Road Trip & Map of Riley County (area) Kansas

July 4th, 1953

INCLUDING A MUCH BIGGER ROAD MAP OF THE WESTERN UNITED STATES

The following map is from a circa 1953 CO-OP SERVICE gas station map.  This map was used by Lloydine Clayton on her trip to and from the Backlund Farm in Lasita, Kansas in the summer of 1953.  Lloydine’s mother, Hemme Backlund Martin, was living on and running the farm at the time.  On this trip were “Martin” Clayton, Kenneth Clayton, and Donald Clayton (an ‘old’ age four).

The farm still had it’s windmill as the only source of running water.  The outhouse was still in operation; there was no indoor plumbing.  The telephone (that had a crank to call), barely worked.  During storms there was no electricity.  The surrounding roads were still dirt, and after a storm, were mud.  All that having been said; there was still a remarkable quality of life inherent to living on the Kansas prairie.

The big red line coming from the west through Clay Center is U.S. Route 24.  On the map it looks like an easy drive to Lasita, then turn left, go north, to the farm.  The problem was that north of Lasita the road was dirt and very bad.  The “best” entrance to the farm was from the north, through Green (Kansas).

Reading the above “line descriptions” included on the map sometimes helped.  The road north from Lasita was definitely “unimproved“.  “Two lines” for “Dirt Roads”?  Some maps can be so misleading.

The following road map of the “western” United States gives one an idea of what this summer trip entailed.  There were few freeways then, most travel was on paved two-lane roads, with an occasional extra lane to use to pass.

The trip began in Kings Beach at Lake Tahoe, which is on the California – Nevada line (north shore).   The family had been in Las Vegas, with a visit to Boulder Dam, earlier in the summer.  The “trip out” went northerly, through Salt Lake and then down to Denver.  We drove briefly to Kansas City at one point, from the farm.  Hemme rode with us going back.  It was a 1950 Ford Station wagon (woody), LOF glass.  We went west through southern Colorado, over to Zion (National Park), through Zion and the tunnel, then again north to Ely and “back west”.  Somebody should have marked the map.

A few weeks later I was in Los Angeles, my mother (Lloydine) and Hemme were in Long Beach (California).  Then back to Tahoe, through Los Altos and Sacramento just in time to move to Carson City (Nevada).  Every summer should be so much fun.

And (oh, yes) every mile was in a car without a car seat, booster seat, or seat belts.  No “restraining devices” whatsoever, no padded dash, no soft safety knobs or “child proof” locks on the easily opened rear doors.  No air bags, even.  And there was not one mile of divided highway.  I wonder how I survived (or maybe I don’t, but you do).

[“Map of Riley County (area) Kansas” Post written on May 11, 2011 @ 07:45 ZLT / GMT / Zulu / GMT / UTC]

Alfin Backlund letter

June 5th, 1898

Lasita, Riley County, Kansas
June 5, 1898 (Sunday)

Dear brother,

Well I was expecting you home today and you should have come, for Aunt Emma is out here from California.  She and Minnie arrived last Sunday at Clay Center and yesterday auntie came out here.  Emma, Hemmie, Mamma & Papa were to church this forenoon, and this afternoon Emma called on Walstrom’s.  She will go to Clay Center about Thursday (June 9th), and to Omaha about the 15th (Wednesday), then she will make her home at Thorenes.  Well, she may come back here later in the summer but not sure.

The girls and Papa were to Clay Center last Wednesday (June 1st) and were surprised to find Mar?ns in town and also Emma and Minnie.  Minnie is attending the institute.

The band feels sure of Randolph for the fourth (of July).  To their bid they received a letter wanting to know if they meant to have expenses paid or pay them themselves.  So it sounds that they thought $25 was cheap enough if boys pay their own expenses.

Well Dad got me a $6 watch at Clay Center last Wednesday so I have time with me and know enough to not rest too long.

We have about 2 days cultivating left for the first time.

