Friday, February 1, 2013

Acres, Kansas, a dead town in Clark County

On a rare warm day in January, I ventured to Clark County, Kansas, known for its red buttes and cattle. Here, on the Angle Road between Ashland and Englewood, I was led to this little town known as Acres. It's now owned by Frantz Betschart - who was my tour guide on this day.

This schoolhouse closed in 1935.

The school is among the remaining buildings in the town with a population of zero. The one remaining home has sat vacant for several years.

Inside the old school. Frantz Betschart said he went to 4-H club meetings here before it closed for good.

The old general store.

The post office building still stands. Raymond Lunsford had pulled it back off the road, but someone still came and stole its insides, including the boxes. Acres had a post office from 1909 to 1954.

Someone also stole the merry go round at the school. All that remains is this pole.

It was first dubbed Manning Station in 1887 – named after the conductor of the train, according to a Clark County history book.

The name changed to Acres in 1889 when it was discovered there was a railroad station by the same name on the line from Great Bend to Scott City, according to a writings of Isaiah Burket, one of the county’s earliest pioneers. A woman who was heading to the other Manning found herself in Clark County, instead.

“Stepping from the train at this little flag station, she looked about and said ‘Nothing but Acres,’ and from that day the place has been known as Acres,” Burket wrote.

Acres had the freight train to move cattle, grain, feed and coal and a passenger train to carry people, groceries and mail. The first post office was established in 1909, according to the Kansas State Historical Society.

Businesses included a hotel, general store, lumberyard and blacksmith. There also were at least a couple elevators at Acres.

The 1910 census reported a population of 30.