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History Tuesday – The Last Remaining Building on Main St. in the Ghost Town of Clements Kansas
July 11, 2023
History Tuesday at Old Houses Under $50K is for informational purposes only usually NOT for sale. We feature properties that cost less than $50K sometime in their history. Today we feature the last building standing on Main Street in the ghost town of Clements, Kansas.
It’s the last building standing from the Main Street of the ghost town Clements Kansas, situated in a great location in the Flint Hills.
F.G. Hunt was the pioneer founder of the area. In 1856, he built a log cabin trading post in this area where the Silver Creek and Cottonwood River meet. It was known as Hunt’s Station.
Five years later, a post office named Silver Creek was opened and eventually Hunt’s Station was absorbed by the town of Silver Creek.
It was in 1881, that the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad was built through the area. The station was named Crawfordsville after a local resident, and the Silver Creek post office was absorbed by Crawfordsville. In 1882, Joseph Crawford platted the town, and just a few years later, the town and post office names were changed again, this time to Clements, in honor of the Santa Fe Railway auditor, H.G. Clements.
The railroad and rich agricultural land attracted more settlers to Clements. The railroad trucked in longhorn cattle from Texas by the train load, making Clements the center of the area’s agricultural community.
From 1885 to 1888, the Clements Stone Arch Bridge over the Cottonwood River was constructed. Built of native stone at a cost of $12,000, the farm-to-market roadway made it easier for farmers and ranchers to transport their goods.
With a population of 200 in 1910, the village boasted a blacksmith, bank, barber shop, city park, hotel, church, dance hall, library, grocery store, mercantile, restaurant, livery stable, lumber yard, and a three-story schoolhouse.
Over the next decades, however, Clements suffered several floods and fires, and once the post office closed in 1988, it was pretty much a ghost town.
Not much of Clements survives today, except for the bridge, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 and is open to pedestrians.
The old post office from the 1880s, the last remaining building on Main Street in Clements, also survives. In later years, it became the town store. Covered with metal and painted silver, it is known as the Silver Store.