Birthday vintage postcard searches have increased. This got me wondering what happened 100 years ago this month. I plugged “October 1909″ into bing. This is what I found:
Ghost Towns of Kansas
Daniel C. Fitzgerald is the author of a book trilogy on ghost towns of Kansas. After reading several “outtakes” that didn’t make the cut for his upcoming book, Ghost Towns of Kansas: Revisited, I decided I would have to read volumes 1-3. Here is what I learned after reading the outtake on Shipton in Saline County.
Why Shipton, Kansas Died
On a drizzly October 20th, 1909, the dying town of Shipton, Kansas was auctioned off. Despite the weather and muddy roads, over a thousand showed up. Why was it auctioned? Well, Shipton was a town that didn’t care enough to make improvements over the years. Why do so when Salina was only 6 miles away. Shipton’s residents shopped there. The post office closed in 1895, then the general store. Soon, even the farmers passed buildings without notice. How sad. The Union Pacific Railroad removed its agent. The blacksmith (wow, still had one back then?) and stockyards closed.
The town’s owner, William Irwin, made a spectacle of the event by employing a band to play while the auctioneer toured the town (advertisements having attracted the attention of people across the US). The auctioneer sold minor items for double their worth. He even sold rocks off the nearby hillside!
Final Asking Price
OK, by now you’re probably very curious what Shipton finally sold for. It was expected to bring $100 per acre, but only brought $80. This was most likely the first time in Kansas history that an entire town site sold at auction. It sold for $2620 to Fred Warnow.
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