Well I write poor and get the words mixed up but I can’t help it when I have to sit and listen to the old maids love stories.  It’s hard to listen to a dozen things at once.  Goodness she can talk like any city girl, but she’s mighty proud and young looking for her age.

Well I must close now and please answer soon.

Your brother,
Alfin Backlund

[“Alfin Backlund letter” Post written on May 4, 2011 @ 01:08  ZLT / GMT / Zulu / UTC]

Ivy F. Harner card

April 7th, 1894

Souvenir card given to Alfin Backlund, Lasita School student, by Lasita School teacher Ivy F. Harner:

 

“Reasons whole pleasure – all the joys of sense,
Lie in three words – health, peace and competence”
– Pope –

Best wishes of your friend,
Ivy F. Harner

April 7 – 1894

[“Ivy F. Harner card” Post written on May 4, 2011 @ 01:25  ZLT / GMT / Zulu / UTC]

Lasita School

January 1st, 1892

Lasita School

January 1, 1892 – Default date for the beginning of construction for the Lasita School and Community Center – Lasita, Kansas


A brief History of Lasita School:

The building itself was built in 1892, by Johan “John” Backlund with a hired hand or two and help from several others.  One man was killed during the construction of the school, Mr. Flack.  He was blown off a scaffold during a brisk March wind.

John Backlund had progressive ideas about education.  They were quite advanced for his time, and the times, hence the size and stature of this otherwise “rural” school.  Only the bottom floor was ever the “school”.  The top floor was built for use by the community, a “community center” as one might say today.  It was the “Lasita Meeting Hall”, a place for meetings, to hold elections, to have debates about all the areas needs, or wants, or grievances or desires.  Up high one could get a perspective on things, see the town, see across the typically Kansas world.  It helped in making the decisions.

The building was also used as a place to hold Sunday School.  For many years these classes were taught by John Backlund Jr., a “Swedish bachelor farmer”, and son of Johan Backlund, the original founder of Lasita School and the original builder.

The heating of the building was never good.  As you can see in the pictures below the building had no plumbing.  Originally there was no electricity.  The walls were basically without insulation, which was typical of buildings such as this at the time.  But the building did have glass windows and effective shutters.  The Lasita School provided warmth from the wind and effective shade from the Kansas heat of summer.

The fact that the building remained standing until 1954, even though it was discontinued as a school in 1937, when the school board voted to not continue the school, speaks well for the quality of its construction.  The fact is also a testimonial to the fact that Lasita, Kansas was never hit (in these 62 years) by a tornado.

I (Donald Clayton) went inside the abandoned school in June of 1953 with Hemme Backlund, my grandmother, and youngest daughter of Johan “John” Backlund.  I even went upstairs.  I was on a two week trip to visit the Kansas farm with my mother and my two older brothers.  I was five years old at the time, but I remember the trip very well.

The Lasita School was torn down in 1954.  Hemme sold the Backlund Farm in 1955, which was the last year that she lived in Lasita, the town in Kansas nearest that of her birth.


The Lasita School in 1897, when it was new:

This photograph was probably one of the earliest pictures taken by Alfin Backlund, who courtesy of a timer is seen in his own photograph (he is the tallest person in the back row, right of center).  The year is probably 1897, in December obviously, you can see the snow.   The teacher for everyone pictured here is Cora Stump, seen on the far left, back row.  Hemme Backlund is the young girl on the far right.  No coat, but bravely not looking cold.  In the row behind her, to the left is her sister Hattie Backlund.  The names of the other students pictured are listed below.


A list of the School Teachers that taught at Lasita School:

The first year of classes at Lasita School was 1893.

The Lasita School was District Number 47 in Riley County, Kansas.

