmacy, but no dates were given for that mention.  An undated period photo shows a solid business-lined main street.

 

The high school closed in 1967, and the grade school a few years later.

 

On GNIS, the street view on Acme mapper shows the following buildings still standing along Main Street starting at the west end, and running east along the north side, then returning along the south side.  First up on the west side of the railroad, is the corrugated metal elevator.  Crossing the tracks, “Bummies” Food Store (opened in 1947 by Glenn and Maria Baumgardner) anchors the first slot.  To the east of Bummies is a large lot, then the still-solid looking 1898 stone bank building with a “For Sale” sign in the window (was active in 2002, but closed now), a wooden false front store building in dire need of paint, then Chestnut Street.  On the east side of Chestnut is a vacant lot, decorated with a basketball court set up on what looks like an old store slab.  Just east of that is a small wood and limestone false front; then a large, former automobile repair garage, a gap, then the dressed stone, 1936 City Hall building with its WPA cornerstone.  Just to the east is Spruce Street. 

 

Crossing over to the south side of Main, we head back west.  On the southwest corner is a park and to the south the large brick Elmdale United Methodist Church (with a 1890-1917 cornerstone) on the corner of Spruce and Elm (one block south of Main).  Continuing west, the broken concrete sidewalk fronts empty lots until it reaches a battered sheet metal automotive garage on the southeast corner of Main and Chestnut.  On the west side of the intersection is the still-active (early 2015), fairly modern, brick post office (66850) building.  It is the last commercial building until the railroad is reached.  The Camp Wood Road heads south to Camp Wood, a YMCA organized camp located about two miles to the south and on the south side of the Cottonwood River.

 

On the west side of Spruce midway between Elm and Campbell streets is a little 18 x18, windowless concrete block structure with steps leading up to the front door.  Could this have been a jail???  Turning west on Campbell, on the south side of the road is a large brick, two-story building with AUDITORIUM inscribed on the upper parapet stone.  To the west, across an open lot is a large, two-story rock building that looks like an old school, and currently in use as a residence.  Across from the auditorium is a ratty-looking, four bay fire department building.  On the Acme street view it looks abandoned, or at least poorly maintained.  The rest of town is a few scattered older homes and mobile homes. The town cemetery is located about a mile west, on a low hill.

 

Newspapers: 

·        Elmdale Reporter (December 15, 1899 – February 22, 1906

·        Elmdale Gas Jet (March 04 – December 24, 1909)

·        Elmdale News (September 15, 1921 – May 15, 1931)

 

Population figures:

·        1910 – 253, 1930 – 246, 1960 – 114, 1970 – 102, 1980 - 109, 1990 - 83, 2000 - 50, 2010 - 55

 

LOCATION:

·        NW¼ Sec 27, T19S, R7E, 6PM, Diamond Creek Twp.

·        Latitude: 38.3733165 / 38° 22’ 24” N

·        Longitude: -96.6464694 / 96° 38’ 47” W

 

SOURCES: 

·        63 (86, 95, 02 – L/18); 69 (E/8); W2; W4a-cs1, 2, 6; W5a (pg 583); W7a, b, c, e; W9; W11; W27

ENGLEWOOD

 

Numerous

PHOTOS!

Clark Co.

In 2010, this class D-agricultural community had a population of 77.  It is located on US 283, three miles north of the state line, about 50 miles south of Dodge City.  Founded in 1884, Englewood was touted as the “Veritable New Chicago of the Great Southwest.”  By 1886 there were three drug stores, four dry goods/grocery stores, two hotels, two lumberyards, a newspaper and a restaurant.  It began to fade in the 1890s.  By the mid 1970s Englewood looked like a stereotypical ghost town; its wide main street a two block long line of unoccupied buildings in all stages of repair.  Englewood was our Ghost Town of the Month for June 2001, and a much modified version was reposted for February, 2008.

 

This is one of the towns featured in my newest book, GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM.

For more details, see our Englewood page.

FORT WALLACE

Wallace Co.

Originally known as Camp Pond Creek, this pioneer military fort was built in September 1865, adjacent to the Butterfield Overland Despatch Company’s Pond Creek Stage Station, on the Smoky Hill Trail.  They were located at the confluence of Pond Creek with the South Fork of the Smokey Hill River.  This company is NOT to be confused with John Warren Butterfield’s famous, but completely unrelated Butterfield Overland Express Company, which operated from September 15, 1858 to June 30, 1861 and DID NOT pass through Kansas.  (…SEE Pond Creek  - below)

 

It was established to protect travelers arriving at the station located about 1.5 miles southwest of the present town of Wallace.  When the stage line was sold in 1866, the fort relocated several miles to the east, to a point near the river and was the heart of a military reservation that took in some 14 square miles of land.  It was renamed Fort Wallace on April 16, 1866, after General W. H. L. Wallace, who was killed in 1862 at the Civil War, Battle of Shiloh.  In July 1868, the Union Pacific (UP) Railroad arrived at the fort.

 

The site of this new location is along the south side of present-day US 40, and on the north side of the south fork of the Smoky Hill River, 10.5 miles east of Sharon Springs, 4.1 miles west of the county line and two miles southeast of Wallace.  It is south of Road Wa E-O (which runs across the south side of the cemetery. 

 

Built mostly out of wood and stone, the frontier fort had about 40 buildings as well as a normal contingent of 75 or so soldiers, but at the most had around 350, although it was built to accommodate 500.  A post office was established at the fort on October 03, 1866. A newspaper, The Wallace County News was attempted to be published here, but only one issue hit print: December 27, 1870.  The fort was recommended to be closed as early as 1872, but it remained an active post until it was finally decommissioned on May 31, 1882.  The post office closed the following day, June 01, 1882 and the standing buildings were quickly scavenged and the fort physically disappeared.  On October 19, 1888 an act of Congress decreed that all of the 14 square mile military reservation would be sold, except the UP Railroad right-of-way, and the 10-acre post cemetery, which was given to the city of Wallace.

 

Today it is an historic site without any buildings.  The museum is located at the SEC of the town of Wallace along the north side of US 40, at the roadside park.

 

For more info on this historic old military post, go to: Fort Wallace.com and Santa Fe Trail Research.com.  

Follow the next links to read a great history of the Smoky Hill Trail and the Butterfield Overland Despatch.

 

…SEE Pond Creek Stage Station below for a brief history of the stage line.

 

LOCATION:

  ORIGINAL SITE (Camp Pond Creek – at the confluence of Pond Creek/Smoky River)

·        SWC of the NW¼ Sec 25, T13S, R39W, 6PM, Wallace Twp.

·        Latitude: 38.8966762 / 38° 53' 48" N

·        Longitude: -101.6104457 / 101° 36' 38" W

 

  SECOND LOCATION

·        NE¼ of the NE¼ Sec 29, T13S, R38W, 6PM, Wallace Twp.

·        Latitude: 38.9003275 / 38° 54’ 00” N

·        Longitude: -101.5587785 / 101° 33’ 28” W

 

  POST CEMETERY

·        NW¼ of the SE¼ Sec 20, T13S, R38W, 6PM, Wallace Twp.

·        Latitude: 38.9049550 / 38° 54’ 18” N

·        Longitude: -101.5595030 / 101° 33’ 34” W

 

  POST MUSEUM

·        Ctr Sec 19, T13S, R38W, 6PM, Wallace Twp.

·        Latitude: 38.9102872 / 38° 54’ 37” N

·        Longitude: -101.5832228 / 101° 35’ 00” W

 

SOURCES: 

·        1; 5a (pg 676); 6 (pgs 215, 235, 242, 246, 249, 251, 252); 7 (pgs 246, 255, 256); W2; W5a (pg 676); W7a, b, c, d (Wallace Co.);

FREDERIC(K)

Rice Co.

This class D agricultural town is on SH 4, three-quarters of a mile south of the county line, seven miles east of Bushton (2010 population – 279), six miles west of Geneseo (2010 population – 267),  and 12 miles northwest of Lyons. 

