Ghost Towns of KS

Frank) We’re back in the Twilight Zone here. This is our Halloween Show on Around Kansas. We never did introduce ourselves. I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And we’re here every Wednesday morning, hope you are too. So, we’re doing ghost stories today and there are a lot of ghost stories all around the state. Of course there are all around the world. But this is Kansas, so anyway, you have a book… (Deb) Well, I found this book, this is a classic in Kansas, “Ghost Towns Around Kansas.” And it was written I think in the ’80s. And Dan Fitzgerald who did it had done research on all these towns. So, you know me, I love tying the history in. So this does a a great job of tying the history. You know without history, there’d be no hauntings because it’s all about what happened in the past. And that’s why you have ghosts. So, for those like me who like to just explore the state, this is a great guide to places that used to be or were there for a short while and there’s nothing but foundations left. And a reminder, you have to be careful, a lot of this is on private property. So, you can’t just go without permission onto people’s private property. But there’s so much that you can see from the road, or that you can walk around or that you can just experience. And I do love old, creepy, abandoned buildings. And you can go on Facebook. There’s so many groups now on Facebook. I live on Facebook. But there’s Abandoned Kansas, Abandoned Missouri, you know all these states that just have some awesome photographs, and some great stories. So let’s take a look at this one. As soon as the Kansas Territory was opened for settlement in 1854, towns sprang up like mushrooms first along the Missouri border, then steadily westward along trail routes, rivers, and railroad lines. Many of them barely got beyond the drawing board and hundreds of them flowered briefly and died, victims of the “boom or bust” economy of the frontier and the vagaries of weather, finance, mining, agriculture, railroad construction, and politics. “Ghost Towns of Kansas” by Daniel C. Fitzgerald is a practical guide to these forsaken settlements and a chronicle of their role in the history of Kansas. It focuses on 100 towns that have either disappeared without a trace or are only a shadowy remnant of what they once were, telling the story of each town’s settlement, politics, colorful figures and legends, and eventual abandonment or decline. The culmination of more than ten years of research, this book was published in 1988 and remains a classic. It is a distillation of the author’s immensely popular three-volume work on the state’s ghost towns, now out of print. Condensed and redesigned as a traveler’s guide, it is organized by region and features ten maps and detailed instructions for finding each site. Twenty of the towns included are discussed for the first time in this volume. The book also contains more than 100 black-and-white photographs of town scenes. With this guide in hand, travelers and armchair adventurers alike can journey back to the Kansas frontier to places like Octagon City, where settlers signed a pledge not to consume liquor, tobacco, or “the flesh of animals” in order to purchase land at $1.25 per acre from the Vegetarian Settlement Company. Today the only remainder of Octagon City is a stream named Vegetarian Creek.

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