Former Augusta resident LaRoux Gillespie not only stays busy writing technical articles on manufacturing, the world of miniature precision parts used in aerospace, electronic and medical products, but he also writes local histories.
He has completed the fourth in a series of six books on Augusta and Butler County history; Indianola, Butler County, Kansas.
Indianola, a community located 8 miles northwest of Augusta, has disappeared. Today it’s name is linked to a county road and a cemetery.
Gillespie’s book captures the history of the small community which was in existence until the school was re-organized within the Andover school system in 1965.
The book includes newspaper accounts, some dating back to 1873, there are maps, school, cemetery and land records.
Gillespie recounts that the Osage Indian Lands (southern half of Butler County), were opened for settlement in 1870. That same year Thompson Harper broke ground on his farm in the southeast corner of the Benton Township. He donated part of his land for a 21’ x 25’ frame building and land for the Indianola Cemetery.
The name of the school and post office were called Smithfield after the first settler, but was changed by a vote of the citizens in 1874, to Indianola, the name of a creek which ran south of the school.
The wooden school house was destroyed in a fire and was replaced with a red brick building that still stands today and has a stone inscribed with “S.D. 50, 1872 - 1916.”
The building is now a private residence and sits at the corner of 60th and Tumbleweed Rd.
Concrete foundation remains of the old wooden school house are visible in the yard of the existing brick building.
Indianola, Butler County, Kansas, also contains some wonderful photos and maps.
The book can be found at the Augusta Historical Museum and the Butler County History Center and Museum in El Dorado.