History of Penalosa
Penalosa is located in a fine farming and livestock
raising area sixteen miles northwest of Kingman.
Sam Sallee told that the name came from a Spaniard
named Penaloza who had a land grant in Santa
Fe, New Mexico who had come through here with
the railroad. The town was first plotted in 1886,
same year the first train came through but the town
did not expand until a few years later.
The Penalosa State Bank opened for business
November 17, 1904, with outsiders owning 80% of
the stock. In January 1908, local residents bought
that 80% making it a home institution. Officers
elected were: A.J. Plush, President, N.B. Bryant,
Vice-President, J.P. Russell, Cashier. and Directors
J.J. Sallee, Mrs. Belle Knappenburger, John Miller
and N.H. Beerman. A handsome new brick building
was built in 1908.
By 1912 there were several businesses operating
in town, two department stores, grocery, hardware,
lumber yard, drug store, jewelry store, bank, hotel,
meat market, newspaper, pool hail, barber shop,
blacksmith shop, shoe shop, two elevators, dressmaking
establishment and three real estate offices.
Two churches, the Church of Christ and United
Brethren were organized in the early days, and
remain active. The United Brethren is now the
United Methodist due to a denominational merger.
Various wood frame buildings served the
Penalosa school before the two-story brick building
was built in 1910. Enrollment that year was 83
students, and teachers were Miss Delia Glaze, Miss
Bessie Benefiel, and Mr. Ray Wait. In 1911, freshman
year of high school was offered and later two
years. Four years of high school were offered from
1925 through 1946. A gymnasium was added to the
school about 1936 with R.P. Van Riper, builder.
Most of the graduates of this school became successful
in their life's work, whether business, professional
or farm-related. Many went on through college.
Penalosa is served by the Missouri Pacific Railroad,
and is an important grain shipping point,
having two grain elevators several years. Penalosa
Co-operative Exchange was organized in 1951, and
has grown to serve customers in several surrounding
communities. A new facility was built in 1981, and
includes a service station and hardware in addition
to the grain business.
The school, Co-op storage, and bank are the only
remaining of several brick buildings that once lined
both sides of Main Street. The bank closed in
September 1932, during the Great Depression. The
post office was moved from a corner of the Sallee
Grocery to the former bank building, when Anna
Oak-Tarrant was postmaster.
Most of this building remains as it was originally.
Sometime during the years the canvas awnings were
replaced by tin. The golden oak bank cage is still in
use, as is the marble counter top at the post office
__By Ethel M. Geesling
Kingman County, Kansas, And Its People.
(Kingman: Kingman County Historical Society. 1984)
Used by permission
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