Little Known or Extinct Kansas Towns
The "Kansas Dead Town List"compiled by Mary Emma Milner Montgomery
Microfilm MS 1165—MS 1170
- Scope and Content
- Contents List
- Related Records
- Index Terms
- Additional Information for Researchers
Project of the Kansas State Historical Society to identify and document extinct and little-known communities, incorporating prior research as early as 1904.
Each entry includes, if known, the legal description of the town site and distance from other communities; the dates of establishment and closing of post offices, name of the first postmaster, and changes in postal designation (name or location); other information on the location, history, or description of the town; and references consulted, usually from the Kansas State Historical Society's research collections. Search the index to the Kansas Dead Town List.
40 v. (6 feet)
Little Known or Extinct Towns of Kansas.
Other title: Dead Town List
Other title: Kansas Dead Town List
Forms part of: records of the Kansas State Historical Society, Archives Division (subagency code 288-005), archives control no. 08423.
The film is in the microfilm cabinets in the Research Room of the Center for Historical Research, Kansas State Historical Society.
Bound photocopies (20 v. ; 28 cm.) also available for reference use in the Research Room of the Center for Historical Research, Kansas State Historical Society. The bound photocopies are indexed by: Bruntzel, Melvin D. County by County Index of Kansas Dead Town List : Lesser Know[n] or Extinct Towns of Kansas, Volumes 1-20, Kansas State Historical Society by Mary E. Montgomery / compiled by Melvin D. Bruntzel. [Topeka, Kan.] : Melvin D. Bruntzel, 2003 (OCLC #53103211; call number Ref./K/978.1/M767i).
This finding aid describes materials on microfilm held by the Kansas State Historical Society. Microfilm may be used in the Research Room in the society’s Center for Historical Research during regular research hours. Microfilm may also be borrowed through interlibrary loan for your use at a participating public, academic, or research library. Information on interlibrary loan is available from the Kansas State Historical Society and on its web site, http://www.kshs.org. Support for telephone, mail and online research and reference is limited.
In a continuing effort to improve the completeness and accuracy of finding aids, revisions are made as more or new information becomes available. Consequently, this finding aid may differ slightly from what appears on the microfilm or on the Kansas State Historical Society’s web site.
Descriptions are often based on a preliminary inspection of the material. As such, they may contain misspellings or other inaccuracies based on folder headings and other sources within the materials. As the collections are arranged and as time permits, these finding aids are improved and corrected. If you spot an error, please feel free to report it to the reference staff or an archivist.
Kansas State Historical Society (Topeka)
The Kansas Editors' and Publishers' Association founded the Kansas State Historical Society in 1875 to save present and past records; from the beginning the Society also operated a museum diplaying objects of historical significance. In the early 1960s, the Society added Archeology and Historic (building) Preservation departments to foster the protection of those types of resources. Over time, the Society also assumed responsibility for a number of historic sites throughout the state.
The Department of Archives, founded in 1905, preserved State and some local records of enduring value as well as manuscripts, photographs, and maps. In 1977 the manuscript, photograph, and map collections were separated from the Archives to f0rm the Manuscripts Department, and the Newspaper and Census Division became part of the Archives Department. In 1981, the Archives began actively working to promote the systematic management and preservation of local records.
Interest in preserving information on “lost” or “dead” towns in Kansas dates from as early as 1904 when the Kansas State Historical Society recognized the need to compile such information. At that time data from approximately 32 counties was received before interest in the project lapsed. Six or eight years later renewed interest was sparked and circulars requesting information were sent to county officials and interested individuals. Finding these sources too limited, Historical Society researchers turned to the society’s own collections. Among these involved in this research were Mary E. Montgomery and Curator of Archives George W. Root. In 1912 a list of “lost” towns in the State and a small sampling of brief histories appeared in volume 12 of Kansas Historical Collections. Beginning about 1936, Mrs. Montgomery and Mr. Root, assisted by one or more Works Progress Administration (WPA) employees, transferred the collected information onto printed forms and arranged them in loose-leaf notebooks. This project continued for at least the next five years, although participation of the WPA—by then renamed the Work Projects Administration—apparently ended at the beginning of World War II. In the years since 1941 Mr. Root and subsequent society staff members added notes, clippings, and references to the notebooks.
These records document research findings by Kansas State Historical Society staff on extinct or "declining" communities in Kansas.
Information on each of the over 5,000 entries in these records varies considerably. If known, each entry includes the legal description of the town site and distance from other communities; the dates of establishment and closing of post offices, name of the first postmaster, and changes in postal designation (name or location); other information on the location, history, or description of the town; and references consulted, usually from the society’s research collections (archives, newspapers, books, manuscripts, and maps). Researchers should note that dates of establishment of post offices and other postal information sometimes differ from Kansas Post Offices by Robert W. Baughman (Topeka, Kans.: Kansas State Historical Society, 1961) and other postal records in the society’s collections. Citations to references usually appear as abbreviations. A key to frequently-cited references appears immediately preceding the first entry and following the final entry on each reel.
The entries are arranged alphabetically. In alphabetizing the entries, two-word names were arranged by the first word; thus Mount Vernon precedes Mountain City. Prefixes such as De, El, La, and Le were considered to be words if they were separated from the rest of the name by a space in the entry itself. For example, Le Grande comes before Lebanon, and Lebanon precedes LeHunt. The prefix Mc is alphabetized as though it were Mac; consequently McGraw comes before Macon. The town of T-Wrench precedes the Ta entries.
Researchers should note that many of the names were taken from newspaper references and spellings cannot be relied upon for accuracy. Often spellings in the original sources were based upon pronunciation and may be inconsistent with other sources or modern spellings. In many cases alternative spellings of town names are given; in some instances cross-references have been supplied. Researchers using this list should try other possible spellings if a desired town is not listed. Prefixes, suffixes, and other words in names may differ from present or commonly-accepted usage. (For example Mount may appear as Mont, the suffices –vue and –view may be used interchangeably, -view and –ville may be confused, etc.)
