Nestled on the south bank
of Walnut Creek,
Timken got its start When the
& Santa Fe Railroad
construction west from Great Bend in 1886. The land was owned by Henry H.
Timken, an inventor who had made a fortune and speculated in lands among future
railroad sites, including 4,800 acres near what would become the new settlement.
When Timken sold the land to the Railroad Town Site Company,
one condition was the the town would have to be named for him. The site company
agreed and soon laid out lots along the proposed railroad. In 1887 the depot was
built but no other lots were sold. However, there was evidently enough
population in the surrounding area to support a post office which was opened on
July 23, 1888.
However, that changed a decade later, when a merchant
purchased most of the town sites and opened a general store to serve the many
immigrant settlers from Czechoslovakia, Bohemia, and Moravia, who had come to
the United States. He immediately established a real estate office to sell
parcels of land and worked with the railroad to make an appealing program that
offered discounted fares for prospective settlers to travel west to inspect the
land. If they purchased a parcel of land, the ticket price was applied toward
the sale price of the land.
Though the idea worked to a certain extent, it was probably
not nearly as successful as the merchant had hoped. However, in 1904 a community
hall and a Catholic Church were built and the following year a lumber company
By 1910, the community still only had a population of about
50, but had gained a mill, a grain elevator and several retail establishments. A
bank was organized in 1913 and the town slowly grew to a point that it was
incorporated as a city in June, 1930.
Though the town never grew very large, the railroad continued
to provide passenger and freight service and in the mid-1970s, the depot was
abandoned. The Rush County Historical Society then stepped in and purchased the
wooden building which was moved to
La Crosse in 1975. Today, the old building
serves as the Rush County Historical Museum.
Timken is called home to only about 80 people. A beautiful National Bohemian
Cemetery is located south of the community.
Timken is located about seven miles east of
Rush Center, just
off Kansas Highway 96.
of Kansas, updated March, 2017.