Kingman County, KS.

 History  of  Willowdale

         Willowdale was first located between the present site of the Henry Pohl's and the William Miller's homes. At that time it was called Peters. It had three businesses, a hardware store, a Post Office and a Grocery Store, which was located in a portion of the Henry Phol home.
         About 1900, Mr. Nick Myers built a combined grocery and hardware store which burned in 1906 and was re-built by C.R. Kurt. The Willowdale store was bought in 1919 by the Laggart family, which ran it until it closed in 1982.
         A.M. Weinschenk was the first postmaster. The mail was carried once a week from Kingman in a one-horse drawn cart. First families establishing homes on claims or !and purchased were: Weinschenk, Conrardy, Sterneker, Harbert, Rohlman, Goetz, Leclercq, Hiebsch, Leslie, Cross, Smith, Swope, Grime, Mueller, Hayes, Shea, Hartshorn, Grieving and Hanlon.
         The first church was located just west of the present church and was built in 1885. It was replaced by the present structure in 1902. When the interior of the church was re-done in 1957, the cost, kept low by the men of the parish doing most of the work, was $8000.00. Restrooms were added in 1965 and siding in 1968. In 1975, the church was again re-decorated, this time at a cost of $23,929. In 1957 a church dinner was was held to honor Father Baston the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination.
         In May 1959, Father George Mueller was ordained a priest. He was the son of John and Sibylia Mue!ler of Willowdale. He was the second priest ordained from Willowdale. Father George Smith, son of Will Smith being the first.
        An addition to Willowdale in 1963 was a new brick sister convent built by the men of the parish. Other additions have been homes built for Anna Detmer, Agnes Pohl, Pete Bohrer, William Molitor and Mike Gillen.
        The first school house was made of sod; boxes were used for seats and the pupil's knees served as desks. After two years a frame building was built and about 1904 a parish school was built which burned in 1924 after being struck by lightning. The Order of St. Joseph Sisters taught the first school and later the Dominican Sisters of Great Bend have taught. In 1970 the last class graduated from the Willowdale school and the school was closed in 1976.
         A ball association was formed and a field, lights and speakers stand were installed in 1964. They are in use every summer. Th!s year, 1984, Father Donald Thissen, another Kingman county native, became our pastor. We are celebrating the Centennial of our church and expect to have a new community building done by fall.
         Our village is small enough that we all know each other, help each other and make everyone welcome.
__Submitted by George Goetz, Mary Gillen and Yvonne Beat

Adapted from:
Kingman County, Kansas, And Its People.
(Kingman: Kingman County Historical Society. 1984)
Used by permission
Explore Willowdale & Kingman County
September 28, 2001 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas /

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