Butler County Times Gazette
  • K-State web site tells forgotten stories of lost towns

  • The story of Bodarc is one of the lost towns
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  • Bodarc isn't a town that readily comes to mind when naming the towns in Butler County. That's because it is a town that existed from 1875 to 1951.
    But the story of Bodarc is being retold through the Kansas State University Chapman Center for Rural Studies. The center has launched an archive of "gone-but-not-forgotten" town and community histories.
    Evan Voth wrote the history of Bodarc, which was unofficially founded in 1875 and included a mill, general store, schoolhouse, church and cemetery. The study Voth put together includes newspaper clippings, personal records, photographs, interviews and information obtained from the Butler County Historical Society.
    According to the article, Bodarc was located about five miles southeast of Augusta. With the first church built in 1883, the Cumberland Church was built in 1876, according to the article, with a bridge built across the river two years after that.
    The final store closed in Bodarc in 1951, causing most of the families to leave the town to move to larger cities.
    Today, the Cumberland Church and Cemetery still remain, as does the Bodarc bridge.
    For more information on the history of Bodarc, check out the entire article at www.k-state.edu/history/chapman.
    The project has been created and funded by endowments and generous gifts from Kansas State University alumnus Mark Chapman. Growing up in Broughton, Clay County, a town bulldozed in 1966 to create Milford Reservoir, Chapman longed to find a way to preserve vibrant aspects of rural Kansas life and community memories.
    Chapman Center offers a Lost Kansas Communities class every semester. Most of the students who drive to old own sites and interview former residents are rural Kansas kids who have grown up seeing the old dusty signs for vanished towns, the lone schoolhouse or old cemetery. It is a unique project in the country, being the only one nourished by undergraduate research and curriculum.
    The Web site has about 130 posted profiles, with more to be posted over the next few months. The goal is to have all Kansas counties represented within the next few years.
    They ask readers to contact them with information, memories, stories, old photographs or other material such as a diary, letters or postcards.
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