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Schoolhouse Exhibit

Many of the lost Kansas communities depended on schools as the center of their communities. Communities rose up around schoolhouses, often simple one-room school houses. Today, the remnants of some of the schools is all that remains of the communities that once thrived around them. As the 19th century came to a close, much of the rural population gravitated toward urban centers, and the once vibrant communities lost support.

As a consequence, a common tale of these schoolhouse-communities is school district consolidation. The communities disintegrated as the rural districts were consolidated, as in the case of Wheaton, Kansas. Some towns like Wheaton were able to survive if other institutions like small businesses or churches could sustain the communities. Read the stories of these schoolhouse communities below to find out how they survived modernizing school systems!

Bean School, Wabaunsee County

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Jamie Schendt writes a history of Bean School (District #3 one room school) in Wabaunsee County. Serving an integrated landscape of both white and…

Bellegard and Mariadahl, Pottawatomie County

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Against all hopes, Bellegard, the Swedish farming oasis, never truly became a town. But in symbiosis with Mariadahl, both “towns” persisted…

Bodarc, Butler County

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This document provides a comprehensive history of the lost community of Bodarc (Bois D’ Arc) from the time that the Osage Indians settled the land…

Camp Pliley, Pottersburg, and Ash Grove, Lincoln County

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The lost communities of Camp Pliley, Pottersburg and Ash Grove, Kansas were settled by Civil War Veterans, Scandinavian immigrants as well as…

Elm Slough, Pottawatomie County

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The author uses oral interview and historic documents to reconstruct the details of the little community of Elm Slough in Pottawatomie County, Kansas.

Gatesville-Siding, Clay County

Gatesville Cemetery

Gatesville was named for Lorenzo Gates, who settled on Mall Creek in the fall of 1857. There was a school, a post office, and a railroad, but no town…

Gypsum, Saline County

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This paper is a study of the closure of Gypsum Rural High school in Gypsum, Saline County, Kansas, and how its closure affected the community…

Harveyville, Wabaunsee County

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Even though Harveyville is considered a “Lost Town,” the community keeps the town going. Without the citizens taking pride and trying to promote…

Hillside, Clay County

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In 1868, Hillside Schoolhouse was built to withstand time. It had thick, limestone walls and was built on a hill, hence the name. Most Hillside…

Leonardville and Riley, Riley County

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Two towns located five miles apart make for instant rivals. Located in Riley County, the towns of Leonardville and Riley competed to establish a post…

Orion, Gove County

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This study of the slowly-vanishing town of Orion explores the western Kansas environment and the founding of a community in 1886. Wheat farmers…

Wheaton, Pottawatomie County

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Founded in 1881 by individuals of German Heritage, Wheaton grew to a town with three newspapers and made early technology advancements of telephone…