Sunday, December 11, 2011

In Search of New Places To Go: Lorraine, Bushton, & Holyrood, Kansas

It all started with a hankering for fried chicken.

Also, three weeks of being cooped up at home due to illness had culminated in a severe case of cabin fever.  So when Saturday, December 10, 2011 proved to be a great day to get out and see a bit of Kansas - sunny skies and reasonable warm temperatures in the mid-40s - hey, I jumped at the chance!

I left Lucas at 11AM and managed to get down the road a whole 22 miles before stopping at the Hungry Hunter Restaurant in Lincoln, Kansas.   Their half chicken dinner - a wing, a leg, a wishbone, and a larger piece - proved a mouthwatering affair that was imminently satisfying.  The many hunters eating around me seemed to agree that the Hungry Hunter is a great place to have a meal.

From Lincoln it was south on State Highway 14 to Ellsworth, Kansas, where the above most interesting hexagon-style house stands on a side street.  Why a hexagon layout?  How many of these houses exist elsewhere in the state?  Questions, questions.

My thirst for knowledge was quenched with a double dip of chocolate & vanilla ice cream at the Ellsworth Antique Mall downtown.  Across the street at Robson's Gifts & Cards I took care of the business of the day in buying my latest supply of computer printer ink cartridges.

With work done it was now time to play!  I took off on a sandy road west of Ellsworth and then south, searching for the fabled community of Lorraine.  I say "fabled" as the last time I was even close to Lorraine was in June 1972, when as a ten-year old boy I participated in a 4-H geology field trip.  One of the many stops on this field trip was a site about two miles from Lorraine, where hematite nodules locally known as "peanut clusters" could be found in the bank of a creek. 

 Thirteen miles later I happened across the above highway sign!  Not bad for not even having a map along - today I was into true Kansas Dirt Road Exploring. 

 And it looks like I picked a good ay to be visiting Lorraine!

Located in Green Garden Township some 13 miles southwest of the county seat of Ellsworth, Lorraine was founded in 1887 and named for the daughter of a railroad official. It sits at 1,785 feet above sea level.

Looking south at the main intersection in downtown Lorraine, Kansas. The population of Lorraine in 2010 was 138 people.

How small is Lorraine?  Well, there is this sign at the center of town . . . .

 The impressive Lorraine Baptist Church is the spiritual center of the community.

 Heading south and west of Lorraine I came across the intriguing town of Bushton.  Located a mile to the southeast of the community is the Bushton-Farmer Twp. Cemetery, founded in 1887.

 Another view of the Bushton-Farmer Twp. Cemetery.

Looking north into downtown Bushton, Kansas. The first frame house was erected on the townsite in 1878. On January 31, 1887, the actual town was laid out. The name "Bushton" derived from the dense growth of bushes in the in area. The brick building located second from left in the photo is the Bushton Museum.

 The Farmer Twp. Community Library in Bushton.

 The photo above does not do justice to the imposing First United Methodist Church in Bushton!

 Gingerbread architecture in Bushton.

 And more gingerbread architecture in Bushton!  Not bad for a town of only 350 or so citizens.

From Bushton it was a few miles journey north to the Ellsworth County community of Holyrood.  On the southern edge of Holyrood one immediately discovers the Lutheran Cemetery, which is fill with interesting gavestones and statuary.  A standout example is the Heesch family stone.

 And another view of the Heesch tombstone.

 The Stoltenberg family stone is also of significance.

 Very impressive is the Lille family gravestone.

The actual railroad tracks may be long gone, but the railroad bed can still be found on the northern edge of Holyrood, Kansas. How many other places can one drive down a real railroad bed??

A portion of downtown Holyrood, Kansas.  Founded in 1886, Holyrood is noted for its strong German-Irish heritage and has a current population over over 400 inhabitants.

 City Hall in Holyrood, Kansas.

  Something very nice to see in a small town like Holyrood is the large, modern fire department building.

Driving on sandy roads a few mile north of Holyrood can be found this native stone one-room schoolhouse.

Today the cold winds of December pass by this old school, a symbol of decades of rural education.