Elgin, Ks.

City/Town: Elgin, KS
Location Class: Disappearing Town
Year Built: 1869 | Year Abandoned: N/A
Status: AbandonedDisappearing Town
Photojournalist: Johnny Fletcher

Although Elgin may not qualify as an Oklahoma ghost town it might be just close enough. Elgin sits right on the Oklahoma & Kansas state line. Just a quick jog off of Hwy 99 north & you will find your self in a deserted pocket of a once bustling town.

Elgin is a piece of American history that has slipped away with time. The weathered and broken buildings with so many tales to tell…..the brick streets worn from years of wear, old and scraggly trees that break with each wind storm.

Around the turn of the century Elgin was the biggest cattle shipping town in the world and it was a boom town again later when oil was found. Now the last business in town, Margaret’s Cafe, is closed and the sign outside it that announced “the town too tough to die” has been taken down & relocated in front of the community bldg, one of the only modern bldgs in the town.

Bob Dalton and Bill Doolin among other outlaw types were often
visitors to this wild town. After cattle ceased to be the main industry,
oil was found and they had a boom that lasted until 1924. The town hit on hard times after that and has never recovered.

The oldest town in Chautauqua County, once had a station on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe R. R. 10 miles southwest of Sedan, the county seat. It had banking facilities, telegraph and express offices, and a money order post office. The town was supplied with good schools and churches. The first preaching in the county was held here by Rev. S. Peacock. The first school house in the county, as well as the first store, the first mill, and the first Masonic lodge, was at Elgin. The town was founded in 1869 by L. P. Getman. The population according to the 1910 report was 350. As of 2009 only 75 populate the area.

Very little is left except for an abandoned bank, a few shops, & an old water tower which isn’t in use anymore.

My Family & I personally visited the town of Elgin and it was a little bit on the creepy side. After a quick visit to the cemetery north of the town we stopped at a small park for a picnic. We were in awe of how quiet it was. There was not even the serene sound of birds chirping. In fact the feeling was almost as if we were in a scene of Stephen King’s “Children of the Corn” as we felt we were being watched. We were the Outlanders!

We had actually only seen 3 people while we were there. They gawked & looked on as we had our picnic. After a tour down the lonely “Grand Ave” for a couple of shots of the crumbling shops we made a few more rounds of the streets to see if we missed anything & we had just about had our fill of loneliness & exited the town headed south across the amazing one lane Caney river bridge.

Article and Photos by AOK Photojournalist Johnny Fletcher.

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Brenda Thompson
Brenda Thompson
4 years ago

My grandfather Charles Thompson and his brother Walter ran the livery stable there in Elgin back around the 20's and 30's I believe. they came to settle there with their mother and a sister Molly. The boys skinned out dead cattle at the shipping pens to make a little money. They led a very interesting life. And they and other family members are buried in several of the surrounding cemeteries. When there was a museum there back in like the 60's there were pictures of them and their livery service, hauling groceries and freight.

Bubba Williams
Bubba Williams
5 years ago

It Stinks!

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