 

It was founded in 1878 at the junction of the MoPac Railroad /St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad, but little development occurred until 1887 with the arrival of the MoPac. By the early 1900s was a booming agricultural and railroad shipping center with around 1000 people.  It had an automobile/tractor dealership, a bank, a bar, two blacksmiths, brass band, several churches, dentist, doctors, flour mill, fraternal groups, three grain elevators, two grocery stores, three-story hotel, lumberyard, newspapers, post office, schools and a telegraph & telephone office.  It incorporated as a City of the 3rd Class in 1909.   In 1914 a tornado smashed the town, including the Baptist church, which was rebuilt in 1950, but has since been abandoned.  In 1934 fire destroyed most of what remained of the town and it never regained its vigor. 

 

The post office was established as Frederic on May 14, 1887, and the name changed slightly to Frederick on April 24, 1904.  It was discontinued on May 15, 1954.

 

In 2011, despite being the second smallest incorporated city in the state, it still had a mayor and two city council members, as well as the grain elevator, five occupied houses and a three-acre cemetery. 

 

NEWSPAPERS:

·        Frederick Independent (January 19, 1888 – February 21, 1889)

·        Rice County News (August 28, 1890 – July 20, 1895)

·        Frederick Republican (August 24, 1892 – August 30, 1893)

·        Frederick Bulletin (September 28, 1893 – February 03, 1894)

·        Frederick Flame (October 14 – December 30, 1897)

·        Frederick News (September 04, 1908 – November 25, 1910)

 

Population figures:

·        1910 – 151, 1930 – N/L, 1970 – 39, 1980 – 29, 1990 – 18, 2000 – 11, 2010 – 18

 

LOCATION:

·        NE¼ of the SW¼ Sec 1, T18S, R9W, 6PM, Eureka Twp.

·        Latitude: 38.5125329 / 38° 30’ 45” N

·        Longitude: -98.2676017 / 98° 16’ 03” W

 

SOURCES: 

·        14 (164-165); 63 (86, 95, 02 – L/13); 69 (E/6); W2; W3; W5a (pg 684); W7a, b, c; W9;

FREEPORT

Harper Co.

This class D agricultural town is at the junction of NE 100 Ave/NE 30 Rd (1st St), where the former railroad crosses it, in the eastern part of the county six miles south of US 60, three miles west of the county line and 14 miles north of the state line. 

 

B. H. Freeman operated a trading post, located about three miles to the west of the present site.  On April 19, 1878 a post office called Midlothian was established at Freeman’s trading post.  In 1885, the St. Louis, Fort Scott and Wichita Railroad (later the MoPac Railroad) ran tracks through the area, and on February 27, 1885 Freeport was platted.  On March 7, Midlothian was platted immediately adjacent to Freeport, the two towns separated only by Grand Avenue.  A railroad depot was built on the Freeport side, and the two towns battled for supremacy.  On September 16, 1885, Mr. Freeman relocated his post office from his trading post to the booming railroad development.  The sources don’t say to which location.  In reality that was a moot point, as Midlothian changed names to West Freeport, and on October 12, 1887, it was all incorporated as Freeport.

 

During its lifetime several newspapers came and went, typical with these pioneering communities with bigger dreams than reality.   These included: the Freeport Leader (August 13, 1885 – January 01, 1899),   the Freeport Tribune (March 11 – September 30, 1886) and the Freeport News (July 09 – December 10, 1915).

 

By 1912, the town had “a score of business houses”, including: bank, blacksmiths, dry goods stores, express & telegraph office, grain elevators, two or three hotels (The City Hotel was one, Geo. W. Corbin, proprietor), livery stable and the post office.  The Freeport Telephone Exchange is listed as dissolved as of October 29, 1913. Many of the business buildings were moved away or burned at some time after they were abandoned.

 

With only five people living here in 2010, it is the smallest incorporated town in Kansas.  Some of the remaining buildings include the 1902 bank building, two sets of grain elevators along the former railroad line (Danville Cooperative Assn.), water tower and a 60 member Presbyterian church, whose white clapboard building still stands on the north side of Church Lane.  The two-acre cemetery is located nearby.  The post office is ZIP 67049 and as of February 2015 was still open (AM only), although it is on the hit list for closure.  In 2014, four of the five residents were city “employees” – mayor, three council members and the City Clerk (who also doubled as one of the council members.)

 

The bank building is a low, brick, corner building with individual storefronts facing south and east. On the south, facing 1st (Main) Street, is the post office, while on the corner is “City Hall” inside the original bank.  Rounding the corner onto Grand Ave is a vacant storefront with “FREEPORT” on the transom, its unmarked twin to the right and finally an unmarked one at the far right.  The Freeport Cemetery is located just a quarter mile to the north and on the west side of Grand Avenue.  Some sources (including a business listing) claim the Freeport State Bank in Freeport is still open, however, according to the bankencyclopedia.com website, only two branches of the bank were open as of April 2012:  one in Harper (main bank – established on January 01, 1902) and the other, which was a branch in Anthony (est. 1989).  The branch in Freeport closed in 2009.

 

Population figures:

·        1887 – 300, 1892 – 700->1000, 1895 – 54, 1910 – 161 (250?), 1970 – 21, 1980 – 12, 1990 – 8, 2000 – 6, 2010 – 5

 

LOCATION:

·        SWC Sec 3, SEC Sec 4, NEC Sec 9, T33S, R5W, 6PM, Twp 4

·        Latitude: 37.1978157 / 37° 11’ 52” N

·        Longitude: -97.8569476 / 97° 51’ 25” W

 

SOURCES: 

·        25 (pgs 199-202); 63 (86, 95, 02 – Q/15); W2; W5a (pgs 689-690); W7a, b, c; W9; W22; W24; W26hp; W27

GENEVA

Allen Co.

Founded in the summer of 1857 by the New York and Michigan-based Union Settlement Association, this agricultural colony was at the junction of 465th St/Virginia Rd., in the northwestern corner of the county, 1.5 miles south and west of the county lines, about ten miles northwest of Iola (county seat), north of the Neosho River, between Martin and Indian creeks.

 

Around 300 families indicated an interest to settle here, so in 1858, L. L. Northrup set up a steam-powered sawmill and a store.  A post office also opened on November 13, 1858 with Dr. Stone as the first postmaster.  It is not clear if it was a part of the original store or a stand-alone.  A college was planned, but reality set in and only about 75 families showed up, so it was never built.  The first church in the county was the Congregational Church, which was organized on December 26, 1857, with the Reverend Gilbert S. Northrup as pastor. The first school district was Number 1 Geneva, also organized at that location in 1858.

 

In 1861, Dr. Stone passed postmaster duties over to the Deputy Postmaster/Justice of the Peace, Jonathan M. Mattoon, who held the postmaster position at least until 1882 (current pm in the 1882 Cutler’s History of Kansas book.)  By 1869 the town had about 100 people, a blacksmith shop, hotel, two stores and a wagon shop.  A Congregational church was also built of stone and in 1866, a two-story wooden frame “academy” under the auspices of the Neosho Presbytery was also built.  There was also a Presbyterian Church here with Rev. Salathiel M. Irwin as the pastor.

 

Geneva continued to grow slowly in anticipation of the arrival of the railroad, but by 1872, it didn’t come, so the town began fading.  Even so there appears to have been a little burst of energy, as on January 15, 1882, Charles L. Knowlton opened a general store.  It is not clear from the source if this was a NEW store, or continuation of the previous store.  In April the Geneva House (hotel) opened its doors with Dexter L. Warner as the owner.  The blacksmith was listed as Plamer (sic - Palmer??) McClure and Theodore Elliott operated a dry goods store.

 

The 1882 Cutler history lists the following businesses:  blacksmith, post office and store.

 

In 1912 Geneva was listed as a “post village” and was a station located on the ATSF Railroad.  It served as a trading/shipping center.  At that time it had 100 people and a blacksmith shop, express office, post office and store. The post office closed September 30, 1942.

 

The five-acre Geneva Cemetery is located on the east side of 60th Street, midway between Utah and Virginia Roads, about 0.9 miles southeast of Geneva.  It looks “well populated.”  In 2010, the entire township only had a population of 119.

 

Population figures:

·        1870 – 100 (approx),  1882 – 100 (approx), 1910 – 100, 1930 – N/L, 1970 – , 1980 – N/L, 1990 – N/L, 2000 – N/L, 2010 – unk (119 in entire township)

 

LOCATION:

  TOWN

·        W-Ctr Sec 25, T23S, R17E, 6PM, Geneva Twp.

