Monday, April 2, 2012

"Jailhouse Rock"

It was a Sunday morning and I was on a mission to buy an antique car engine and was making the 80 mile trip across the flat Plains of Rice County KS and I noticed the grain elevator at the ghost town of Frederick, Ks. It sits along the railroad like most of them and I never thought there was anything else there but after many years of driving by I turned onto the only road going into it. Perhaps there are 4-5 homes and only one of them sees fit to mow the grass and keep their place presentable. Might be 10 people living there. All business buildings except for the concrete grain storage are gone. Most homes are not the original old style that would have been here. Some are mobile homes. Did a tornado wipe this town out? Good question.
Even the township building where the road grader and snow plow are kept has had the roof collapse and they sit outside in the weather.
But one old building remains as it was built to last.....
It is the city jail.....and it sits in a corn field. I had to go have a closer look. Amazingly it is in good shape. Primitive is the word...

I had to ponder several questions here. Why did a town that small ever need a jail? Was it for locking up the town drunk? Did it ever hold a bank robber, train robber, or cattle rustler? A killer? Or perhaps worst of all----the dreaded horse thief ! I walked inside the cave like structure. 

 A time capsule on the prairie. No better description than that.
It would have been cold, hot, drafty, damp, and a place for snakes and mice. Not some place the bad guys would want to come back to. After I got home I googled the town to see what info I could find and read this:

Frederick, one of the smaller towns of Rice county, is located in Eureka township, at the junction of the Missouri Pacific and the St. Louis & San Francisco railroads, 12 miles northwest of Lyons, the county seat. It is a shipping and trading point for a wealthy agricultural district; has banking facilities, telegraph and telephone offices, a number of churches, good schools, and a money order postoffice with one rural route. The town was incorporated as a city of the third class in 1909. The population according to the government census of 1910 was 151.

I guess it never was big but would have had a downtown with store buildings and so forth. Maybe someday I will learn more about Frederick, KS. But for now, I have spent time in their jail....
Thanks for riding along. ---PF

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