Elk Falls, Kansas
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 37° 22.378 W 096° 11.365
14S E 748874 N 4139955
Quick Description: "Elk Falls is a state of mind... There's nothing like it anywhere." -- Mil Penner, Exploring Kansas
Location: Kansas, United States
Date Posted: 3/3/2017 5:03:59 AM
Waymark Code: WMV6B3
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Dorcadion Team
Views: 0

Long Description:

County of city: Elk County
Location of city: South-Central in county; crossroads of US-160, with no major North-South Hwy
County is in the SE portion of the state
Post Office Location: 7th St. & Montgomery St., Elk Falls
Elevation: 938 ft (286 m)
Population: 99 (2013)

"In the heart of the Kansas Ozarks is the small town of Elk Falls, which touts itself as the "World’s largest living ghost town” and the "Outhouse Capitol of the World." Thriving as a mere shadow of its former self, the mid-nineteenth century settlement, at one time, attracted thousands of yearly visitors to its "Outhouse Tours” and other eccentric attractions.

"Sitting on a wooded bend in the road not far from the Oklahoma border, the first settler to locate upon the town site was a man by the name of R. H. Nichols in February, 1870. Soon after, the enterprise of establishing a town site was conceived, and Nichols, with six other businessmen, formed a town site company laying out lots and making plans for the new settlement. Nichols built a small house, which also served as a loan and real estate office, a general store was built, a drug store and blacksmith shop opened, the post office was established and school was taught to 25 pupils by Miss Dora Simmons at her father’s residence.

"By 1871, the site was named Elk Falls, deriving its name from a nearby waterfall on the Elk River, and became the temporary county seat of Howard County. The same year, a school building was erected in a small one-story frame house, where services for the Methodist Episcopal Church were also held.

"However, elections in 1872 and 1873 failed to establish a clear choice between Elk Falls, Peru, Boston, Longton, and Howard for the county seat. After a questionable election of 1873, citizens of Boston raided Elk Falls and took the county records and furnishings. The records were hidden in Cowley County and the town of Boston posted armed guards to keep out the Howard County sheriff.

"The bitterness became academic when Elk County was divided into Elk and Chataugua Counties in 1875, with Elk Falls falling within Elk County and the town of Howard becoming the county seat due to its central location.

"When US Highway 160 was built through Elk Falls in 1957, the traffic on the old steel bridge dwindled to almost nothing. And, when the Elk River experienced a dramatic flood in 1976, most of the wooden planks making up the bridge floor were taken with the turbulent waters. The old bridge was no longer feasible for repair or vehicular traffic and the Elk County Commissioners voted to condemn the bridge and closed it. However, plans to destroy the bridge were fortunately delayed and in 1983, the bridge was preserved as a foot bridge. In 1992, the bridge was made a historical site by the Kansas State Historical Society and in 1994 was placed on the National Register of Historic Sites.

"Today, while Elk Falls describes itself as a living ghost town, it also has to say: "We ain’t dead yet!” Not the typical tourist destination, this off the beaten path town, has done its absolute best to stay alive. This is a place where the visitor can slow down, feel the soothing tranquility of the Falls, relax, and see a bit of history without the frenzied pace of a city.

"Several years ago, an Elk Falls resident got an idea to draw tourists by calling it the world's largest living ghost town. Evidently, at the time of this idea, some of the people really appreciated it, while others weren’t so happy, preferring to remain anonymous in the dying town. However, the idea caught hold. Numerous artists and craftsmen began to converge on the dying town and within a few short years, the ghost town was drawing thousands of visitors each year.

"Though many of the artists and performers have since moved on and Elk Falls is once again making good on its "ghost town" claim, its falls are still running and an old attraction known as the Rock Garden, built in the 1930's, has been restored and is home to Elk Falls Pottery, an establishment that has been thriving for three decades.

"The busiest time of the year for tiny Elk Falls is the annual Outhouse Tour held on the Friday and Saturday before Thanksgiving. In addition to some creative outhouses, visitors enjoy live music, handcrafts, food, and more.

"The Falls" can be seen at the east end of Montgomery Street, about three blocks east of the main street in Elk Falls.

"Today, this small town is called home to just about 100 people. Elk Falls is located about 35 miles northwest of Independence, Kansas on U.S. 160." ~ Legends of America

Wikipedia Url: [Web Link]

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