Culver

Nestled  in  the Saline River valley  stands  the small town of Culver Kansas.  Homesteaders  began  to  settle  in  this  region  after the Civil War.  One of  these was  George W. Culver who  had served as a Second Lieutenat in the Second Colorado Cavalry during the War between the States.

Culver,  originally  from  New  York  State,  rode  across  Kansas  until he  found  a  place  to  his  liking.  On  the south bank of  the Saline  River he built a house on his homestead. He helped  organize Tripp School District west of the present location of Culver. He was a man of high moral standard.

In  1868  Sioux  Indians,  together  with  some  Cheyenne  and  some  Dog Indians  began raiding settlements along the Smoky Hill, Saline and Solomon Rivers.  One  Indian  fight  was  at  Table  Rock,  southwest of the present  of Culver. It is believed that there  were  some  Indian  fights on the Walt Hannebaum farm four miles west of Culver on the Saline River. Many arrowheads have been found in that vicinity.

Culver lost his life on Beecher, Island, in the battle of the Arickaree. During  the  battle  he  called  several  friends  to  his  side  and  told  them that  he  wanted  to  make  his  will.  All  of  his  property  along  the Saline was  to  go  to  his  Army  companions.  He  was  to  be buried where he fell .
That  afternoon   about  two  o'clock  a bullet hit him and Wm. H.  McCall.  The bullet  stunned  McCall  and  went  on  to  kill Culver.  It was  September  17,  1868.   The  battle  survivors  returned  home  and  named  Culver's  homestead in his  honor.   Later  this  became  the community  of Culver, 
George Culver was buried at Ft. Wallace in November 1868.

The Stage Coach line used to follow the Saline River for some miles. Wheel  tracks  are  still  visible  on  the  Hannebaurn  farm  four  miles  west of  Culver.  There  are  also  tracks  near  Marvin  Gorrell's  home  southeast of Culver.
The Culver  Post Office was  established  on April  14,  1873. 
The first justice  of  the  Peace  was  W.M.  Wright  in  1876  and  the  first  doctor  in Culver  was  Dr.  E.L.  Lutz.  The charter  for  the  Methodist Church was drawn up on September 25,  1886;and the Presbyterian Church was organized January 19, 1878.

Some  Court  Proceedings  in Culver  in  1879  were:  The State  of  Kansas vs.  Agnew  Lehman.  It  was  charged  by Levi Cornish  that  one Agnew Lehman did  enter  upon  the  range  of  said Levi Cornish and  cut  the picket  rope from  the head of  said Levi Cornish's  cow and  steal and carry away about 10  feet  of  said Levi Cornish's  picket.  Lehman was found guilty and fined $1.00, along with court costs of $14.95.

In  1886-87  the Kansas  Pacific  Railroad  built  a  line here. 
The  town of  Culver was moved from a mile north to its present location to be near the railroad  sometime  in  1886.  In  building  the  railroad,  mules and slips were used. One crew would be busy building a mile of roadbed, 
and another crew would build  its  roadbed  one  mile  farther  west.  In  the  winter  two tents with stoves  were  set  up,  one for  the mules  and  the  other for the men. The mules were watered in the river.

Culver  was  incorporated  In  1909.  It  was  to  be a  city  of the  third class   and  be  known  by the name of "The City of Culver".  The inhabitants at that time were given to number 300.

The  Culver  High  School  was  started  in  1903  by  Rube Applebaugh.  He taught two years there. The IOOF Hall was built in 1913.

There is one important building left in Culver.  It is built of cement and  is  about  8  feet  by 9 feet in size,  with one small barred window and 1 sturdy metal  door.  This  building  is  the  jail  which in in forty years has only had  two  occupants,  one dog  and  one man.  The dog,  belonging to Rube Applebaugh  was set upon by a pack of dogs and put in jail by Frank Gray, who  was  Marshal  of  Culver  at  the  time,  to  protect  it  until  the  owner could  claim  it.  The man  jailed was  a harvest hand who got drunk.  He was locked  in  the  jail  to  sober  up,  but  it was  almost more trouble than it
was worth  He broke out and had to be chased, caught, and re-jailed.