The following is a list of teachers who taught at Lasita School in Lasita, Kansas:

1893 – 1894     Ivy F. Harner

1894 – 1895     Ivy F. Harner

1895 – 1896     Marshall Harner

1896 – 1897     Cora Stump

1897 – 1898     Cora Stump

1898 – 1899     Jennie Knowles

1899 – 1900     Schuyler Harner

1900 – 1901     Marie Blatchly

1901 – 1902     Spencer N. Chaffee (1/2 year) – Ida Cox (1/2 year)

1902 – 1903     ‘Miss’ Howe

1903 – 1904     ‘Miss’ Howe

1904 – 1905     Hattie W. Backlund

1905 – 1906     Hattie W. Backlund

1906 – 1907     Dora Stafford

1907 – 1908     Lynn Fullington

Note:  There is a possibility that classes began in the fall of 1892, and that an Annie Reece was the teacher, or possibly a Romeo or Loyal Harner.

The above information was provided by Hemme Backlund Martin.  The original list that she wrote appears below.


Hemme Backlund at Lasita School:

Hemme Backlund began school at Lasita School in Lasita, Kansas when she was seven years old.  She completed the course requirements in the spring of 1902, with Ida Cox as her teacher.  On June 10, 1902 she began classes at the Kansas State Normal School in Emporia, Kansas.  Her older sisters Hattie Backlund and Hulda Backlund were also attending school there at this time.

“Hemme” loved Lasita School and loved learning.  She greatly appreciated the education that she received there and fondly recalled all her teachers.  It is courtesy of her memory and her records that we have here the list that we do.  But Hemme was born Swedish.  Her parents did not read or write English well, her name means “home” in Swedish, because that was their wish; a “youngest daughter” that might always stay home and take care of her parents as they would grow old.

The teachers at Lasita School didn’t understand this.  They wished to separate Hemme from the influence of her home and her Swedish language and heritage.  The first thing they did was “Anglicize” her name into “Hemmie”.  The name took.  The teachers were authority figures and, she thought they should know.   So Hemme went through most of her life as “Hemmie”, until she grew older, re-embraced her Swedish past and found herself and her place as her parents had wanted.  And she changed her name back to the Swedish under which she was born.

Throughout her life she was pulled between family and school.  She became a teacher herself, taught in a number of Riley County schools, taught in Arizona, and in California until she was forced to retire.  On the family side she researched much genealogy, even going so far as to relearn Swedish and going to Sweden to read the ‘old’ Swedish in the very old records.  It’s impressive.  It’s a tribute to both her and to the discipline taught at Lasita School.


Lasita, Kansas – Lasita School, Lund House, Shell Elevator and Frank J. Lund Store:

In this photograph of Lasita, Kansas, probably taken in August of 1908, by Alfin Backlund, the clouds are overhead and the foreground mud suggests that it has been raining.   This photograph shows clearly the very tall lightning rod on the top of the Lasita School.


Shell Mill & Grain Co. – Lasita, Kansas – showing the location of the railroad “through town” and Lasita School on the right:

Another photograph by Alfin Backlund.  It seems to have been snowing.  It is probably December of 1908 in Lasita, Kansas.


Lasita School and Community Center Building – Lasita, Kansas:

This photograph by Alfin was probably taken near the end of his life and in the declining years of the community and school.  Since Alfin died at Christmas in the influenza of 1918, this photograph was probably taken in 1914, perhaps a few years later.  Things obviously are reaching a state of disrepair.  The “old” photograph is faded, as the Lasita School seems to need some repair.

The structure out front was for more basic needs.  It was used during recesses a lot.  It was useful in the evenings if meetings went on too long.  “Pashaw” on plumbing.  It’s like cars, and the telephone and electricity – “who needs them”.  The building is evidence that you can have both education and community without the modern frills.  But by 1914 the world was changing.   There was a war.  Men were enlisting.  Life in Lasita, Kansas would never be the same; and then came the influenza.

In this picture you can see the single (small) chimney.  Maybe it is a reflection of the fact that people either had coats or didn’t need them.  The building was both designed and built by Johan “John” Backlund.  He was born and young in northern Sweden.  Kansas (it could be said, that he thought) was always warm compared to Sweden.


