Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hopewell, Kansas, a Pratt County Ghost Town

Hopewell started in 1904 as a post office. The post office closed in 1908. The post office again opened by 1916, with the town taking the name of Fravel. The Fravel post office changed to Hopewell in 1921. The town soon began to grow, springing up with the railroad. Ninety-one-year-old Geraldine McAhren, of Byers, who grew up in Hopewell and is Giles' aunt, said the Farmer's State Bank of Hopewell opened for business about the same time as the name change.

The town also had a general store, a hotel, elevators, a blacksmith, a hardware store and lumberyard. The bank housed the post office until it closed in the mid-1920s, she said. Fun included going to school and church, McAhren said. A local couple, Roy and Mina Hodson, befriended her. She would sit on their laps at church and, when she was older, was in a quartet with Roy.

Other activities included rabbit hunts, wrote Kansas ghost town author Daniel Fitzgerald. For instance, Hopewell's two lodges had a wager for an oyster dinner to see who could get the most rabbits. The winning team corralled more than 700 rabbits and herded them to a buyer at Byers. The buyer paid 75 cents each for jackrabbits and 35 cents apiece for cottontails. Yet, while there were signs of prospering in the beginning, little Hopewell never took off.

Hopewell Cemetery
Sheep populate Hopewell these days.

A structure in the trees

Monday, May 9, 2011

Buda, Kansas - Ness County

Buda Cemetery - now a gathering place on Memorial Day

Marker shows thelocation of Buda school.

Buda's first school

Buda's second school.

A windmill at the cemetery
BUDA - There was not much in this little spot when Earl McVicker's ancestors first homesteaded here, a family with three children at the time, all living in a small dugout on a parcel of untouched prairie.

Buda, however, didn't have to be big to be a gathering place for area farmers and others - a place where residents met for potlucks and songs. The town of sorts did once have a hotel, a grocery and a post office in the 1800s, and of course, founders had dreams of it getting bigger. 

Aulne, Kansas - Marion County

By Amy Bickel - The Hutchinson News - abickel@hutchnews.com

AULNE - Karen Penner sometimes wonders what Aulne would have been like if the vote had gone the other way. On this spring day, she stood amid the town's main drag with high school classmate Eugene Just. Brush and trees cover an area where businesses once stood - old stores that have long been carted off. Along with a dozen or so houses, only the Methodist Church still stands, where area residents gather each Sunday. Cattycorner across the street is the old Aulne State Bank, which, on this day, is buzzing with a colony of bees. It hasn't been a lending institution in nearly 90 years - not since the banker embezzled money.
However, go back more than 100 years ago when this little stop in the road had about 200 people and the region's Mennonite community was looking for a place to put up a college. A town along the railroad, Aulne was one of the finalists.
But, obviously, there is no college in this ghost town. Tabor College has resided in Hillsboro since 1908, a town with nearly 3,000 in population.
"Once upon a time, Aulne was probably bigger than Hillsboro," Penner said, adding that with the college, "Aulne would have been much different."

In 1987, more than 1,100 people flocked to the streets of Aulne to celebrate a 100 years of existence.
It's also probably the last time so many people have been in the town at once.

Aulne United Methodist Church still has services every Sunday.

Eugene Just in the Aulne State Bank. It closed in the 1920s.

 Inside the bank. It's used for storage
 Just walks into the old bank vault.

 Karen Penner and Eugene Just stand in front of the old bank building. Just owns the building. The bank closed in the 1920s.
A water pump from one of the old home still stands.