Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Saratoga, Kansas - a video of Dorotha Giannangelo telling the story of the town

Here Here's a video of 91-year-old Dorotha Giannangelo - a Pratt County historian and author of five historical books about the county. She talked to me about the dead town of Saratoga, which was part of a 10-year battle Pratt County seat. Saratoga lost. Pratt won. And today, Saratoga is history. The story of Saratoga is one she learned from her father, J. Rufus Gray, who wrote the book “Pioneer Saints and Sinners.” But, Giannangelo notes, it is a story that has faded with time. Most who travel the paved road to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s operations office just a half-mile south of the Barkers’ farmstead would never know there ever was a town here that once supported nearly 600 people. There is no evidence left that they are driving on one of Saratoga’s main roads or that they go right by where Saratoga’s square once sat. And, yet, she adds, there are a few deep-rooted Pratt families who can’t forget the turbulent history, either. “There are still hard feelings,” she said, rattling off a few names of those still bitter 130 years later that the battle for the county seat didn’t go a different way.

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