Rice County Alden, KS

   History


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        Alden originated in the manner of many western towns; land was homesteaded along the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad and ultimately the population increased until a trade center was feasible.  One of the first to settle in the community where the town of Alden was later, to be established, was Mr. S.C. Klady who bought an eighty at the east side of the future town site in 1878 after the railroad had been laid through the site in 1872. 

A.T. & S.F Depot in Alden, Kansas         Alden was named after the son of Mr. Nickerson, the division superintendent of the AT&SF.  The original city of Alden was established in 1881.  During that year, Gideon Steinmetz gained permission to subdivide and sell lots on the land one block east and one block north of a cafe he was operating at that time.  In the ensuing years, the additions of Steinmetz, Mudge, and Werner became part of the little city of Alden.

        Alden flourished in its trade area for nearly half a century, although the population probably was always well below five hundred persons.  During its heyday, Alden boasted a hotel, a hat shop run by Miss Fanny Proffitt, a telephone office, an automobile agency, a livery stable, several hardware stores, a cold storage locker, blacksmith shops, several service stations, a funeral parlor and furniture business, a drug store, a number of grocery stores (one of these was a J. S. Dillon store, perhaps the first Dillon store), at least four doctors at different intervals of time, several cafes, a creamery, a public library, the Mazda theater, a newspaper, and a bank (one of the oldest banking concerns in Rice County).

        Early names included Ross, Stout, Steinmetz, Klady, Mudge, Caywood, Engel, Stewart, Fair, Proffitt, Ward, Werner, Wellman, Nielsen, Parsons, Goerke, Grady, Jeter, Page, Read, Lawson, Frederick. Mitchell, and lsern.

        Memories might include: concrete blocks manufactured by S.C. KIady and Sons. the Alden Journal, the Sandhill Sage, Dr. Muir, the Township Hall, Zoe Klady, nostalgic Saturday nights, Maher Drug Store, Alden Mercantile. "Literary Night", Chautauqua, Possum Jeter, Stella Moore, 1911 fire, broomcorn, PRIDE, school reunions, Alden Farm Supply, and others too numerous to mention.

        Alden became active in the PRIDE program in 1973 and annually wins awards for cities of this size.  In 1990, Alden was presented its third Pacemaker Award and Governor Finney attended the festivities at the local school in 1991 to celebrate the occasion.  Alden is one of only three in Kansas to certify as a Pacemaker community 3 times.

excerpts from "Our Alden Community" by Paul F. Long

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April 5, 2000 / Shirley Fair / Alden, Kansas / ricedco@midusa.net

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