Fargo Springs & Springfield, KS
As we were traveling East this last weekend along Highway 160 from cool Colorado Rockies through Western Kansas, we took a rest, stretch break at this little rest area near the JCTs of why 160 & 83 in southwestern Kansas. It had the following Kansas Historical Marker (erected by the Kansas Historical Society and State Highway commission) concerning Fargo Springs and Springfield.
The historical marker read as follows, "Fargo Springs and Springfield - The importance of railroads to the early settlement and prosperity of the West is nowhere better illustrated than in the stories of two Seward county towns, Fargo Springs, founded in 1885 about three miles south of here, was the first town established in the county.
"The next year Springfield was located where this marker stands. In June it was named the temporary county seat but in August, after an election, the government was moved to Fargo Springs. The vote was contested and when recanvassed in 1887 the county seat was returned to Springfield.
"Fargo Springs ended its brief existence in 1888. It not only had lost its fight with Springfield, but more disastrously had been by passed by the rapidly building Chicago, Kansas and nebraska railway, a part of the Rock Island. Springfield in turn failed to get its railroad and in 1892 lost the county seat to Liberal (16 miles south). In 1897 the Springfield and Fargo Springs townsites were officially vacated.
"Two towns withered and died -- unhappy proof of the vital need for rail connections in the vast and then undeveloped Western frontier."
From my research I have found that lots of small pioneer towns and communities withered and died as these two towns did when railway connections bypassed them. Some towns, such as Freedom, Oklahoma, moved south to be closer to the railroads.
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