·        Latitude: 38.0169756 / 38° 01’ 01” N

·        Longitude: -95.4941499 / 95° 29’ 39” W

 

  CEMETERY

·        Ctr W line SW¼ Sec 30, T23S, R18E, 6PM, Geneva Twp.

·        Latitude: 38.0129290 / 38° 00’ 47” N

·        Longitude: -95.4809180 / 95° 28’ 51” W

 

SOURCES: 

·        69 (F/10); W1a; W2; W4a-al10), W5a (pgs 728-729); W7a, b, d (Allen Co.); W9; W19;

HECTOR

Greeley Co.

This forgotten, class A, mid-1880s boomtown was located four miles north of Horace and about five northwest of Tribune.  The actual location is not determined, but is probably at or near the intersection of Road 14 (Horace Road)/Road L.

 

Hector was another typical community vying for the county seat – and failing.  At its peak, it had a hardware store, a couple hotels, a lumberyard, a newspaper (Hector Echo April 01 – July 29, 1886), post office (established in December 15, 1885), real estate company and two stagecoach lines.  By summer 1886, the population relocated to the winning town (Tribune), leaving a faded ghost.  The post office closed on November 03, 1886.

 

LOCATION: APPROX (Jct of roads as noted above)

·        SWC Sec 30, NWC Sec 31, T17S, R40E, 6PM, Berwick Twp

·        SEC Sec 25, NEC Sec 36, T17S, R41E, 6PM, Berwick Twp

·        Latitude: 38.5383287 / 38° 32' 18" N

·        Longitude: -101.7904758 / 101° 47' 26" W

 

SOURCES: 

·        W2 (Not listed, but coordinates obtained through it); W7a, b, c, e; W12 (May 24, 2013); W13; W26gl

HORACE

Greeley Co.

This fading, tiny, still-incorporated City of the 3rd Class, has what I feel is one of the most classic name combinations in American Ghosttowndom!  A town with the name of Horace doesn’t stand out, nor does the county named Greeley.  But combine them… Horace Greeley.  It is a tiny, still-incorporated city with only about 70 people sitting on the UP Railroad and SH 96 just 14 miles east of the Colorado/Kansas state line and two miles northwest of the county seat, Tribune (2010 population of 741).

 

For more details, see our HORACE page.

This was our Ghost Town of the Month for February 2015.

IRVING

Marshall Co.

The site of this formerly incorporated City of the 3rd Class is located at the intersection of 12th/Zenith Roads, along the west side of the Big Blue River, about four miles southeast of Blue Rapids, in the southwestern part of the county about 15 miles south of Marysville.  When the dam was built for Tuttle Creek Lake in the late 1950s, the Feds required the town be vacated, although it was not on the floodplain behind the dam, which began filling in 1962.

 

Irving was settled by a colony of 14 families in the fall of 1859, the settlement being named for the popular writer Washington Irving.  Like Horace (above), the town’s namesake never actually visited here.  In February of 1860, the Irving Town Company was incorporated and a push for development began.  On June 07, 1860 a post office was established with M. D. Abbott as the first postmaster. He turned the office over to a new postmaster, S. H. Warren just a few months later.  Unfortunately 1860 was a year of severe drought, and a number of the settlers went back to their original homes.  Those that remained were pummeled by a severe windstorm in July, and many of the freshly built buildings, as well as the smokestack for the sawmill, succumbed to the wind.  Many of the remaining settlers took that as a cue to leave, and returned to their hometowns in Iowa and Kansas.  Even so, a strong, resilient core remained, and Irving began to rebuild.  The first church in the county was built that winter, and Rev. Charles Parker conducted the first services in early 1861.

 

In 1862, a Presbyterian church was established, but no building was built until 1869, at which time a 42’ x 52’ stone church was erected.  Somewhere around 1864, a three-story, 44’ x 50’ limestone building was built on a nearby rise.  Called the Wetmore Institute, it was a private school.  In the fall of 1867 a railroad (C. B. U. P.) arrived and a station was built.  Development began in earnest.  A Methodist-Episcopal and an Episcopalian church were both organized in 1867.  The M-E Church started to build a sanctuary, but ended up finding a vacant building.  They later met in the Presbyterian facility.  The Episcopalian Church met in the schoolhouse until they disbanded a few years later.  in 1874 the reorganized and in the fall of 1879 built a small wood frame church building.

 

In 1868, a 30’ x 40’, stone public school was built, and in 1870 J. F. Joy erected a wood frame hotel known as the Irving House.  The following year saw Irving incorporated as a City of the 3rd Class.  In 1872, the Blue Valley Lodge #142, AF&AM was chartered and in 1882 had 19 members.  In May 1873, the Sylvan Shades Cemetery was incorporated, followed by the 20-acre Greenwood Cemetery in 1877.

 

The old real estate axiom about “Location, location, location” applies to Irving.  During 1866 and again in 1875, a plague of grasshoppers destroyed crops and trees.  In the summer of 1879 a pair of tornadoes from two separate storms pounded Irving about an hour apart, killing 19 and injuring many others seriously damaging the Wetmore Institute, and destroying the Presbyterian Church and the 1868 schoolhouse, which also was rebuilt of wood framing that fall.  The church was also rebuilt of stone and recommenced services in the summer of 1881.  Details of the tornadoes can be seen at Kansas.net.  It is said that these tornadoes were the inspiration for the book, Wizard of Oz.  The Wetmore school was repaired, but completely gutted by fire in 1880.  On March 18, 1880, the Irving Lodge #34, A.O.U.W (Ancient Order of United Workmen) was chartered. 

 

In 1882, some of the businesses included the three churches, public school, railroad station, two lodges, two general stores (One a 25 x 75 general store with a 16 x 60 addition owned by C. A. Mongomery; the other a 22 x 75 main store with 14 x 25 addition owned by E. M. Petersen), J. C. Moore’s Grocery (he also owned a boot and shoe business),

 

In 1903, the river flooded, damaging and destroying many of the towns’ structures.  That flood was followed by a couple of fires that ravaged the town in 1905 and 1907.  Despite all this, Irving continued to thrive, and in 1910 boasted a population of 403.

 

In 1912, the Cyclopedia of Kansas credits Irving with a bank, several churches, grade school, public library, weekly newspaper (see list below), post office and telegraph and express offices.  It was at the junction of the UP/MoPac Railroads and was a bustling little town.  After that vignette appeared in the book, Irving suffered additional fires in 1913 and 1916, the later wiping out the entire north side of Main Street.

 

By the mid-1950s, news that a dam was to be built along the Big Blue River caused the citizens to leave and by 1960 Irving was ghosted, the post office closing on July 31, 1960.  Numerous foundations and streets remain, along with a large marker with the town name, and a small mailbox for visitor comments, as well as a five-acre cemetery (1906).  The land is still owned by the US Army, Corps of Engineers, so the site is open for visitors.

 

Newspapers:

·        Blue Valley Recorder (December 10, 1869 – August 26, 1879)

·        Irving Blue Valley Gazette (June 20 – December 19, 1874, April 08, 1876 – December 28, 1878)

·        Irving Blue Valley Citizen (February 13 – July 02, 1880)

·        Irving Leader (May 20, 1886 – at least February 24, 1944)

·        Holiness War News (November 1890 – October 1891) (possibly a monthly?)

 

Population figures:

·        1879 – 300, 1910 – 403, 1960 -> 2010 - 0

 

LOCATION:

·        SWC Sec 1, NWC Sec 12, T5S, R7E, 6PM, Blue Rapids Twp.

·        Latitude: 39.6388882 / 39° 38’ 20” N

·        Longitude: -96.5975135 / 96° 35’ 51” W

 

SOURCES: 

·        63 (NOT shown on 02 map); 69 (C/8); W2; W3; W4a-ms9; W5a (pg 944); W7a, b, c, d (Marshall Co.), e; W8c; W9; W18

KANONA

Decatur Co.

Not much remains of this old village, settled originally in the 1880s.  It started out with a rural post office named ALTORY, on September 13, 1881, with Lewis C. Johnson as the first postmaster.  In 1885, a plat map for a town called KANONA was filed by Anselmo B. Smith and on April 02, 1887, the post office name was changed to KANONA, with Levi E. Kindig as the postmaster.  The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad arrived and Kanona grew up along the south side of the tracks.  It soon boasted a bank (built in 1919), barbershop, wood-framed Methodist Church, two general stores, a hardware store, the two-story Fawcett Hotel, livery stable, lumberyard, the post office, railroad depot, a wood framed one-room school and telegraph & express offices.  It peaked in the early 1900s as a major shipping point for the railroad.  At that time it also had a stockyard, a five-acre cemetery, a pair of grain elevators and a new school that was built in 1919 - a two-room, brick building with full basement built at the south end of Sheridan (the main) Street facing “downtown.” 

