Kingman County, KS.

 History  of  Rago


 
Rago
 
      Early in 1883, Rago Trading Post was established two miles east and four miles south of the present location of Rago. September 1883 the town moved four miles north. A post office was established with Mr. James Baker, first postmaster.
      In 1886, the new town of Rago was platted 2½ miles west on 240 acres of ground owned by Mr. Tibbets. Several buildings, homes, City Hall, and a blacksmith shop were built. A town well was dug.
      In 1887,post offices of Old Rago, Trento and Pitt were moved to Rago. David Strattan, postmaster at Pitt, moved his grocery store to Rago and became postmaster.
      As Rago had become an important shipping point, the railroad company built a depot and stockyards. Other businesses were: Albright and Bentson Grain and Livestock; Lattin Bros. Livestock; W. Richmond, blacksmith; M.L. Roberts Coal & Lumber; E.A. Anderson, restaurant; J. Ewing, mason and contractor; David Strattan Groceries; H..S. and C.R. Trading Post; Thomas, Notary; Thomas and Son General Store; Rago Hotel; and Livery Stable. The school house, Dist.#12 was moved into Rago, and the G.A.R. Post was organized. One of the earliest businesses in Rago was a salt mine, located west of the present town on a portion of land that George Furry owned later. It was abandoned in 1900. Various indentations still remain in West Rago like caves settlers used for safety and food storage.
      It was thought, if the Hutchinson & Southern Railroad was built, it would be an ideal location for a townsite. Hopes were blasted when the railroad missed the town by half a mile to the east. About 1900, the town again moved a half mile east to its present location.
      The 1904 Rago Business Directory included: Lipper Bros. General Merchandise, Coal and Grain; Stewart General Merchandise; John Macomher Groceries, Confections, and Notions; T. Milliard, Blacksmith; Rago Hotel, J. Gracies, Proprietor; a Livery Stable.
      The Methodist Church, built in 1911, was dedicated in 1912. Rev. D.L. Jones was pastor.
      Businesses during 20's and 30's were: Jay Williams Garage; Loren and Burris Felts Grocery (formerly Harry Stewart General Store); Homer Witt Cream Station; John Wilson Recreation Parlor, which sold sandwiches, soft drinks and beer. Filling stations were: The Blackwells, Wilbur Trollope, Fred Fink, and Zenos Welch. Fred Fink used part of the Filling Station for a Dance Hall.
      During early 50's, the Grieving Sisters from Kinsman ran a grocery store on South Main.
      In the late 30's, B.T. Youngs built a filling station, with living quarters, on the east side of North Main. It was sold to the George Furrys, who also ran a cafe several years. Other operators were: Thompson Oil Co.; Frank Robinsons; the Wolf Sisters, who added a beer joint. The building burned a few years later.
      George Furry had training stables in Rago, which attracted owners with horses from many stables. Mrs. Furry, an artist, sold many paintings.
      The Methodist Church closed in 1940, and a Nondenominational Church, Rago Community Church, operated from 1940-1950.
      In 1947-48, the Rago Ball Club was organized. Paul Stucky and Milo Sitts were managers. They were State Softball Champions in 1965. Rago still has an active ball club.
      Ultch Lumber Company operated for many years but closed in early 50's. Roscoe Herring bought the lumber company building and had a thriving Appliance and Grocery Store for several years. The Rago Elevator burned in 1965, but was rebuilt. It's now Garvey Elevator. Managers have been: Roscoe Herring, Guy Welch, Bob May, Kenneth Cross and Ray Reida.
      The school was closed in the 60's and the depot in 1970.
      Some of the postmasters have been: R. Lippar, William Young, John Macomber, Bertha Taylor, Ollie Blazier, and LaVon Parsons. Some rural carriers have been: Charles Freels, Gale Reida, and Bonnie Helm.
      Present day Rago consists of: a few residences; Post Office; Elevator; Town Hail; Steven's Oil Co., Centel Electrical Station; May Hart's Beauty Shop; the Ball Diamond; and abandoned Community Church.

Adapted from:
Kingman County, Kansas, And Its People.
(Kingman: Kingman County Historical Society. 1984)
Used by permission
 
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September 2, 2001 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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