Oronoque: Out of the Ashes

Oronoque, KS, Lost Kansas Communities“What comes to mind when you think of northwestern Kansas? Is it the rolling hills, prairie grass, fields of wheat and corn, or flowing streams? This paints a scene of Oronoque, Kansas. Ten miles southwest of Norton off of Highway 383 we find the remains of what was once the town of Oronoque. All that remains is a single house, the rubble of previous ones, a cemetery, and the old lumber company.

Looking at it today you may not have thought it to be the image of success and enterprise. Venture back to 1885 and you would get a new picture entirely, one where farmers plowed their fields and the blacksmith pounded out a horseshoe. Listen as the whistle blows, alerting the town that the train is coming through. Hear the wind blow through the trees on a windy afternoon and hear the birds chirping their tunes of joy. The story of Oronoque is filled with trials, of fire and depression, but more than its trials, this town tells a tale of perseverance. This is a story of a group of people not deterred by Mother Nature, but stronger than the trials they faced.”

Read more on our Lost Kansas Community website at http://lostkscommunities.omeka.net/items/show/178.

Samuel Field, senior in secondary education, author, “Oronoque: Out of the Ashes”
Spring 2015 Chapman Center for Rural Studies