 

During the 1920s, additional buildings were built, including a couple of garages, a hardware store, movie theater, and a couple of restaurants.  In 1923, the barbershop and pool hall were burned, and the bank damaged.  Later in the decade fire claimed one of the automobile garages, and the two general stores.  In the 1930s a late 1930s photo shows the town’s gas station and Albert Johnson’s store.  Kanona continued to limp along, but the school still claimed 34 students and a library in 1940.  In 1949 a tornado caused extensive damage to many of the buildings, including the lumberyard and school.  The post office closed on March 31, 1955.  By 1960, there were still nine buildings remaining, some of which included a blacksmith shop, the Methodist Church, grain elevator, schoolhouse and a telephone building.  By the late 1960s it had become known as a ghost town, and became a popular place to visit.

 

By the early 1990s, all that remained were the cemetery (a mile to the north), blacksmith shop, abandoned brick bank, church, elevator and schoolhouse.  On current aerial photos several buildings are still visible.

 

It is located in the center of the county, on the southwest corner of the junction of CR 495/(now) Nebraska-Kansas-Colorado Railway about eight miles east-southeast of Oberlin and two miles south of US 36.

 

Population figures:

·        1910 – 125, 1920 – about 150, 1980 - rural, 1990 - rural, 2000 - rural, 2010 –

 

LOCATION:

·        NE¼ Sec 18, T3S, R27W, 6PM, Altory Twp.

·        Latitude: 39.7966716 / 39° 47’ 48” N

·        Longitude: -100.3898642 / 100° 23’ 24” W

 

SOURCES:

·        14 (224-227); 63 (86, 95, 02 – F/7); 69 (B/3); W5b (pg 46); W7a, b; W9; W17b; W26dc, W28

LANESFIELD

Johnson Co.

This class A/F agricultural town was located on the Santa Fe Trail, on the west side of the Bull Creek Crossing, two miles northeast of present-day Edgerton, which is on US 56, 40 miles southwest of Kansas City.  Today the town is all gone, except the Lanesfield School, which is a county historical site located on the east side of Dillie Road, midway between W 183rd St and W 191st St, about a mile west of US 56.

 

Lanesfield was laid out in 1858 across the creek from its rival town McCamish.  A post office called Hibbard was established here on February 26, 1855, and on July 17, 1861 it changed its name to Lanesfield.  In 1863 a school opened, but was taught from a home.  1867 a nursery there as well as a log schoolhouse, and in 1869 that was replaced by a rectangular, fieldstone, one-room schoolhouse for the town’s 18 students.  A year later the student population had increased to 69.  At this time, Lanesfield outgrew McCamish, which foundered.  Some of the businesses in Lanesfield included: a blacksmith shop, three churches (Christian, Methodist and Presbyterian), a two-story hotel, the post office, school, three stores, 17 residences and around 100 people.  There were no saloons.

 

In 1870, the ATSF Railroad came through, bypassing the town by several miles.  As a result, both Lanesfield and McCamish packed up and relocated to the railroad.  As all the buildings in both towns were moved, and the school building was made of rock, it remained behind as a rural school serving the surrounding farms. The relocated communities combined into one town called Martinsburgh.  The Lanesfield Post Office relocated on July 17, 1870 also changing its name to Martinsburgh.  In July 1871, the names were all consolidated to Edgerton, which today is a busy little city of around 1700 folks.

 

The schoolhouse was remodeled a couple times, in 1883 and again in 1904 after a lightning strike damaged the structure.  It remained in use and along with a couple other revisions, continued to serve its educational capacity until 1963.  In 1967 the old school was opened as a museum, but was underfunded and began to deteriorate.  In October 1988 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and underwent a restoration to its 1904 look.  On April 1, 1989 it reopened as a museum and has remained open since, the only remaining building in Lanesfield.

 

It was also the site of a battle between Free State supporters and Slave State supporters in September 1856.

 

Population figures:

·        1869 – about 100, 1880 -> 2010 - 0

 

LOCATION: (Lanesfield School Historic Site)

·        Ctr Sec 32, T14S, R22E, 6PM, McCamish Twp.

·        Latitude: 38.7894520 / 38° 47' 22" N

·        Longitude: -94.9916332 / 94° 59' 30" W

 

SOURCES: 

·        W2 (school); W4a-jo14; W7a, b, e; W8d; W14; W15; W19 (September 12, 2012);

LETITIA

Clark Co.

This class A-boomtown was located 15 miles north of Ashland. 

 

It was founded during the 1884-1887 land boom, but without an viable economy, it faded rapidly.  It lasted long enough to be named as a voting district in 1885.  In the early 1890s Luman Snyder’s blacksmith moved to Minneola and R. B. Smiley, the storekeeper/postmaster relocated to Ashland, leaving the town abandoned, except the schoolhouse.  A post office operated here from July 21, 1885 through November 30, 1900, with Wesley M. Hale the first postmaster and storekeeper, as well as one of the town founders.  It was on the local Methodist-Episcopal Church circuit, but no building was built.

 

GNIS shows the site on the NE corner of the junction CR15/CR H, miles southeast of Minneola

 

Population figures:

·        1890 -> 2010 - 0

 

LOCATION:

·        SW¼ Sec 6, T31S, R23W, 6PM, Appleton Twp.

·        Latitude: 37.3689125 / 37° 22' 08" N

·        Longitude: -99.8517972 / 99° 51' 06" W

 

SOURCES: 

·        52a (pg 49); 52b (pgs 34, 75); 52c (pgs 56, 72); W2; W5a (pg 359 – Clark County entry); W7a, b, e;

McCAMISH

Johnson Co.

This class A townsite was originally established at the Santa Fe Road crossing of Bull Creek in 1857 by Richard D. McCamish at the location of the Hibbard Post Office, which was already operating.  McCamish laid out the town on the east side of the creek and named it McCamish, after himself.  It was to be a pro-slavery rival for free-state Lanesfield which was located in 1858 across the creek, both located about two miles northeast of today’s Edgerton. It suffered from the growth at Lanesfield and managed to sport only one saloon and a general store.  It is said that the post office was also known as Bull Creek and Uniontown as well as Lanesfield.

 

Dr. Rezin Addy served as the town doctor from 1858 until he relocated to Edgerton.  In 1867, D. C. Dwyer opened a blacksmith shop, which he operated until August 1870, when he relocated to Edgerton.

 

In 1870, what remained of the town relocated to what became known as Edgerton.  Nothing remains today.

 

Population figures:

·        1880 -> 2010 – 0*

 

LOCATION: APPROX

·        E-Ctr Sec 32, T14S, R22E, 6PM, McCamish Twp.

·        Latitude: 38.7904924 / 38° 47' 26" N

·        Longitude: -94.9849470 / 94° 59' 06" W

 

SOURCES: 

W2 (Not listed, but coordinates obtained through it); W4a-jo14; W7b, e; W8d; W14; W15; W19 (September 12, 2012);

MINNEOLA

Franklin Co.

This class A wannabe state capital was about eight miles north-northwest of Ottawa, 17 miles south of Lawrence, east of Eight-Mile Creek and west of the Minneola School. (Do not confuse with the Minneola in Clark Co.)  The Minneola School was located on the west side of Kentucky Road, 1.5 miles south of the county line and just a hundred yards or so south of the junction with Stafford Ter., 2.5 miles west of US 59 and 1.8 AIR miles due east of Centropolis, itself a near ghost town that was established in 1855.

 

In 1856 the embryonic town of St. Bernard was destroyed by Free-Staters in a clash with pro-slavery folks.  St. Bernard had been established as the county seat on the east bank of Eight-Mile Creek in 1855 and a post office opened on March 3, with J. M. Bernard as the first postmaster.  After St. Bernard was burned, a new group of investors called the Minneola Town Company drew up plans and platted a large city on 320 acres, to try for the county seat and territorial capital.  It was to be located almost on the same site and the development began.  According to an article in the Ottawa Republican, dated August 9, 1877, a total of 30 or 40 buildings were erected, including houses, a 77-room hotel and a legislative hall. 

