There's a lot of old stuff in Kansas - bridges, barns, houses, schools, towns, etc. - that dot the country side. Over the years people moved from the rural areas to the cities living behind structures that they had built and occupied. While researching this part of the trip I identified 3 place I wanted to visit. They included the old Clements Stone Arch Bridge, the Cedar Point Mill, and an old prairie one room school hose. I located all of them using Google Maps before we left and was actually able to locate them on Monday without too much trouble. All of the locations are along US 50.
Clements Stone Arch Bridge is tucked away in the woods at the edge of a field south of Clements, Kansas. It's a double arch bridge built from locally quarried stone and crosses over the Cottonwood River. It was built between 1886 and 1888. It's been closed sinceIt's difficult to get a really good side view of the bridge. You have to find a place in the bushes along the river bank where you can see most of the bridge. The town of Clements is pretty much abandoned. the Post Office was closed in the 1980's and it appears that there are only one or two houses left.
After visiting the bridge, I moved upstream to Cedar Point another mostly abandoned town along the Cottonwood River. It was established in 1862 when the Post Office was established. In 1867, a log dam was built across the Cottonwood River, and a wooden-frame mill was constructed for sawing lumber. The following year the mill was converted to grind flour and named Cedar Point Mill. In 1870, the name was changed to Drinkwater & Schriver Mill. The current stone structure was started in 1871 and completed in 1875. It used to grind corn and wheat into flour, with a capacity of 75 barrels per day. In 1884, the log dam was replaced by a stone dam that is still in place, but in need of some TLC. The mill is undergoing reconstruction by a private non-profit, but it appears the going is slow. A 2015 newspaper article indicated it may take as much as a $! million to renovate the building and more to bring it back into operation to grind grain. The town of Cedar Point is all but dead with the main street buildings mostly abandoned except for a bank office and a garage of some type. Fundraising appears to be going slow as there didn't appear to be any work completed on the project other than to clear the underbrush from the property and remove an old granary from the front accomplished in 2015.
The last planned stop was the Prairie School House off of US 50 on a gravel road. The Bichet School District 34 is served the French speaking settlement four miles east of Florence, Kansas. The school was built in 1896 and continued to serve the community until 1946 when it closed because of low enrollment. The last class had two students. August and Georgia Lalouette, owners of the site, purchased the school house for $600 when it was sold at auction. It's constructed of native limestone, and it represents one of many one-room schools that were constructed every three miles or so in each township. These schools were funded with public money and usually stood on an acre of land donated by a farmer. Most of these one room schools were closed in the 50's and 60's as consolidation was necessary because of declining enrollment.
I made a few stops on the way back to the campground. One was at a church. As I was taking pictures, I noticed a hummingbird flitting around a couple of feeders in the center. I tried to get some pictures, but it was getting dark making hard to get decent images of these fast flyers.
Hope you enjoy today's images.