Photograph of Jennie Knowles, teacher at Lasita School:

Jennie Knowles was the teacher at Lasita School in the year 1898 – 1899.  This photograph of Jennie Knowles was taken by Kalin photographers on Lincoln Avenue in Clay Center, Kansas circa 1899.  It was apparently given to Hemme Backlund Martin by Mary Lee Caley.

Souvenir given to Hattie Backlund by Jennie Knowles, teacher at Lasita School:

 

Hattie Backlund attended Lasita School from 1893 until her graduation in 1899.  Jennie Knowles was her last teacher at Lasita School.


Graduation Exercises Program for Lasita School – 1899:

The 1899 Graduating Exercises for Lasita School were held at the Methodist Episcopal Church in Leonardville, Kansas on Friday, April 28, 1899.  Hattie Backlund gave the Recitation “Drafted”.  There was an Essay entitled “How the Yankees helped capture Havana in 1762” and another by Gustave Norell entitled, “Our War with Spain.”
The Methodist Episcopal Church in Leonardville, Kansas:

This is a picture, taken circa 1910, of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Leonardville, Kansas where the 1899 Lasita School graduation was held.


Swingle Hotel in Leonardville – A.J. Swingle proprietor:

The School Superintendent for Lasita School was C.G. Swingle.  The above pictured hotel in Leonardville, Kansas was (probably) owned by either his father or a brother.


Photograph of Hattie W. Backlund, teacher at Lasita School:

Hattie Backlund was the teacher at Lasita School in the year 1904 – 1905 and 1905 – 1906.  This photograph of Hattie Backlund was taken by Loomis photographers in Emporia, Kansas in 1904 at the time of Hattie’s graduation from the Kansas State Normal School in Emporia, Kansas.  The photograph is a part of the Hemme Backlund Martin Collection.  Hattie was her older sister.


Teacher’s Contracts for Lasita School – 1904 and 1905 – Hattie W. Backlund:

The 1904 – 1905 school year began on September 5, 1904.  The “year” was for a term of “seven school months”, ending at some point in April.  For this work the teacher was paid $40 dollars per month, about $2 per day; no benefits were included.

The 1905 – 1906 school year began on September 4, 1905.  The “year” was for a term of “seven school months”, ending at some point in April.  For this work Hattie Backlund was paid $45 dollars per month (an increase of $5 per month over last year), about $2.25 per day; no benefits were included.   M.A. Chaffee was “Director or Treasurer”, E.B. Senn was “Clerk or Treasurer” for Lasita School.


Map of the School Districts of Riley County, Kansas – early 20th Century:

On the far left side of this map, mid-map, one can see the Lasita District #47.  North of Lasita is the Pleasant Hill School, upper right of Lasita is the Alert School, further south is the Bala School.  The May Day School is north of Alert, Leonardville School District is east of Arbor School and south of Monitor School.

Unfortunately, the location of the various schools on this map that shows the school district lines are not shown.  The schools can be found on a map here, but this map of Riley County, Kansas does not show the school district boundaries.   If one goes back and forth between the two maps enough times one can figure out both where the schools are, and where the school district boundaries were.


Note:  The first post about Lasita, Kansas starts here: Lasita, Kansas.

[“Lasita School” Post written on May 4, 2011 @ 03:47  ZLT / GMT / Zulu / UTC]

Record of the birth of Hattie Wilhelmina Backlund

January 10th, 1882

Birth of Hattie Backlund (Hattie W. Backlund) on January 10, 1882.

This document is the newspaper clipping regarding the death of Hattie Wilhelmina Backlund, of Lasita, Kansas – Riley County.  The Backlund Farm at which she was both born and died is located one mile north and slightly west of Lasita, Kansas, a town established less than two years before her birth, in the year 1880.  The spelling of her name in this article is incorrect.  Her middle name is “Wilhelmina”, not “Wilhelmia”.