 

On February 10, 1858 territorial capital status was given to Minneola, but was quickly voided as it turned out to be a scandal, due to the awarding of future city land to the legislators for their votes.  On March 22, the territorial legislature met in their new facility at Minneola and a major debate raged through the night.  The next morning, Leavenworth got the nod, and Minneola foundered.  Even so, on November 26, 1858, the St. Bernard Post Office changed its name to Minneola. 

 

Minneola ailed and by 1860, the county seat was relocated to Ohio City.  On February 21, 1863 the post office was relocated to Centropolis (still a small town).  On November 25, 1863 the Centropolis Post Office came back to Minneola, again changing its name.  In April 1864, the former legislative hall was de-constructed and moved to Ottawa.  The post office was finally discontinued on December 08, 1865, sealing the dead town’s fate.  The few remaining buildings were torn down and/or relocated, while Minneola quickly reverted to farmland.

 

During its turbulent lifetime, the town sported newspapers.  They included:  Kansas Leader (February 24, 1858 – single issue), Journal (March 19, 1864 - single issue), Kansas Journal (April 09, 1864  - single issue), Journal (April 30 – May 28, 1864),  Kansas Weekly News Journal (June 04 - September 03, 1864).

 

A good source for the early history of this town can be found here.  Another excellent article on the story of Minneola is the two part series in the Ottawa Herald for October 20, 1986 and October 21, 1986.

 

GNIS lists Minneola as a variant name for Centropolis, even though they were separate entities.

 

Population figures:

·        1870 -> 2010 - 0

 

LOCATION: (West Jct of Iowa/Stafford Roads)

·        Ctr of W line SW¼ Sec 29, Ctr of E line SE¼ Sec 30, T15S, R19E, 6PM, Centropolis Twp.

·        Latitude: 38.7133365 / 38° 42' 48" N

·        Longitude: -95.3346020 / 95° 20' 04" W

 

LOCATION: (Minneola School)

·        NEC of the SE¼ Sec 29, T15S, R19E, 6PM, Centropolis Twp.

·        Latitude: 38.7163968 / 38° 42' 59" N

·        Longitude: -95.3160860 / 95° 18' 58" W

 

LOCATION: (Centropolis)

·        NW¼ of the SW¼ Sec 30, T15S, R19E, 6PM, Centropolis Twp.

·        Latitude: 38.7161188 / 38° 42' 58" N

·        Longitude: -95.3502536 / 95° 21' 01" W

 

SOURCES: 

·        25 (pgs 61-65); W2; W3; W4a-fr2, 3; W7a, b, c, e;

MODOC

Scott Co. 

MODOC is a tiny town slowly sliding towards ghost town status, having only 60 people in 1990, 35 in 2000, and even less in 2010.  It is located north of SH 96, along the UPRR, 2.5 miles east of the county line. 

 

It was originally established by the ATSF Railroad, which platted a 200 acre site into lots and began sales.  Both the ATSF and the MoPac Railroads built large depots and stockyards turning Plummer into a major shipping center.  The PLUMMER Post Office was established on September 08, 1886 and the name was changed to MODOC on October 15, 1887.

 

In 1912, it was listed in the Cyclopedia as a hamlet along the MoPac Railroad and contained an express office and a “money-order” post office and a two-acre cemetery.

 

The post office (67866) was discontinued March 21, 1992.  Today, the split main street is lined with a few houses, some interesting commercial buildings, including the old bank building, and lots of dead cars. 

 

Population figures:

·        1910 – 75,  1980 - 55, 1990 - 60, 2000 - 35, 2010 - unk

 

LOCATION:

·        S-Ctr Sec 16, T18S, R34WE, 6PM, Isbel Twp.

·        Latitude: 38.4869644 / 38° 29' 13" N

·        Longitude: -101.0818200 / 101° 04' 55" W

 

SOURCES: 

·        63 (86, 95, 02 – L/4); 69 (E/2); 78 (May 2006, GTUSA Column); PV (Jul 2005); W2; W5b (pg 298); W7a, b, e; W26sc

NEOSHO FALLS

Woodson Co.

NEOSHO FALLS is located along the Neosho River and between 1887-1935, at the junction of the former ATSF/Missouri, Kansas & Texas (MKT) Railroads, 13 miles from the county seat at Yates Center. 

 

It was established in April 1857 by Isaac W. Dow and Colonel Nathaniel S. Goss at a spot where the river dropped, which gave them a good location to establish a sawmill.  A post office was established May 21, 1857 with Colonel Goss as the first postmaster.  That same year, Ruggles & Stevens built a store, and in 1858 followed up with a hotel – the Falls House, which was enlarged in 1870.  J. Fisher’s drug store followed shortly afterward.  E. H. Curtis established a small private school that same year, and development ensued.  On May 22, 1858, Neosho Falls was designated the county seat for newly established Woodson County, an honor it kept until the election of November 03, 1873, at which time the county seat was won by Kalida.  For the next several years Neosho battled to get it back, but in 1878, the issue was settled when Yates Center obtained the honor.  In 1859, a grist mill was added to the sawmill complex.  The mills were purchased by W.L Parsons in 1873.

 

It appears that rapid growth occurred after the Civil War ended, as in 1869, the first public school opened, and according to the Cyclopedia, the first newspaper was the Frontier Democrat, established that year by I. B. Boyle.  However, it is not listed by the Kansas Historical Society in the listing of papers for Neosho Falls.   The Grove Lodge #49, IOOF was chartered on August 28, 1869.  The following year saw the MKT Railroad run a “feeder line” through the town. (It remained active until 1970.)  Also in 1870, the Methodist Church was built, I. W. Dow opened a bank (closed in 1873), and the Tuscan Lodge # 82 AF&AM was chartered.  They masons shared a lodge hall with the Odd Fellows (IOOF).  Over the winter of 1870-1871, a Presbyterian Church was added.  The US Census listed 1406 people in the Neosho Falls Township, which included Neosho Falls itself.  On September 05, 1870, Neosho Falls incorporated, and in 1871 became a City of the 3rd Class.  Two other hotels were built in the 1870s, but apparently after the county seat was lost, the town couldn’t support them.  The American Hotel was relocated to the railroad where it was modified and used as a warehouse.  The Pierce House burned in 1876 and was not rebuilt.  A woolen mill was in operation from 1873-1882.

 

In 1875, the town hosted the first Neosho Valley Fair, reaching out to three neighboring counties for participation.  It became so popular that in 1879, guests included General William T. Sherman and President and Mrs. Rutherford B Hayes.  Also, on November 19, 1879, the Benefit Lodge #1885 of the KofH was chartered.  The 1880 census showed a decrease in population from a decade earlier, with 1192 being recorded for the township AND city.  In August 1882, a small privately-owned bank was started by Haughwout (sic) & Goodrich.  By 1882-1883the population of the city itself was said to have been 750 and it had a full list of businesses, including a newly built Congregational Church and the newly chartered Neosho Falls Post #73, GAR.  In that decade, a second railroad came to town when in 1887, the ATSF Railroad arrived (it shut down in 1935.)

 

In 1912 the Kansas Cyclopedia calls it “one of the important towns of Woodson County”, a busy little city and major rail shipping center.  The following businesses were listed in the 1912 Cyclopedia: banks, flour mills, weekly newspaper (The Post), 11 oil wells in the area, a money order post office, railroad station, sawmills, sorghum mills, stores and telegraph & express offices.  By 1930, the town had lost about 40% of its peak population and when the Great Depression hit, hurt the town.  Even so, a school was built in 1939 (probably by the WPA).

 

In 1951, the town flooded and from that point on faded rapidly through the 1960s. The high school shut down in 1961, followed by the grammar school in 1969.  By the 1970s, Neosho Falls was a true has-been.  The population was well below 200 (less than a quarter of what it was at the peak),  and according to Daniel Fitzgerald, the dean of Kansas ghost town historians, the main street was “like taking a walk back in time.  Most of Main Street was deserted, but the hardware store had hardware on the shelves; the town hall had a rotting stage with a rotting piano on the stage. Sheet music blew in the breeze. One building, probably a general store, had antique furniture rotting away in it.” 

