History of Adams
Another history of Adams
Adams' history began in the early 1880's, when a
group of practical-minded settlers built a sod house
for use as a community school and church. It was
located 1½ miles east of present day Adams. A three
month school term was held in late summer and
Sunrise, District No. 50, was built in 1884 and
was located one-half mile east and one mile north of
present Adams. Clay Elliott, first teacher, rode a
mule five miles to school. The school term was eight
Settler families in the late 70's were: Suttons,
Hueys, Lears, and Yeagers. In the 80's, the following
came: Cessnas, Burchfields, Midlams,
Wentworths, Bransons, Dickinsons, Clarks,
Adamses, Wallaces, Cochrans, Thiels, Elliotts,
Coons, Reidas, McHenrys, Allenders, and Martins.
When the Santa Fe railroad was being built,
workers camped in a pasture near Adams, and a
thriving trade center developed. Charles Wuensch
built a store and applied for a post office. Mabel Post
Office north of Adams closed and moved to Adams.
Other early businesses were: hardware, lumber
yard, elevator, depot, stockyards, and creamery.
The store burned in 1901. Charley Wood, owner,
replaced it with a two story building, with living
quarters upstairs. Other store operators were: Dickinsons,
Aldrichs, Shoemakers, Sammons, Riggs,
Reidas and Colliers. The store closed in 1969. It was
remodeled for the Colliers' home.
In the early 90's, Bowersock's Elevator was built.
Elijah Pugh, the first manager, was followed by:
Jess Riggs and sons, Bud and Wilbur; A.D. Sammons;
Stanton Lazaris; O.J. Barnes and Paul Robertson.
The blacksmith shop was built in 1910 by Clint
McHenry, who sold it in 1938 to his son, Lawrence
(Rhiney), who operated it until his death in 1970.
His wife, Mary, continued to operate the hardware
business until 1980.
The Adams Bank operated from 1913 to 1923,
when it bankrupted. The lumber yard, built in 1913,
was operated by A.D. Hunter and later by A.D.
Sammons. On Main Street, a cafe was operated by
Prior to the construction of the depot, a platform
was built alongside the tracks. A sign board bearing
"Adams" was erected so the train could be flagged
down for passengers. A caboose was used as a depot
until the depot was built in 1915. It did a thriving
business, shipping cattle and grain. Cattle herded to
the depot were shipped to Kansas City. O.H. Barnes
was last depot agent. Lowell Allender was last
The town was not platted until 1916. It was
named after A.C. Adams, first township trustee.
Adams Grade School was built in 1914, when
Sunrise School disbanded, in 1916, two basement
rooms were leased to the high school, the first Rural
High School in Kingman County. The high school
later built a building adjoining the grade school.
Adams High School closed in 1963, and the grade
school in 1967.
Mr. A.O. Hunter deeded land to Adams for a
church. The old Baptist Church in Norwich was
purchased and moved to Adams in 1914.
During the 40's, the O.J. Barnes' operated a
filling station and cafe in a wash house across from
the schools. Charley Johnson had a filling station
half a mile east of Adams.
The annual "Homecoming," a tradition beginning
in 1938, is still held on the first Sunday in May.
The organizers were: the Jess Riggses, Jodie Dickinson,
Mrs. Ricke and Mrs. Richardson.
An Adams pioneer, Mrs. Jess (Louella) Riggs,
was a valuable asset in preserving Adams' history.
Through her talent of writing she kept a private
record through the years.
Today all that remains of Adams are eight
residences, a large auditorium, a church building used
occasionally for community affairs, and a.few
vacant houses. However, these are reminders of the
happy and joyful times and recollections of old
timers who helped develop the community and led
and directed the younger generation.
Kingman County, Kansas, And Its People.
(Kingman: Kingman County Historical Society. 1984)
Used by permission
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