Kingman County, KS.

 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, 1889.
      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 people.
      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 Henning family.
      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.

Adapted from:
Kingman County, Kansas, And Its People.
(Kingman: Kingman County Historical Society. 1984)
Used by permission
 
September 1, 2001 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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