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Carneiro - A Tidy Little Ghost Town
Located about 12 miles east of Ellsworth, is the
tiny little city and mostly ghost town of Carneiro. It got its start as a stop on the
Smoky Hill Trail in 1866 when
the Kansas City and Santa Fe Stage and Mail Line began to travel from Kansas
City to Denver. Called Alum Creek Station, it was established at the point where
Smoky Hill Trail crossed Alum
Creek. A post office called Alum Creek was established in December, 1872.
Though a few settlers came to the area, it would not be until Edward W.
Wellington came to
in the late 1870’s that a town would be established.
Massachusetts-born Wellington, a Harvard graduate, purchased 12,000 acres of
land in Ellsworth County and began to develop an extensive sheep operation which
he named the Monte Carneiro Ranch.
An old store in Carneiro, Kathy Weiser, March, 2009.
word “Carneiro” means sheepfold or mutton in Portuguese. Over the next several
years he returned to Boston several times and married a woman named Clara
Edwards in 1879. He also brought back to
Kansas with him, several friends from
Boston and Harvard, as his new associates. One of the largest ranches in central
Kansas, Wellington built a number of houses and buildings to accommodate
himself, friends, and employees.
1882, Wellington, along with his associates and other area ranchers established
the townsite along the Union Pacific Railroad as a shipping point for their
livestock. The town's name was officially changed to Carneiro in June, 1882.
Before long, stockyards, a hotel, and three general stores were built. In 1885,
a school building was constructed. The United Methodist congregation held
services in the basement and the Christian Church held services on the main
1895, the Methodists built a new church, which still stands and welcomes members
today. In 1910, the village boasted a money order post office, telegraph and
express offices, a couple of general stores, a Methodist and Christian church,
and 76 people.
1916, a new school was built, which served all grades up until the early 1940’s.
Afterwards, it served only as a grade school until the 1960’s when it was closed
for good. On September 30, 1953, Carneiro's post office closed its doors for the
Today, less than a dozen people live in this sleepy little town, its stores and
school are closed; but, the United Methodist Church continues on with about 20
people in attendance each Sunday. Also gone are the large sheep ranches,
replaced today with cattle and wheat fields. Many old farming towns, once their
businesses are closed and most of the homes are abandoned, take on a disheveled,
tired, haphazard appearance – often filled with rusting vehicles and farm
implements. Not so – Carneiro. Though there are numerous abandoned buildings,
this small town is surprisingly tidy, with many mowed lawns and manicured homes.
Carneiro Cemetery is about a mile west of town.
of Kansas, updated October, 2013.
The Carneiro School operated from 1916 until the 1960's, but, has
since sat abandoned. Kathy Weiser, March, 2009.
looks as if it was a very fine house once upon a time,
Weiser, March, 2009.
From Legends' General Store
America Kansas DVD -
Kansas Wheat Tour, Cessna Aircraft, Dodge City, Smoky Hill
Bison Co, Monument Rocks., Fossil detectives at Keystone Gallery, Kansas
Wheat House. Brass Artist Tracy Hett, M.T. Liggett's roadside art, Kansas
Underground Salt Museum, OZ Museum, Sedan's yellow brick road, Rawhide
artist Jay Adcock, Profile of Proto-Kaw, reformed version of band