As the article says, she was a school teacher in Kansas, at Lasita School for 4 of the eight terms she taught in Kansas.

[“Record of the birth of Hattie Wilhelmina Backlund” Post written on May 6, 2011 @ 01:30  ZLT / GMT / Zulu / UTC]

Illustrated Teppline for Lasita, Kansas

January 1st, 1880

Time Node:  Default date of January 1, 1880 – Founding of Lasita, Kansas

Illustrated Teppline for Lasita, Kansas:

The following information about Lasita, Kansas and the pictures of Lasita, Kansas are presented in the form of a Teppline.  The dates represent the dates, or approximate dates, that photographs were taken, that events occurred or that articles or information were published.

Most of the materials herein are from the “Hemme Backlund Martin Collection“.   She was my grandmother on my mother’s side (Lloydine Martin Clayton).   Alfin Backlund was Hemme’s older brother.

Hemme’s father was Johan “John” Backlund.  He came to the Bluestem Prairie in 1870 and homesteaded a 160 acre farm, the Backlund Farm, located approximately one mile north (and slightly west) of where Lasita, Kansas would be founded ten years later, in 1880.  Lasita was founded in 1880 by Michael Senn.

This presentation does not represent an effort to present all that is known about Lasita, Kansas, nor all the facts.  It is more of a personal presentation of the town and how the Backlund family participated in the growth of the community and shared life with the others that lived there or considered Lasita, Kansas as their modest “hometown”.  Lasita was never large.  The community hardly exists today.

____________________________________________________________________________ 1870

1870.00.00 ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————       [2] 39:096  North America – United States of America – Kansas – Riley County
(Lasita) – Backlund Farm

JOHN BACKLUND HOMESTEADS THE BACKLUND FARM

—————————————————————————————————————————————————–  Information regarding the birth members of the Johan Backlund family is here.

The 1877 Patent (Deed) for the Backlund Farm is here.

A Teppline for the Backlund Farm is here.

____________________________________________________________________________ 1877

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(Lasita)Senn Homestead

MICHAEL SENN PURCHASES ACREAGE IN RILEY COUNTY KANSAS

In October of 1877 Michael Senn purchased land in Fancy Creek township near the present site of Lasita.

The map below showing Senn family land ownership is circa 1910.

Note:  The historical question is how many acres did Michael Senn purchase, and from whom.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————  Info

____________________________________________________________________________ 1878

1878.05.27 ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————       [2] 39:096  North America – United States of America – Kansas – Riley County
(Lasita)Backlund Farm

BIRTH OF ALFIN BACKLUND

——————————————————————————————————————————————————  Information regarding the birth members of the Alfin Backlund family is here.

A Teppline for Alfin Backlund is here.

A Teppline for Maude Lee Cline Backlund (Alfin’s wife) is here.

____________________________________________________________________________ 1880

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Lasita

MICHAEL SENN FOUNDS THE TOWN OF LASITA, KANSAS

Michael Senn establishes a town site from land on his homestead and names it La Sita (French for “the site”) about 1880.

The suggestion is that Michael Senn did not actually move to Lasita until 1880 when he established his own homestead of 160 acres in addition to the land he had purchased earlier (in 1877).

——————————————————————————————————————————————————  The (1908) Hemme Backlund Correspondence Institute of America article about Michael Senn is here.

The (1976) Pioneers of the Bluestem Praire article about Michael Senn is here.

1880.00.00 ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————       [2] 39:096  North America – United States of America – Kansas – Riley County
LasitaSenn Store

MICHAEL SENN ESTABLISHES THE SENN STORE IN LASITA, KANSAS

The Senn Store is the first building built in Lasita, Kansas.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————  The only pictures of the Senn Store that seem to exist are those taken by Alfin Backlund (see below) that were taken after Frank J. Lund purchased the store and it was renamed as the Frank J. Lund General Merchandise store.

