LEGENDS OF KANSAS

 

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Extinct Towns of Ford County, Kansas

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Kansas droughtFord County Extinct Towns

 

Bellefont

Howell

Lasker

Windhorst 

More Extinct Towns  

 

Bellefont - Long before the village of Bellefont was officially established, it had a post office that first opened in April, 1878. A town was officially platted in July, 1885 by J.A. Cline and George M. Hoover, land owners, who believed that it would become a railhead for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. However, the railroad did not build a junction there as was hoped for and the community never developed very much. It did sustain for several years as a small farming community, once boasting a general store, a grocery store and a depot in its early years. By 1896, the post office was closed, but it reopened in 1904. By 1910, the population was just 40, but the town served as a shipping and supply point for that part of the county. The town's post office closed forever in June, 1957. Situated about 22 miles northeast of Dodge City on Highway 50, today there are but a few farms and a grain elevator.

Howell - Originally known as Morrison Station, the town was yet another railroad stop. It gained its first post office in June, 1886, but it closed two years later in October, 1888. The boom years for this town were in the 1880's and early 1890's as the population reached 150 people. A post office opened again in November, 1895 but would close two years later in April 1897. It once again got a post office in 1909, but closed in 1916 when rural mail service began in Ford County. The village itself has all but disappeared except for the grain elevator and county rural fire station.

 

Lasker - In the 1870's a Jewish group formed in Russia to come to America to get away from the unrest occurring there at the time. Around 1884, some 17 immigrants originally planned to settle at the Montefiore Colony in Pratt County. However, when they arrived, no no land was available, so they continued westward landing in Ford County. Settling about 6-10 miles from Ford, they planned a utopian farming community. By the spring of 1887 there were some 200 people living on about nine square miles. The exact location is unknown. Why Lasker died is also unknown, but the years 1888-1891 they faced extremely difficult weather and many claims were sold. By 1891, the settlement was gone.

 

Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Windthorst, KansasWindthorst - In 1872, a German Catholic group was formed in Cincinnati, Ohio called the German Catholic Aurora Homestead Association. Wanting to find better opportunities and form their own town, they corresponded with a priest from Newton, Kansas. The priest then worked with a land agent from the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad to find available land. Before long, the railroad offered ten sections of land for $10.00 an acre at a site about ten miles southwest of Offerle, in Ford County, Kansas.

The railroad planned to extend their line to the new town and donated 80 acres for a town site in 1877. The town was mapped out with the locations of the school, church and cemetery in 1878. In the spring of 1879, the first Immaculate Heart of Mary Church and parish buildings were completed. The church was blessed on Easter Sunday by Father Ferdinand Wolf, the Benedictine priest who came to minister to the spiritual needs of Windthorst in May, 1878. Though the village was settled, the promised Santa Fe Railroad leg from Offerle was never constructed, and as a result, a business district never developed in the settlement. However, a community formed around the church, school and parish hall. The settlement gained a post office in 1898, but by 1905, it was closed. In 1910 the town itself had a population of only 10 people. However, the surrounding population was much higher, and the congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church had reached some 395 members, which required a new church. Before long, work was began on the beautiful brick church, which was dedicated on June 12, 1913. Up until July, 1997, the church still served an active congregation; however, at that time, the Diocese of Dodge City was forced to close the church, due to a low membership and a shortage of priests. The former congregation then established a non profit organization to care for the building, which is today listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The church can be visited daily and donations are much appreciated. The church is located about ten miles southeast of Spearville. Its address is 10845 131 Spur Road, Spearville, Kansas 67876.

 

 

 

More Extinct Towns

 

Town

Post Office Dates Additional Information from Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, 1912, and the Kansas State Historical Society

 

Corbitt or Corbett 1885-1887 Located on the Cannon Ball Stage line from  Wichita, Corbitt was located just two miles north of Bucklin. There were only 3-4 homes built there and when the railroad went to Bucklin, the post office was moved there in 1887.
Crooked Creek 1870-1886

Eugene 1886-1887  
Fonda 1885-1890

Fonda, located just north of of Corbitt, was a proposed station on the Wichita and Dodge City Railroad.

 

Fort Atkinson 1851-1853 Moved to Walnut Creek near present-day Great Bend and the post office changed names. Was also in Washington County for a time. The first Fort Atkinson was situated on the Santa Fe Trail about six miles west of present-day Dodge City. In 1853, the troops stationed there were transferred to Walnut Creek. The original name was resumed in 1855.
Hazelwood 1878-1879  
Manila 1898-1899  
Morrison 1886-1888  
Newkirk, aka Colcord 1887-1888

Name changed from Colcord in 1887. Post office moved to Kingsdown.

 

Noland or Nolan 1887-1893 Started around 1882 as a country store and later gained a post office.
Reinert 1908-1917  
Ricka 1885-1886  
Sears None Never more than a telegraph station and a rural schoolhouse.
Sidlow 1885-1886  
Sodville None  
Snyder 1886-1899  
Sunshine 1885-1886  
Whitman 1885-1889  
Wilburn 1885-1911  
Wilroads 1909-1922   
     

 

Compiled by Kathy Weiser/Legends of Kansas, updated March, 2017.

 

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