 

In 2005 the small community building was located in front of the massive, abandoned, brick and concrete, 2-story school.  Other buildings of note include the white wood-framed Methodist Church; Senior Center; the vine-covered, two-story, brick Memorial Hall; a couple smaller gas station-looking buildings; a squat, solid powerhouse along the river at The Falls; and a park.  According to the USPS website (W27), the Neosho Falls Post Office (66758) was still open in early 2015.

 

Located next to a row of metal elevators/silos was “The Last Resort” a bar and last surviving business in town.  In 2009 it had been renamed “The Oasis.”

 

Newspapers:

The first and longest lasting newspaper appears to by the Post, which underwent numerous name changes in its 1873-1934 run

·        Woodson County Post (#1) (September 24, 1873 – January 05, 1883)

·        Neosho Falls Post (#1) (January 12, 1883 – December 02, 1887)

·        Post (December 16, 1887 – December 26, 1890)

·        Neosho Falls Post (#2) (January 02, 1891 – May 34, 1934)

·        Woodson County & Neosho Falls Post (June 07 – September 20, 1934)

·        Woodson County Post (#2) (September 27, 1934 – February 17, 1936)

 

Other shorter-termed papers included:

 

·        Young Jayhawker (April – July 1877 – three issues only – monthy?)

·        Our School Review (May 1878 – single issue)

·        People’s Herald (August 14 – October 23, 1878)

·        Weekly Record (August 12 – September 09, 1879)

·        District Fair Daily News (September 23, 1880 – single issue)

·        Woodson County Republican (September 08, 1886 – January 05, 1887)

·        Woodson County Independent (January 12 – August 03, 1887) (MAY have been a name change for the Republican)

·        Neosho Valley Reformer (#2) (February 18 – May 06, 1898)

·        Four Counties Paper (September 25, 1927 – May 23, 1928)

 

Population figures:

·        1882-83 – about 750, 1910 – 571, 1930 – 462, 1970 – 184, 1980 - 157, 1990 - 157, 2000 - 179, 2010 - 141

 

SOURCES:

·        63 (86, 95, 02 – M/22); 69 (F/10); W4a-al10; W4a-wo1, 5; W5b (pg 350-351); W7a, b, c; W9; W16b; W18; W27

POND CREEK

 

 

Wallace Co.

This historic stagecoach station was located on the Smoky Hill trail at the mouth of Pond Creek, about 1.5 miles southwest of present day Wallace.  When the Kansas Pacific (now UP) Railroad came through, the stage station relocated about three-quarters of a mile northwest to the railroad line.  Due to Indian attacks, a small military post known as CAMP POND CREEK was established next to the POND CREEK STAGE STATION.  In 1866 that post moved about three miles to the east and north of the Smoky River.  (…SEE Fort Wallace above)

 

The Smoky Hill Trail stretched from David A. Butterfield’s adopted hometown of Atchison, KS to Denver Co., a rough, dangerous 592-mile long road filled with 12 days of “adventure” through rough terrain and unfriendly Native Americans. The first stage coach rolled out on September 11, 1865 but due to bad weather, inability of the army to protect the travelers and continual depredation of Butterfield’s stations and horses, he sold out to a Platte River Road freighter named Ben Holladay.  Holladay had the same issues as Butterfield, so in November of the same year, Holladay sold out to Wells, Fargo & Company.  They operated the line only until February 1867, when they sold to the United States Express Company.  Shortly thereafter, the line folded as the railroad took over most of the business.

 

After the fort relocated and the stage lines stopped running, the location called itself Pond City and acted as a blow-off town with saloons and brothels serving the soldiers at Fort Wallace.  A post office known as Pond Creek operated from November 30, 1868 through April 11, 1870, at which time the town was abandoned and the remaining 40 or so citizens moved to Wallace, along the newly arrived railroad.

 

NOTE: This Butterfield stage line is NOT related to John Warren Butterfield’s famous Butterfield Overland Express Company, which DID NOT run through Kansas.

 

Population figures:

·        1870 -> 2010 - 0

 

LOCATION:

  ORIGINAL SITE (Confluence of Pond Creek/Smoky River)

·        SWC of the NW¼ Sec 25, T13S, R39W, 6PM, Wallace Twp.

·        Latitude: 38.8966762 / 38° 53' 48" N

·        Longitude: -101.6104457 / 101° 36' 38" W

 

  RAILROAD SITE

·        NWC Sec 26, T13S, R39W, 6PM, Wallace Twp.

·        Latitude: 38.9022097 / 38° 54' 02" N

·        Longitude: -101.6294229 / 101° 37' 01" W

 

SOURCES: 

·        14 (pgs 254-258); 25 (pg 252); W2; W7a, b, e;

RICHMOND

Nemaha Co.

The forgotten ghost town of RICHMOND was once a way-station on the Fort Leavenworth Trail, along the west side of the South Fork of the Nemaha River, just south of the confluence with Wildcat Creek, about three miles north of Seneca. It was one of the earliest towns in the county and became an important stopping point along the road, but when traffic rerouted through Seneca later, the old town died.

 

It was originally established as a river crossing on the Fort Leavenworth Trail in the summer of 1855.  The developers quickly built a store room/hotel and store, along with a dozen "shacks" housing saloons and other diversions for travelers.  It also obtained county seat honors, and county business was conducted in the hotel.  On July 11, 1855, the post office opened with Isaac H. Steer as the postmaster.

 

This pro-slavery community quickly engaged in the free-state vs pro-slavery debate, and an active rivalry with a neighboring town called Central City (now a ghost town).  Another free-state town called Seneca was established about two miles to the south in 1857, and the builders there also made a crossing of the river.  The final insult was the Seneca folks sowing grain seed on the trail to Richmond and erecting a sign pointing to their clear trail.  An election was pushed to remove the county seat from Richmond, and in 1858 not only did the voters choose to abolish slavery, they also voted to remove the county seat from Richmond and install it at Seneca.

 

Richmond quickly faded and the post office was discontinued July 12, 1859.

 

Population figures:

·        1860 -> 2010 – 0*

 

LOCATION:

·        NEC of the SE¼ of the SW¼ Sec 14, T2S, R12E, 6PM, Richmond Twp.

·        Latitude: 39.8742112 / 39° 52' 27" N APPROX

·        Longitude: -96.0444437 / 96° 02' 40" W APPROX

 

SOURCES: 

·        W2 (Not listed, but coordinates obtained through it); W3; W4a-nm2; W7a, b; W8e; W13

SANTA FE

Haskell Co.

This class A former county seat is on the northwest corner of the junction of US 83/US 160 (W)/SH 144 (E), six miles north of Sublette, some 50 miles southwest of Dodge City. 

 

Santa Fe was founded in 1886, and named after the famous Santa Fe Trail, which passed about five miles north of the town.  The post office was established on June 16, 1886 and the town was platted on July 31.  Some of the businesses in the fledgling town included: a bakery, two grocery stores, hotel with boarders, laundry, two lumberyards and a restaurant. The population is said to have boomed to 1000 or so, and in mid-1887, the town quickly went into a head-to-head battle with Ivanhoe for the county seat honors when Haskell County was organized on July 1.  Santa Fe received 562 votes, while Ivanhoe got 396.  On January 2, 1888 Santa Fe incorporated as a City of the 3rd Class and boasted a population of “over 350, but less than 2000.”

 

Life was good for a few years, with many more businesses added to its commercial collection:  three banks, a couple more hotels, newspapers, grocery stores, churches and a school were built.  However, with the land rush in nearby Oklahoma and railroads being built elsewhere, by 1910 the population had dropped to 150.  In 1912, it still had a bank, two active newspapers, post office and several stores.

 

In 1913, the ATSF Railroad came through, again bypassing the town.  In that year little remained except the courthouse and a bitter court battle over the relocation of the county seat.  By 1920 most of the town and its buildings had relocated to Sublette or Satanta.  Because Sublette was located along the railroad seven miles to the south of Santa Fe, it obtained the county seat, and Santa Fe quickly declined.  The post office closed on July 31, 1925, and what remained of the town has since faded into oblivion. The site is now a cattle feedlot.

 

In 1906 there was also a 40-acre cemetery.

 

NEWSPAPERS:

Note that there are minor differences in data between the two sources.

