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Barnard - Falling On Hard Times

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A small town in Scott Township of Lincoln County, Barnard is located near the northern boundary of the county about 12 miles from Lincoln, the county seat. Though mostly quiet today, it was once listed as one of the principal communities in the area, being the terminus of the Barnard line of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad.


The area surrounding what would become Barnard was first settled by cattlemen about 1868. When Kansas Territory was opened to settlers, a number of sod shanties and dugouts were built in the area, by would-be homesteaders.


Barnard, Kansas in the early 1900s.

Barnard, Kansas in the early 1900s.

In the spring of 1887, when a new branch of the Santa Fe Railroad was being graded, it was first thought that a town would be started near the center of Salt Creek Township, as they had voted for bonds and Scott Township had not.


A number of locals who were interested in the probable site for the new town, began to build on the late Dan Saunders farm, in Salt Creek Township, about three and one-half miles east and one south of the present site of Barnard.


The Baker brothers from Asherville were the first to build on the probable townsite, establishing a lumber yard just across the road from the old Saunders residence. The “to-be” settlement was called Milo.

But the Santa Fe Railroad had different ideas and when it became evident that their depot would be located in Scott Township, immediately two townsites were plotted, one on the west edge of Salt Creek Township, the other just across the township line in Scott Township.


The majority of the community that would become Barnard was first surveyed and laid out in September, 1887 by the Kaw Valley Town Company who priced the lots from$60 to $300. The town was named for John Fiske Barnard, a general manager for one of the Santa Fe Railroad's operating divisions at the time the Barnard branch was built.


Another development, called Nealeigh, owned by a local man named Mr. Loy was established in Salt Creek Township, with lot prices ranging from $20 to $60.


The Lincoln Beacon, of September 22, 1887, reported on the disparaging differences in prices and encouraged the locals to do business with Mr. Loy, rather than giving their money to a company not located in the county.

Within no time, an interesting rivalry sprung up between the promoters of the two townsites and the area dividing them was soon dubbed the neutral strip. The Nealeigh site was also facetiously called “Slabtown.”



The first business enterprise secured by either of the two rival sites was the Baker Bros. Lumber Yard, which was moved from the Saunders place in Milo to Barnard.

The first general store; however, was opened in Nealeigh by W.D. Snapp and his son-in-law, Marion Loy, who bought out a store that had been established in Milo. The first residence built in Nealeigh was occupied by Ross Wilcox, manager of the lumber company.

By the summer of 1887, Nealeigh held the edge over nearby Barnard, when more buildings were moved from Milo and new ones were built, including a general store and a livery stable.



Continued Next Page

East side of Main Street, Barnard Kansas

The east side of Main Street in Barnard has not faired well. Across the street; however, the post office and a bank are still in business, Kathy Weiser, March, 2009.

This image available for photo prints & downloads HERE!

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