So the Jail echoes to silence year in and year out, except on occasions when,  so  "they  say"  --  some men of the town gather there to play cards.
It's quiet in there so they can concentrate.

The  fire  house  is  a quaint  structure with an  old fashioned  steeple and a  big  fire bell.  In the fire house there used to be an ancient fire cart.  When  there  was  a  fire,  the  fire  bell  was  rung and then  some of the men  would come running to get the heavy fire wagon. They had to pull it by hand.  "The fire wagon saved a restaurant back in the days before  World  War  One,"  said  Marshal  Gray.  There  was  an 
accident  that occurred  with  it.  The  men  were  on  their way  to put  out a fire at  the time, in the excitement, a man was knocked down and run over by the cart.
According  to the July 8,  1915  issue of the Culver Record, 
Carl Judge was  Publisher,  and  H.L.  Perdersen  was  Editor  and  Manager.
The  rate of a subscription  was  $1.00  in  advance.  The  paper  was  75  cents  for  a year, extra copies were each 2 cents and sample copies were free.
When  Frank  Gray  was  marshal  of  Culver,  he would honor  the dead taking  donations.  A  knock  on  any  door,  whether  at  the   local  pool  hall or  Ladies'  Guild,  would  command  him  immediate  respect. 
When  notified of  a Culver  funeral ,  the  77  year  old  ex-cowboy would  reach for  his hat and  begin  a  house  to  house  tour  of  the  town.  Two  hours later,  he had
visited all of Culver's fifty to sixty homes for floral  donations. Culver's one man  flower  collection  service was  started  in  1937.  A group  of women sought Gray's help in the project. He not only helped  but took over comple charge.  Gray,  who  called himself  a  jack-of-all  trades,  arose to any   job request.  A native of his community, he was a professional horsebreaker for  several  years,  a  farmer,  mail  transporter,  and cowboy, driving cattle in the Glen Elder and Republic County areas.

The Saline  River  has  caused  floods  In Culver  in  the years
of 1903, 1928,  1932,  1935,  1951  and  1957.  The flood  of  1951 was  10  to  15  f. deep south  of  the  depot.  It  stood  at  least  4  feet deep  in  some places in  town.  There were about  eight  floods  during  the  three months  of June
July,  and August.  When  the water was  the  deepest,  there
were  only about 15  houses  that  didn't  have water  in  them.  The  school house was used by families  who had  to move out.  The people were  there for about two days
All  gardens  and  crops  were washed  out.  Before the floods
came that year the bridge  south  of  town  had  fallen  in.  There was  no  one on the bridge at the time, but there had been quite a bit of traffic that day.
The  following  is  from  the  Culver  Herald  on  April  20, 
1932;  Wheat .40 eggs .07  butter  .15.   In 1935 the following appeared: Will trade -a  few  subscriptions  to  the  Culver  Herald, new or  renewal,
for  butter, eggs, beef, potatoes, milk, or other produce. What have you?
In November of 1960 the installation of a water system was compled.
On August  31,  1964,  the City  entered into a contract to
provide Pleasant Valley  Township  with  fire  protection.  Consequently,  the  city  bought a pumper truck and now is building a new fire station.
A  tennis  court was  built  in April, 1965.  A  new park is
being built.

[1965]. Some early businesses in Culver:

School
Methodist Church
Presbyterian Church
U. B. Church
Drug store
Implement and warehouse shops
Telephone Office
Post Office
Three grocery stores
Hardware
Real Estate
Bakery
Town Hall
Hotel
Two lumber yards
Blacksmith Shop
Printing Office
Two creameries
Barbershop
Bank
Harness Shop
Shoe Shop
Skating Rink
Garage
Livery Stable
Depot
Section Rouse
Stock yards
Elevator
Coal Bins

            From the Ottawa County Museum files

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