____________________________________________________________________________ 1881

1881.04.00 ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————       [2] 39:096  North America – United States of America – Kansas – Riley County
LasitaKansas Central Railroad (KCR)

THE KANSAS CENTRAL RAILROAD BUILDS TRACKS THROUGH THE TOWN OF LASITA, KANSAS

The Kansas Central Railroad was organized from the ashes of the defunct Kansas Central Railway on April 15, 1879.  The tracks are extended from Garrison, Kansas starting August 3, 1880, reaching Clay Center, Kansas on December 25, 1881.  Lasita, Kansas is about halfway between the two points, suggesting that the railroad reached Lasita in April of 1881.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————  More information about the Kansas Central Railroad, including maps is here.

A photograph by Alfin Backlund of the L, K, & W Railroad tracks in Lasita, Kansas next to the Shell Mill is here.

A picture of the Leavenworth, Kansas, & Western Railroad cut through the Backlund Farm near Lasita, Kansas is here.

____________________________________________________________________________ 1892

1892.00.00 ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————       [2] 39:096  North America – United States of America – Kansas – Riley County
LasitaLasita School

JOHN BACKLUND BUILDS THE LASITA SCHOOL IN LASITA, KANSAS

——————————————————————————————————————————————————  Extensive information, photographs and documents regarding the Lasita School are here.

____________________________________________________________________________ 1897

1897.10.01 ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————       [2] 39:096  North America – United States of America – Kansas – Riley County
LasitaLeavenworth, Kansas & Western Railroad (L,K,& W)

THE LEAVENWORTH, KANSAS & WESTERN RAILROAD BUILDS TRACKS THROUGH THE TOWN OF LASITA, KANSAS

——————————————————————————————————————————————————  A photograph by Alfin Backlund of the L, K, & W Railroad tracks in Lasita, Kansas next to the Shell Mill is here.

A Map of the Leavenworth, Kansas, & Western Railroad through Lasita, Kansas is here.

A picture of the Leavenworth, Kansas, & Western Railroad cut through the Backlund Farm near Lasita, Kansas is here.

____________________________________________________________________________ 1908

Lasita, Kansas – Photographs of Buildings

The following photographs of Lasita, Kansas were taken by Alfin Backlund.  He used a “big box camera” for his photography.

1908.08.10 ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————       [2] 39:096  North America – United States of America – Kansas – Riley County
Lasita – 

The date of this postcard is August 10, 1908.  The photographer is Alfin Backlund.  The card was actually mailed in Bala, Kansas and sent to Green, Kansas.  Text is by “H”, which means by Hemme Backlund who had just turned 21 when this postal was sent.

Looking at the view of Lasita one can see the Lasita School (built by Hemme’s father – Johan “John” Backlund) on the left.  The home of John J. Lund is a house of two stories.  The grain elevator is slightly hidden behind John J. Lund’s General Merchandise store.  He purchased the store from Michael Senn after he retired.  Hemme still calls it “Senn’s Store” despite the clearly lettered new name on the front.  Ed Johnson’s house is to the right of the “Senn’s Store”.

The telephone poles for the Farmer’s Cooperative Telephone Exchange can be seen in the distance.  The roads are dirt, which is better than asphalt for the horses and buggies that most everyone used.

Photographer – Alfin Backlund.  From the Hemme Backlund Martin Collection.  Copyright waived by Donald Clayton (photograph owner) pursuant to Qala Bist Blue.   Note:  Alfin Backlund had a large box camera that he used for his photography.  He carried it on the train between Kansas City, Kansas (where he lived and worked) and Lasita when he visited the Backlund Farm.

Yes, it is August; so it must be time for the annual Chautauqua (in Clay Center).  In the “early” days of photography people developed their own photographs at home.  A popular product was the “penny postcard” photographic paper that you see here.  One side (the front) was the photograph one took, on the back side was the required writing expected by the Postal Service.

