Elbing, Kansas

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Elbing is a city in Butler County, Kansas, United States. It is named after the city Elbląg in northern Poland, formerly Prussia. The population was 218 at the 2000 census.

Contents

History

In 1887, the Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railway Company built a line through Elbing.[3] The track passed through the land of Jacob W. Regier in section 17 of the Fairmount Township in Butler county in south central Kansas. The Regiers sold 80 acres (320,000 m2) of section 17 to the Elbing Town Company for $5,000. The 1/4 mile by 1/2 mile plot ran along the west side of the CK&NR tracks. The railroad wanted to call the town “Regier” but Mr. Regier suggested three other possibilities: Elbing, Danzig and Marienburg – cities in Prussia where he had lived. Elbing was chosen. The town was founded May 18, 1887. Within a few months people began to build houses and businesses in Elbing. By November four passenger trains (two in each direction) served Elbing. The trains also provided mail delivery and pick-up twice daily.

School district 160 for the Elbing community was established in 1887 and provided public education for several local primary school students. The original frame building was replaced by a red brick building in 1919. The brick building stands vacant today and has not been used for classes for about twenty years. Now, Elbing students who attend a public school travel to nearby Whitewater, Kansas for grades K-8 or to nearby Burns, Kansas for grades 9-12.

The Methodist Episcopal Church, Elbing’s first church, was built in 1905, but the church disbanded in 1937. The Missionary Church, built in Elbing in 1910, was used until the 1960s when the congregation moved to nearby Newton, Kansas. The building was razed in 1975. The Zion Mennonite Church, which built in Elbing in 1924, is the only church which remains in town.

Elbing grew slowly. By 1895 it had a few businesses and 50 residents. By the turn of the century telephone service was available to the residents of Elbing on a party-line basis–four families for each telephone line. By 1910 the population had reached 100 and the town had several businesses: general store (with a post office), hardware store, implement store, bank, blacksmith shop, lumber yard, barber shop, cafe, and hotel. The town also had a doctor. Electricity did not come to Elbing until 1929 and residents had to provide their own water from wells or cisterns until the city installed a city-wide water system in 1967. The city sewer system was installed in 1972. Until then each residence had its own septic tank.

In 1919 the first of several oil wells were drilled near Elbing. As a result of the oil boom, Elbing grew dramatically for a brief time. Although the town’s population increased for a few years, the new residents had little lasting effect upon the town. The oil field rapidly declined and a fire destroyed much of Elbing in 1933. Although new residences were eventually rebuilt, Elbing never regained its businesses. For several decades downtown Elbing included only a grocery/hardware store, a gas station/garage, a Post Office, and a grain elevator. Elbing’s grocery/hardware store closed a little over a year ago. Today the garage and grain elevator are the only downtown businesses.

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