The Library of Congress:

·        Haskell County Review (July 2, 1887 - February 1, 1888)

·        Santa Fe Champion (c. May 1887 - c.1888)

·        Santa Fe Leader (c.1886? - c. December 27, 1888)

·        Santa Fe Times (merged with the Monitor 1892-1894)

·        Santa Fe Trail (June 6, 1895 - January 6, 1898)

 

According to W7c the newspapers included:

·        Ivanhoe Times (December 12, 1885 – September 02, 1892) (maybe relocated but did not change the name until 1892?)

·        Times (September 09 – November 18, 1892)

·        Santa Fe Monitor (June 15, 1888 – July 18, 1918)

·        Santa Fe Monitor & Times (December 08, 1892 – April 26, 1894) (In 1892 merged with Times, then in 1894 dropped the Times part of the name)

 

·        Santa Fe Trail (June 11, 1886 – December 23, 1887, June 06, 1895 – January 06, 1898)

·        Santa Fe Champion (May 21, 1887 – May 12, 1888)

·        Haskell County Review (July 2, 1887 - February 1, 1888)

·        Haskell County Republican (#1) (February 08 – May 30, 1888)

·        Santa Fe Leader (April 26 – December 27, 1888)

·        Haskell County Republican (#2) (January 27, 1899 - April 11, 1913)

 

Population figures:

·        1886 – 1000, 1888 - >350 / <2000, 1910 – 150, 1930* -> 2010 - 0

 

LOCATION:

·        NEC of the SE¼ Sec 36, T28S, R33W, 6PM, Haskell Twp.

·        Latitude: 37.5694689 / 37° 34' 10" N

·        Longitude: -100.8712748 / 100° 52' 17" W

 

SOURCES: 

·        25 (pgs 292-294; W2 (Not listed, but coordinates obtained through it); W5b (pg 645); W7a, b, c, d, e; W12 (March 02, 2012) ;

W13; W26hs

STONE CITY

Cherokee Co.

This location is along NW 40th Street, a quarter mile south of NW Weir Road, in the northwest part of the county 5.5 miles southwest of Cherokee (Crawford Co.) and two miles northeast of West Mineral.  It had a post office from June 21, 1900 through July 31, 1918.  In 1912 it was listed in the Cyclopedia of Kansas as a “mining hamlet.”  The mine and general store were owned by the Fidelity Coal Mining Co.  At that time it had a “money-order post office” with F. G. Jessup as the postmaster, and had a population (in 1910) of 25.  GNIS lists it has a Populated Place “Historical” which means nothing remains.  The GNIS Acme Mapper Google Street View shows the stone ruins of some type of a structure, along with an abandoned metal outbuilding on the west side of the road.  This may be the remains of an old farm.

 

Population figures:

·        1910 – 25, 1980 -> 2010 – 0*

 

LOCATION:

·        NW¼ Sec 33, T31S, R23E, 6PM, Ross Twp.

·        Latitude: 37.3072792 / 37° 18' 26" N

·        Longitude: -94.9044072 / 94° 54' 16" W

 

SOURCES: 

·        W2; W5b (pg 768); W7a, b, e; W29ck

SUMNER (CITY)

Atchison Co.

This pioneering Kansas city was located along the Missouri River, three (W4 says 12) miles south of Atchison, and northwest of Kansas City.  It was established in 1855 when the free-staters were kicked out of Atchison.  They established a new community on the bluffs above the Missouri River and in 1856 started marketing.  A post office opened on July 22, 1857 and by 1858 some 2000 residents called the surveyed site of  Sumner home.  It had a large hotel and even a wagon & implement factory.  Sumner proved to be a formidable rival to Atchison, and was larger, but in the county seat election of October 1858 the honors for county seat were awarded to Atchison by a vote of 656 to 213, with 191 other votes split up among three other towns.  Even so, Sumner advertised itself as being in the best location to explore northern Kansas, and even had good hotel accommodations.

 

The Sumner Gazette newspaper, operated off and on with minor name changes from at least September 12, 1857 through August 27, 1859, and then again between September 16 and November 19, 1871. 

 

The loss of the county seat election caused Sumner to fade, and when the railroad went to Atchison rather than Sumner, the death knell sounded.  In 1860 a tornado ripped through the heart of the remaining town and pretty much wiped it off the face of the earth.  The post office was discontinued on January 28, 1868, but reopened on June 29, 1868, closing again for good January 03, 1870.

 

The now forgotten site of this ghost town is on private property and has no remains.

 

Population figures:

·        1858 – 2000 (approx), 1880 -> 2010 - 0

 

LOCATION:

·        NW¼ of the NE¼ Sec 19, T6S, R21E, 6PM, WalnutTwp.

·        Latitude: 39.5194409 / 39° 31' 10" N

·        Longitude: -95.1113567 / 95° 06' 41" W

 

SOURCES: 

·        25 (pgs ix-x, xi, 20-23); W2; W3; W4a-at2, 4; W7a, b, c, e;

THURMAN

Chase Co.

It was located north of Thurman Creek, just south of present day Thurman Creek Road, 18.5 AIR miles south of Cottonwood Falls (County Seat), 4.7 AIR miles southeast of Matfield Green, one mile north of the intersection of Chase/Butler/Greenwood county lines.  The GNIS aerial photo shows it located on the edge of a farm field, just east of a present day farm.  NOTHING is visible on the photo.

 

This former settlement was founded in 1874 and had a post office established on August 24 of that year.  In 1882, it was listed as a country post office in Bazaar Township.  In 1900, it was a “prosperous farming and ranching settlement,” and had a the following businesses: blacksmith, a church, two general stores, post office, five schools (*21) and 51 households.

 

 By 1900 decline had set in, and the post office was discontinued on January 31, 1909.  The 1910 census listed a population of 30, and in 1912 it was listed as a “little inland hamlet” with a daily stage to Matfield Green.  By 1944 it was pretty much dead, as the school was then closed.

 

 

Population figures:

·        1910 – 30, 1940 -> 2010 - 0

 

LOCATION:

·        NWC of the NE¼ of the NW¼ Sec 34, T22S, R8E, 6PM, Matfield GreenTwp.

·        Latitude: 38.1008519 / 38° 06' 03" N

·        Longitude: -96.5169547 / 96° 31' 01" W

 

SOURCES: 

·        21; W2; W4a-cs1; W5b (pg 808); W7a, b, e;

·        63 (86, 95, 02 – Q/24); W2; W7a, b

TREECE

Cherokee Co.

TREECE is located in the extreme southeast corner of the state, right on the border with Oklahoma and 12 miles west of the Missouri border.  It is 0.7 miles west of US 69, BUT the site is closed off and not accessible.

 

During the first decades of the 20th Century, TREECE was a typical timeframe boomtown.  The post office was established on December 10, 1917,  and the town quickly grew with the fortunes of the mines.  In 1922, the Treece Booster (newspaper) operated a short time between February 16 and March 09, 1922.  In 1930, Treece, was a booming lead-zinc mining town in the Joplin, MO-Miami, OK Tri-State Mining District.  It had around 750 people and enough businesses to keep them all supplied. 

 

After WWII mining slowed, as did TREECE.  The Post Office (66778) was discontinued on March 06, 2004, according to the US Postal Service.

 

Just as PICHER (OK) fell victim to the environmental problems associated with the mines here, so did TREECE.  As a result, the town was forced to shut down.   By 2011 only one building remained and it disincorporated on April 05, 2012.  By June 2012, the site was off limits and had a population of zero, except Wikipedia indicates 2 people remained, stubborn holdouts from EPA buyout attempts.  The site has become another Superfund site set for environmental cleanup. 

 

A few buildings remained at the junction of US 69 with the state line, but a recent view on Google Street View shows the building on the west side of the highway, and just south of the state line has been torn down. 

 

For more details, see our PICHER OK page (encompasses Treece in the vignette for Picher.)

 

Population figures:

·        1930 – 749, 1950 – 378, 1970 – 225, 1980 – 194, 1990 – 172, 2000 – 149, 2010 – 138, 2012 – 0 (disincorporated)

·        According to treecekansas.com the peak population was 991.  (1920??? – my question)

 

LOCATION:

·        W½ Sec 13, T35S, R24E, 6PM

·        Latitude: 37.0004851 / 37° 00' 02" N

·        Longitude: -96.8436929 / 96° 50' 37" W

 

SOURCES: 

·        63 (86, 95, 02 – Q/24); W2; W7a, b; W9; PV (June 23, 2012)

VESTA

Clark Co.

