Saturday, May 24, 2014


Kiro was hard to find. We tried to stop through on our way home from Silver Lake, but we just didn't see it. There simply weren't any signs marking this little town just off of Highway 24.

We found it the next time we passed through, with the help of our faithful friend, Google Maps.

We didn't see any signs on Highway 24 for Kiro, but it was mentioned on a couple of signs for a seed company and a fertilizer company near this railroad crossing on Huxman Road. There are also a few small houses in the area, as well as a daycare. A road named Kiro Court is nearby, too.

Next to the businesses by the railroad crossing, there's an old Union Pacific depot with an unused sidetrack nearby. our older boys had fun playing on the sidetrack, and our little one had fun eating his lunch in the van while they played.

It's almost as hard to find anything out about this little spot on the map as it is to find the town itself. According to Grain and Farm Service Centers, Vol. 31, The Kiro Mercantile Cooperative was admitted to the Kansas Association of Grain Dealers in 1913. Grant Elwood Kelsey was one of this company's organizers.

Besides the Mercantile Cooperative, Kiro's other claim to fame is that a proposed dam there sparked a controversy during the Great Depression, as mentioned on the City of Topeka's website:
The well attended meeting was then opened to public comment. Almost immediately, a question was asked by a member of the Kiro Dam Association, a support group, why no mention had been made of the Kiro Dam and reservoir. Col. Hodgson explained that under Public Law 308, the Comprehensive Planning Act of 1927, the Kiro location was investigated but that the rules established by the Congress in the Flood Control Act of 1936 requiring the project benefits to equal or exceed its costs, prohibited the Corps from considering Kiro. He said that the estimated cost of the Kiro Dam and Reservoir was $67,000,000 and the benefits to Topeka were only $2,600,000.
The transcript of the hearing indicated that some strong feelings were expressed about the absence of the Kiro Dam in the protection plan presented by the Corps of Engineers. R.M. Owthwaite, General Manager of the John Morrell Packing plant and President of the Topeka Chamber of Commerce apparently became concerned that the meeting was getting off track. He arose to recommend that the Corps had a plan (Plan "B") before the group which could be built immediately, even if not completely adequate, and that the community accept this plan. Finally a motion was made to accept the Corps' plan and the City and other public agencies involved, be urged to give the Corps the official assurances needed. The motion carried by the raising of hands and the hearing was concluded. It was evident that not everyone was happy with the outcome of the hearing.
It seems that Kiro, like so many old Kansas towns, was once the center of great hope. These days, the only remaining tokens of that hope are a few old buildings and a railroad crossing.

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