Sunday, December 28, 2014

Saunders, Kansas, a dead town in Stanton County


Looking into Kansas. Saunders is in the background

Saunders, notice the dust storm haze.


The little border stop greets you as you enter Kansas -- along with a windshield of dust.


And on this late summer day, it seems, the dust is especially bad at Saunders, which sits right next to the Colorado border along a stretch of Highway 160 that, for miles, is nearly empty of people.


But for Minnie Watson, the whirling earth she experienced here during the 1930s was much worse than today. She and her family moved to Saunders in 1937. She was in second grade.


Her family had left Plains, Kansas -- an area still plagued by dust storms, although it wasn't quite in the heart of it like Stanton County. In a time when jobs were hard to come by, her father had secured the position of elevator manager for the Collingwood Co.


They moved into Saunders' single residence, which also was the elevator scale house and office.


Here, their power was from the wind, she said. While they had enough for lights and radio, it wasn't enough, though, to power a refrigerator or washer, which they had left behind at Plains.


It took a little while for the family to adjust to the stark landscape. Upon seeing their new home, "my mother cried and cried."


"It wasn't quite as dusty at Plains," Watson, 86, of Manter, recalls. "But at Saunders, it was just dirt."
To read the full story on Saunders, click here.

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