Another class A-1880s boomtown located nine miles north of Englewood (2 miles south of jct with US 160???) and just off US 283.

 

Vesta was established by Harry W. Henry and several other developers in May 1885, and a post office and several businesses were quickly established.  A store was established by W.Y and Charles I. Peck, the brothers who were later in 1885 involved in a shooting in Englewood.  They were fined $500.  In June it was a designated voting precinct even though it never had more than two or three buildings.  Like other boom towns of the era, it had no viable economy and by 1888 Vesta was a memory.

 

The post office operated from July 10, 1885 with Harry Henry as the first postmaster.  It became a part of Clark County when it was carved out of Ford County in 1886 and operated through March 31, 1891.

 

Population figures:

·        1980 -> 2010 - 0

 

LOCATION:  (NEC of the junction US 283/CR V)

·        SWC Sec 18, T33S, R24W, 6PM, Englewood Twp. APPROX

·        Latitude: 37.1664399 / 37° 09' 59" N APPROX

·        Longitude: -99.9815454 / 99° 58' 54" W APPROX

 

SOURCES: 

·        52a (pgs 22, 49); 52b (pgs 31, 65); 52d (pgs 17, 19, 21, 22); W2; W7a, b, e;

WALLACE

Wallace Co.

When the Union Pacific Railroad came through in July 1868, Fort Wallace was an important army post, so a station was established and named after the fort.  The first school (a “subscription” school) in the county was established here in 1869, and the first church – Wallace Catholic Church – was founded in 1877.   The Wallace Post Office was established August 15, 1872, and was still open in 2002 (67761).  However it is NOT listed on the USPS active post office roster for 2015. 

There is nearby ghostly Fort Wallace, Monument Station and Pond Creek Station. All these places were besieged by Cheyenne Indians before they
were discontinued. The town of Wallace pops up out of nowhere
in some of the prettiest Western Kansas terrain you will see any-
where. The town was big in its day-- perhaps as many as 1,500
people when the railroad first went through. It had the largest
store between Kansas City and Denver-- the Robidoux Store. The
place went downhill thru most of the 20th century, and it remains an
intriguing ghost. Walk around Main Street and you can almost
hear the ghosts following you. Great photo opportunities. The
only negative mark is the Robidoux Store no longer exists. It is
nothing but a depression in the sod. Other than that, enjoy  (W18)

Get info from Cyclopedia

 

Newspapers:

·        Wallace County News (June 12, 1885 – November 27, 1887)

·        Wallace County Register (January 02, 1886 – March 15, 1890)

·        Western Kansas Rustler (August 17 – September 30, 1886)

·        Wallace Weekly Herald (March 10, 1888 – February 23, 1889)

·        Wallace County Gazette (June 04, 1890 – February 04, 1891)

·        Wallace County Index (March 09 – August 03, 1906)

 

Population figures:

·        1880 - 173, 1890 - 220, 1940 – 102, 1950 – 111, 1960 – 110, 1970 - 112, 1980 - 86, 1990 - 75, 2000 - 67, 2010 - 57

 

LOCATION:  (NEC of the junction US 283/CR V)

·        SWC Sec 18, T33S, R24W, 6PM, Englewood Twp.

·        Latitude: 38.9126532 / 38° 54' 46" N

·        Longitude: -101.5929897 / 101° 35' 35" W

 

SOURCES: 

·        63 (86, 95, 02 – J/3); 69 (D/1); W5b (pg 676 [Ft. Wallace], 868); W7a, b, c, d (Wallace Co.); W9; W18;

ZEANDALE

Riley Co.

ZEANDALE was established in the mid 1850s when settlers began arriving in 1855.  The town was laid out shortly afterwards and a post office was established in the home of J.H. Pillsbury.  D.M. Adams was the appointed postmaster.  In 1858 a Congregational church was organized, and construction began on a church building.  It was not completed.  The first school was taught in the Pillsbury home.  In 1859, the first public school was taught in an outbuilding on the land of Abner Allen.  The schoolhouse was built in 1862, a hexagonal log structure known as the Conic Section.

 

In 1912, it was located on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad eight miles east of Manhattan, and had an express office, post office and telegraph office.

 

“There are still a few people living there last I knew. I went to first grade and fourth grade at the school that was there. I lived in the house across the street from it. Right next door, Paul Richards had his grocery store/butcher store. I grew up with his girls Rexene and Lori. I also went to church in the big church just a couple of blocks away. Lot of fond memories.”

Contributed by Lori Bjorling-Ford, October 18, 2008

 

It is located at the junction of Tabor Valley Road/SH 18 (Zeandale Road), two miles west of the Riley/Wabaunsee County line and 1.5 miles south of the river.  A post office operated here from June 29, 1857 through March 16, 1868.  It was re-established on August 27, 1884 and finally discontinued on December 31, 1944.  (GBS)

 

40-acre cemetery

 

Population figures:

·        1870 – ,  1910 – 75, 1930 – N/L, 1970 – , 1980 – 45, 1990 –50, 2000 - 50, 2010 –

 

LOCATION:

·        SEC Sec 20, SWC Sec 21, NEC Sec 29, T10S, R9E, 6PM, Zeandale Twp.

·        Latitude: 39.1594419 / 39° 09' 34" N

·        Longitude: -96.4266661 / 96° 25' 36" W

 

SOURCES: 

·        43E; 63 (86, 95, 02 – I/19); 69 (C/9); W2; W4a-rl2; W5b (pg 954); W7a, b; W8f

NOTES

1.   Population figures or years shown with an * are assumed, based on other data.

 

2.   Kansas has a different method of classifying its incorporated cities than most states.  ALL incorporated communities are considered cities and they fall into three different classes.  These are:

·        City of the 1st Class:  Population of 15,000 or more.

·        City of the 2nd Class:  Population between 2000 and less than 15,000.  Existing Cities of the 2nd Class may elect to remain so until their population exceeds 25,000, at which time they MUST reincorporate as a City of the 1st Class.

·        City of the 3rd Class:  Minimum population of 300 to incorporate.  The community must also provide water and sewer service to platted lots.  In the past, the minimum population required for incorporation was lower.  Existing Cities of the 3rd Class may elect to remain so until their population exceeds 5000, at which time they MUST reincorporate as a City of the 2nd Class.

 

MORE INFORMATION

 

Historians estimate that there may be as many as 50,000 ghost towns scattered across the United States of America.

Gary B. Speck Publications is in process of publishing unique state, regional, and county guides called

The Ghost Town Guru's Guide to the Ghost Towns of “STATE”

These original guides are designed for anybody interested in ghost towns. Whether you are a casual tourist looking for a new and different place to visit, or a hard-core ghost town researcher, these guides will be just right for you. With over 30 years of research behind them, they will be a welcome addition to any ghost towner's library.

Thank you, and we'll see you out on the Ghost Town Trail!

 

For more information on the ghost towns of KANSAS, contact us at

Ghost Town USA.

 

E-mailers, PLEASE NOTE:

Due to the tremendous amount of viruses, worms and “spam,” out there, I no longer open or respond to e-mails with unsolicited attachments, OR messages on the subject lines with “Hey”, “Hi”, “Need help”, “Help Please”, “???”, or blank subject lines, etc.  If you do send E-mail asking for information, or sharing information, PLEASE indicate the appropriate location AND state name, or other topic on the “subject” line.

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IMPORTANT

 

These listings and historical vignettes of ghost towns, near-ghost towns and other historical sites in KANSAS above are for informational purposes only, and should NOT be construed to grant permission to trespass, metal detect, relic or treasure hunt at any of the listed sites.

 

If the reader of this guide is a metal detector user and plans to use this guide to locate sites for metal detecting or relic hunting, it is the READER'S responsibility to obtain written permission from the legal property owners. Please be advised, that any state or nationally owned sites will probably be off-limits to metal detector use. Also be aware of any federal, state or local laws restricting the same.

When you are exploring the ghost towns of KANSAS, please abide by the

Ghost Towner's Code of Ethics.

 

 

Also visit: Ghost Town USA’s

 

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First Posted:  April 16, 2001

Last Updated: December 06, 2015

 

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