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Ghost Town USA’s

Guide to the Ghost Towns of

KANSAS

“The Sunflower State

 

 

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GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM

 

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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 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 since the end of WW II, many completely dying, with their boots still on.  These 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 criss-crossing 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.  This eliminates the need for many small towns, and their supporting stores and businesses.

           

The Kansas State Historical Society estimates that over 700 ghosts dot the prairie of the Sunflower State.  That is 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!

 

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 (PHOTO!), please use your browser’s “BACK” button to return to this page.  More photos will be added over time.

 

THE GHOSTS

 

ALBANY HILL

Nemaha Co.

An 1857-1871 era railroad town about 2.5 miles north of Sabetha, a half mile south of the junction of X4 Road/208th Road, and a mile west of US 75 (Acorn Road) at a point three miles north of Sabetha.  Sabetha 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 what appears to be a cluster of several farms where the topo shows the Albany School.  The cemetery is located on 208th Road, about 0.3 miles west of the junction.  The Albany Historical Museum is located on the northwest corner of the junction.

 

·        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

APPLETON

Clark Co.

A class A – late 1880s boomtown located a mile southeast of Minneola, which is at the junction of US 54 and 283, 21 miles south of Dodge City.  Nine months after it was founded, Appleton had a barbershop, two blacksmiths, six grocery/feed stores, two hotels, two meat markets, a weekly newspaper (the Appleton Era) and a restaurant.  When the railroad came through, it missed the town by a mile and a station called Minneola was established a mile northwest of the town.  Today Minneola has over 700 people, and Appleton is a barren site.

BURDICK

Morris Co.

During the 1880s, this class D community sixty miles southeast of Salina was a wide-open cow town, with all the amenities needed to entertain cowboys.  In 1990 the census found Burdick a sleepy little community of 70 folks.

CLARK CITY

Clark Co.

This class A - 1880s boomtown was located several miles north of Ashland, but the exact location is not determined.  Clark City was born in June 1884, the first town established in present Clark Co. It had many businesses, including a church, drug store, newspaper and three restaurants.  In early 1885, Ashland was established, quickly eclipsing Clark City.  When Clark County formed, the county seat moved to Ashland, and Clark City died.

DONIPHAN

Doniphan Co.

Today this class D rural community is along the Missouri River in the northeast corner of the state, four miles northeast of Atchison and 18 AIR miles southwest of St. Joseph, Missouri.  Founded in 1854, this busy Missouri River port bustled until a bridge was built across the river.

ENGLEWOOD

 

Numerous

PHOTOS!

Clark Co.

In 1990, this class D-agricultural community had a population of 96.  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 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.

Also known as Camp on Pond Creek, this pioneer military fort was built along the Smokey Hill Trail around 1865 to protect settlers against the Indians.  The fort was located along the south fork of the Smoky Hill River, and was abandoned by 1882.

FREDERICK

Rice Co.

This class D-agricultural town had 29 people in 1980, and only 18 in 1990.  It is on SH 4, 15 miles east of US 56 at Claflin, which is 15 miles northeast of Great Bend.  It was founded in 1878, and by the early 1900s was a booming agricultural center.  In 1934 fire destroyed most of the town, and it never regained its vigor.

FREEPORT

Harper Co.

This class D-agricultural town is in the eastern part of the county six miles south of US 60.  With only eight people living here in 1980, it is the smallest incorporated town in Kansas.  Some of the remaining buildings include a 1902 bank, grain elevator and a 60 member Presbyterian church. 

GENEVA

Allen Co.

Founded in 1857, this agricultural colony was in the northwestern part of the county, north of the Neosho River, between Martin and Indian creeks. It once had about 100 people and had a blacksmith shop, post office and store.  It grew slowly, but when the railroad came through in the 1870s, it missed Geneva, which then faded into oblivion.  Actual location not determined.

HECTOR

Greeley Co.

This forgotten, 1870s boomtown was located four miles northwest of Tribune, halfway between Leoti and the state line.  Hector was another typical community vying for the county seat – and failing.  The population then relocated to the winning town (Tribune), leaving a faded ghost.

LANESFIELD/McCAMISH

Johnson Co.

This class A-agricultural town was three miles from Edgarton, which is on US 56, 40 miles southwest of Kansas City.  Exact location not determined.  It was laid out in 1860, but when the railroad came through it missed the site by three miles, so the town and its neighbor McCamish (1/2 mile away) moved to the tracks, and Edgarton was founded.

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.  In the early 1890s the blacksmith moved to Minneola and the storekeeper/postmaster relocated to Ashland, leaving the town abandoned.

MINNEOLA

Franklin Co.

This class B-agricultural community was near Ottawa, south of Lawrence. (Do not confuse with the Minneola in Clark Co.)  In the 1870s, Minneola had a population in excess of 800 and had a large business district.  It was a serious contender for the territorial capital, but when Lawrence became territorial capital, Minneola faded, and today its site almost totally lost.

RICHMOND

Nemaha Co.

This forgotten ghost was once a way-station on the Oregon Trail, along the South Fork of the Nemaha River, about three miles north of Seneca.  It became an important stopping point along the road, but when traffic rerouted through Seneca later, the old town died.

SANTA FE

Haskell Co.

This class B-former county seat was north of Santanta, which is on US 56, 58 miles southwest of Dodge City.  It was founded in 1886, and quickly boomed to 1000 people.   It was awarded county seat honors, and remained the seat for 33 years until 1920, when it lost the honors to nearby Sublette.  It has since faded into oblivion.

SILVER CITY

Woodson Co.

This class B- “silver” mining town was near Yates Center, 50 miles north of Independence.             In the 1850s, what was thought to be silver was discovered.  A rush occurred, buildings went up and mining shafts went down.  When the ore turned out to not be silver, the mines closed and the town folded.  Exact location not determined.

STONE CITY

Cherokee Co.

This location is in the northwest part of the county between Cherokee and West Mineral.  Not much remains.  It had a post office from June 21, 1900 through July 31, 1918.  Actual location not determined.

SUMNER

Atchison Co.

The now forgotten site of this ghost town was destroyed by a tornado in 1860.  At that time it had 3,000 people.  It was located along the Missouri River, three miles south of Atchison, and northwest of Kansas City.

VESTA

Clark Co.

Another class A-1880s boomtown.  This one was located nine miles north of Englewood and just off US 283.  Vesta was founded in May 1885, and a post office and several businesses were quickly established, and like other boom towns of the era, it had no viable economy.  By 1888 Vesta was a memory.

ZEANDALE

Riley Co.

“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 just west of the Riley/Wabaunsee County line south of the river.  In 2000 it had 50 people.  (GBS)

 

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.

THANK YOU!  :o)

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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A few LINKS to outside webpages:

Ghost Towns | Treasure Hunting | License Plate Collecting | Genealogy

 

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First Posted:  April 16, 2001

Last Updated: August 07, 2010

 

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