On August 19, 1908 Hemme sent a poorer copy of Alfin’s Postcard of Lasita to her older brother John Backlund.  She identifies the fact that Ed Johnson is the “village mechanic”.  She will be going (with her sister Hattie) to Kansas City, Kansas to visit her brother Alfin and his wife Maude on August 24th, returning August 27th.  This trip will be the first time in her life that Hemme has been out of the State of Kansas (even though it is only to the Missouri side of Kansas City).

Lasita, Kansas – Lasita School, Lund House, Shell Elevator and Frank J. Lund Store

In this photograph of Lasita, Kansas, probably taken in August of 1908, by Alfin Backlund, the clouds are overhead and the foreground mud suggests that it has been raining.  There is a piece of two-wheeled horse-drawn farm equipment between the photographer and the grain elevator in the background.  The horse is stationary, but hitched and ready to go.

This photograph is special in that the writing on the two sides of the grain elevator can be seen.  I did a blow-up with a resolution too high to be uploaded to the web by the pathetic Quest Communications “High-Speed” service available (but I guess 5.4 million pixels really is a lot).

Anyway, On the “side” of the building that you can see, it says, “Shell Mill & Grain Co.“.  To the left below that it says, “Cash for Grain.”  To the right it says, “Coal for Sale.”  Just below the lower roof are the words, “Use Shells Hi Patent Flour.”  To the left of those words, on the “back” of the building (meaning on the side away from the railroad tracks) the words are, “Flour  Feed  Coal“.  There is no mention of corn, but I believe that the “feed” mentioned was a silage based on corn and not just the smaller sacks of cracked corn chicken feed that of course almost every granary would sell.

Another remarkable feature of this photograph is how clearly one can see the very tall lightning rod on the top of the Lasita School.  It’s cloudy and it’s rainy, so that fact only makes sense.  Since Lasita really didn’t have a fire department, fire prevention was a priority.  It should be noted that the Shell Mill has not engaged in this important precaution.

Shell Mill & Grain Co. – Lasita, Kansas – showing the location of the railroad “through town”.

Another fine photograph by Alfin Backlund.  It seems to have been snowing.  It is probably December of 1908.  Alfin could have been staying warm by a fire, but he was out with his “big box camera” capturing this view of Lasita, Kansas just for you.

This picture shows “the other side of things” in Lasita.  Everything is reversed.  You can see the narrow gauge tracks through town and the Shell Mill & Grain Company siding.   Also there is a windmill near the tracks that we have not seen before, it is probably the source for the community water, no electric pumps back then.   At “the mill” you can see the distinctive metal stack reflective of coal heaters.  The brick chimneys at the Lund house suggests that they were more fond of wood.  At the school house you can see nothing, and the reason for that is that it was always cold.  The windows were good for light, but the insulation was very thin.  You needed a coat inside (in winter).  In another picture a little later I will show you.

____________________________________________________________________________ 1910

Lasita School and Community Center Building – Lasita, Kansas

This photograph by Alfin was probably taken near the end of his life and in the declining years of the community and school.  Since Alfin died at Christmas in the influenza of 1918, this photograph was probably taken in 1914, perhaps a few years later.  Things obviously are reaching a state of disrepair.  The “old” photograph is faded, as the school too is fading.

Only the bottom floor was ever the “school”.  The top floor was built for use by the community, a “community center” as one might say today.  It was the “Lasita Meeting Hall”, a place for meetings, to hold elections, to have debates about all the areas needs, or wants, or grievances or desires.  Up high one could get a perspective on things, see the town, see across the typically Kansas world.  It helped in making the decisions.

The structure out front was for more basic needs.  It was used during recesses a lot.  It was useful in the evenings if meetings went on too long.  “Pashaw” on plumbing.  It’s like cars, and the telephone and electricity – “who needs them”.  The building is evidence that you can have both education and community without the modern frills.  But by 1914 the world was changing.   There was a war.  Men were enlisting.  Life in Lasita, Kansas would never be the same; and then came the influenza.

