Monday, June 27, 2011

Trousdale, Kansas -

Trousdale began when the Anthony and Northern Railroad came through the area in 1915. It was named after a Newton man who had land in the area. Mr. Trousdale also donated land for a park. The small community was a major junction on the Anthony and Northern. One line from Trousdale went westward to Kinsley where there was an interchange for the Santa Fe Railroad, according to the book "Wheat Belt Route: The Story of a Dust Bowl Railroad" by Lee Berglund. The tracks north of Trousdale served as the main line to Larned. Trousdale was one of five towns five miles apart, Schultz said. They served the purpose of supplying water to the trains. It didn't take long for businesses to set up shop in the new railroad community. While some of the cities didn't amount to much, Trousdale seemed to grow and prosper. The town, at one time, had two elevators and two groceries, as well as a cafe;, lumberyard, gas station and a bank. A post office opened in 1916.

On the surface, there is little left of Trousdale. It is just a shell of a once active town. The Edwards County community was born because of the motion of the nearby railroad. The railroad, however, stopped running by the early 1940s and Trousdale, it seems, didn't boom again. The high school closed in the late 1950s and the post office in the 1970s. What remained of the once vibrant downtown - abandoned storefronts - blew away in 2007 from the same tornado that destroyed Greensburg. Yet, even as the town slowly continues to disappear, there is one thing that residents here won't give up: their religion. The only church in town, for decades the Trousdale United Methodist Church has served as a beacon that brings people from surrounding farms together every Sunday. Thus, when the congregation realized the tornado also destroyed their church, they never questioned whether they would rebuild. "That was never an option," said Joy Cudney of closing the church for good. The church, after all, is what has kept residents of tiny Trousdale together, said Cudney, who grew up on a farm near Trousdale and graduated from the town's high school in 1942. The church also still provides a lifeline to the town for those who don't live there anymore. "It's been the one constant that has always been there," said Bruce DeHaven, the special teams coordinator for NFL team the Buffalo Bills. "Growing up, you were either at church or at school. It didn't matter if you were Methodist or not, it was the only church in town. "If you were going to church, you were going there," he said. "Even when there were fewer and fewer people in town all the time, the church was the one constant gathering place."

The Greensburg tornado did hit it in 2007. 

NFL coach NFL's Bruce DeHaven admits he was wary of the new structure. He didn't know if he wanted to see the new church in place of the one he attended every Sunday when he was growing up. However, when Ron and Arnita Schultz, his cousins, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary a few years ago, he couldn't miss it. "They really did a nice job," he said "And they were able to put some of the features of the other church in it." DeHaven said he learned a lot while growing up in his hometown. He played football, basketball and ran track in high school. His 8-man football team was good, he noted. The team was 8-1 his junior year and went undefeated for Belpre's last season in 1965. DeHaven has coached 25 years in the NFL, including 13 seasons with the Bills. He's made four Super Bowl appearances in a row with the Bills, but has no championships. Coincidentally, he said, he isn't the only NFL coach to live near Trousdale. Ollie Spencer, who was the offensive line coach for the Oakland Raiders under John Madden, lived not far from the DeHaven farm. Spencer also played professional football, as well. DeHaven said he tries to get back to his hometown every year. He and his sister own the land his parents' farmed. Ron Schultz farms it now. It is sad to see small Kansas towns like Trousdale whither away, DeHaven said. "But I sure have fond memories of the place and the people who lived there," he said. "It was just a family oriented community and such an ideal place to be raised. "It was one of those places that it wasn't just your parents but the whole community who raised you," he said. "Kids today would be so lucky to have so many role models in their life."