Geographic names were included in this list if it appeared that there was some sort of settlement. It is also possible that the list may also include places that were not bona fide settlements or towns; names of town companies, Indian missions, physical features, roads, and colonies appear in the entries. Some non-Kansas towns of particular significance to Kansas history are included. Towns in that part of Kansas Territory now in the State of Colorado are included if they existed during the time period the area was a part of Kansas Territory, 1854-1861.
Although popularly called the “dead-town file,” it is important to note that many of the towns listed on these pages are still thriving communities. It is believed that, at the outset of the project, the compilers intended to include early information and references on extant as well as “lost” communities; thus, cities such as Abilene and Alma are included in the volumes. As the project progressed, thriving towns are omitted from consideration and the settlements listed in later volumes became those no longer in existence or communities with significant historical importance that were believed to be declining in the mid-1930’s. Many of these “declining” towns still exist.
The symbol # is used in many instances to denote those towns where a post office existed at the time the information was compiled. In other places the phrase presently a P. O. may be used or no indication of this fact may be noted.
On some entries there are lightly-penciled dates or other notations on the reverse sides of the forms. These are believed to be notes made by the compilers for their own use. The marks appear to refer to the facing rather than the reverse pages (on the microfilm, the following frame rather than the preceding one), but re-arrangement of the sheets may have destroyed this proximity in some cases. On some of the sheets a lightly-penciled form of the letter V (or a check mark) appears; the significance of this symbol is unknown.
This list is believed to be more complete than any of the other lists of “lost” towns held by the Historical Society, but it is possible that “lost” towns discovered after the completion of this project may not have been added to the list.
Page numbers in brackets in the upper right corners of pages were supplied by the arranger to aid in microfilming.
Towns arranged alphabetically by name, thereunder by county.
To request this microfilm through interlibrary loan, please provide the call (MS) number in bold type.
Roll 1 (MS 1165): Abbey Farm — Cess
Roll 2 (MS 1166): Chafee — French Valley
Roll 3 (MS 1167): Friendlay — Limestone
Roll 4 (MS 1168): Lincoln — Pawneapolis
Roll 5 (MS 1169): Pawnee — Stella
Roll 6 (MS 1170): Stephen — Zyba
Other references to towns in Kansas may be found in bound volumes of newspaper clippings, publications of town companies and other promotional groups, town and county histories, and other printed material in the Society’s research collection; in town-company charters and other incorporation records in the state archives holdings; in the newspaper collection; in references in unpublished letters, railroad and town-company records, and other documents in the manuscript collection; in Kansas Post Offices; in the map collection; and in volume 12 of Kansas Historical Collections and other publications of the Historical Society.
Other Finding Aid
Copies of this finding aid are also available in the Research Room of the Center for Historical Research and on each roll of the microfilm.
The bound photocopies in the Research Room of the Kansas State Historical Society's Center for Historical Research are indexed by: Bruntzel, Melvin D. County by County Index of Kansas Dead Town List : Lesser Know[n] or Extinct Towns of Kansas, Volumes 1-20, Kansas State Historical Society by Mary E. Montgomery / compiled by Melvin D. Bruntzel. [Topeka, Kan.] : Melvin D. Bruntzel, 2003 (OCLC #53103211; call number Ref./K/978.1/M767i). This county-by-county index may also assist users of the microfilm, but researchers should be aware that the volume numbers of the bound volumes and cited in the index do not correspond to the volume numbers of the original records. Furthermore, volume numbers do not appear on this microfilm, as they were felt to be irrelevant when the originals were filmed. Search the index to the Kansas Dead Town List.
Montgomery, Mary Emma Milner, comp. "Little Known or Extinct Towns of Kansas" (microfilm MS 1165—MS 1170); Archives Division; records of the Kansas State Historical Society, record group 288; Kansas State Historical Society.
The terms listed below may include names, places, subjects, occupations, titles, and other words describing this collection. These terms are used in the ATLAS catalog used by the Kansas State Historical Society and affiliated libraries in Topeka, http://lib.wuacc.edu/search, as well as libraries and archives subscribing to OCLC, a national library/archives database. Searches on these words should produce a description of this collection as well as other books and collections that may be of interest. Names in CAPITAL LETTERS are cataloging added entries (co-creators); names in regular type are subjects. Topical terms are Library of Congress subject headings unless indicated otherwise.
Kansas State Historical Society.
Post office stations and branches—Kansas—History.
Dead town list.
Kansas dead town list.
Alternate Form Available
Bound photocopies (20 v. ; 28 cm.) also available for reference use in the Research Room of the Center for Historical Research, Kansas State Historical Society (Topeka). The bound photocopies are indexed by: Bruntzel, Melvin D. County by County Index of Kansas Dead Town List : Lesser Know[n] or Extinct Towns of Kansas, Volumes 1-20, Kansas State Historical Society by Mary E. Montgomery / compiled by Melvin D. Bruntzel. [Topeka, Kan.] : Melvin D. Bruntzel, 2003 (OCLC #53103211; call number Ref./K/978.1/M767i).
Note: [town name], "Little Known or Extinct Towns of Kansas," compiled by Mary Emma Milner Montgomery (microfilm MS [roll number]); Archives Division; records of the Kansas State Historical Society, record group 288; Kansas State Historical Society.
Collection prepared for microfilming and finding aid written by Robert L. Knecht, 1983; revised 2003.
Addition information about extinct towns is no longer being added to these volumes. Instead, this information is being preserved as the Extinct Cities history collection in the Kansas State Historical Society's manuscripts holdings.