History of Varner
What once was a thriving little community barely
exists now. Varner is located in Section 12, of White
Township, about ten miles northeast of Kingman.
At first it was farther west and south. When the
railroad came through, the town moved by the
railroad, on land of David Varner, so was named
Varner. The Hutchinson and Southern Railroad
(later the Atchison,Topeka and Santa Fe Railway)
made its maiden trip through Varner September 5,
Once Varner was developed, there were three
streets: Main, Washington, which was one block
south of Main, and Commercial, which ran along
the railroad tracks. It was never incorporated nor
had a structured government.
It was a bustling town with a variety of buildings:
Methodist Church, Farmers State Bank, George
Ultch Hardware and Lumberyard, Wingate Dry
Goods and Grocery which also housed the Post
Office, and the second floor was occupied by the
Anti-Horsethief Association, Alley Alums Grocery,
two blacksmith shops, Dew Drop Inn Restaurant,
two grain elevators, stockyards and school. In the
most prosperous years (1910-1925), there were at
least fifteen homes with a population of around fifty
In those days, there wasn't a good fire department,
with only a bucket brigade. On January 26,
1922, the Farmers Elevator burned; also the other
elevator burned. On February 8, 1927, the Ultch
Lumberyard burned. In 1927, the Wingate store
was destroyed by fire. Farmers State Bank merged
with nearby Pretty Prairie Bank in 1927. The vacant
bank building was moved one mile south and remodeled
for the home presently occupied by the Donald
After the fire in the Wingate store, the Post Office
was moved to the Alums Grocery Store. Collingwood Grain
Company erected an iron covered elevator.
The school was closed in 1958 and moved north of
Kingman for the White Township voting place. The
Methodist Church went under the auction block on
December 12, 1959. The Post Office and store
closed June 30, 1972.
All that is left is a new cement elevator, built in
1956, by Collingwood Grain, and a big round top
built in 1969 to store fertilizer.
The blacksmith shop still stands but does very
little business. The building beside it, formerly the
Post Office and grocery, is now the home of Herbert
Spriggs, the blacksmith.
Kingman County, Kansas, And Its People.
(Kingman: Kingman County Historical Society. 1984)
Used by permission
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