The building itself was built in 1892, by Johan “John” Backlund with a hired hand or two and help from several others.  One man was killed during the construction of the school, Mr. Flack.  He was blown off a scaffold during a brisk March wind.

John Backlund had progressive ideas about education.  They were quite advanced for his time, and the times, hence the size and stature of this otherwise “rural” school.  The heating was not so good.  In this picture you can see the single (small) chimney.  Maybe it is a reflection of the fact that people either had coats or didn’t need them.  He was born and young in northern Sweden, Kansas (it could be said) was always warm.

The school got old, languished, in 1937 the school board voted to not continue the school, it was boarded up and closed, but for a long time it survived.  I went inside the structure in June of 1953; I even went upstairs.  I touched this part of Hemme’s history.  In 1954 the building was torn down.

The Lasita School in 1897, when it was new

This photograph was probably one of the first taken by Alfin Backlund, who courtesy of a timer is seen in his own photograph (tallest person in the back row).  The year is probably 1897, in December obviously, you can see the snow.   The teacher for everyone pictured here is Cora Stump, seen on the far left, back row.  Hemme Backlund is the young girl on the far right.  No coat, but bravely not looking cold.  In the row behind her, to the left is her sister Hattie Backlund.  Emily Erickson is between her and Alfin.

We’ll have more names of the students pictured tomorrow.

[“Lasita, Kansas – Buildings” Post written on April 29, 2011 @ 04:27  ZLT / GMT / Zulu / UTC]

Kansas Central Railroad

April 15th, 1879

____________________________________________________________________________ 1879

1879.04.15 ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————       [2] 39:096  North America – United States of America – Kansas – Riley County
LasitaKansas Central Railroad (KCR)

THE KANSAS CENTRAL RAILROAD IS ESTABLISHED

The Kansas Central Railroad was organized from the ashes of the defunct Kansas Central Railway on April 15, 1879.  

The Kansas Central Railway was established on May 31, 1871 and had narrow gauge tracks that began in Leavenworth, Kansas and extended to the banks of the Big Blue River in Garrison, Kansas (Pottawatomie County).

THE KANSAS CENTRAL RAILROAD BUILDS TRACKS THROUGH THE TOWN OF LASITA, KANSAS

Beginning on August 3, 1880 the tracks are extended from Garrison, Kansas , across the “Big Blue” to Garrison Crossing in Riley County (Kansas) and then at a rate averaging 1.5 miles of track laid each month the rail line reaches Clay Center, Kansas on December 25, 1881, a distance of 28 (rail) miles from Garrison.

The map below indicates the route of the Kansas Central Railroad from Leavenworth, Kansas to Clay Center, Kansas in 1881


The following map shows the Kansas Central Railroad line through Riley County, Kansas (circa 1910) when the railroad had become the
Leavenworth, Kansas & Western Railway.  The communities served were Lasita, Leonardville, Walsburg and Garrison Crossing.

It should be noted that both Garrison, Kansas and Garrison Crossing, Kansas are (now) under water, permanently flooded by the Turtle Creek Dam on the Big Blue River.

This map of Lasita, Kansas (circa 1910) shows the Kansas Central Railroad going through Lasita after the line was sold and renamed the Leavenworth, Kansas & Western Railroad.   The map of Lasita is misleading.  Both the Lasita School and the Michael Senn house are west of the shaded area indicated as being the town.

The narrow gauge railroad was converted to standard gauge on August 25, 1890.  On October 1, 1897 the railroad became the Leavenworth, Kansas & Western Railway.

On May 25, 1908 the Leavenworth, Kansas & Western Railway was sold to the Union Pacific Railroad.   The Union Pacific operated the line from 1908 until March of 1935 when rail service was discontinued and the right of way abandoned.  The tracks were removed soon thereafter.

[“Kansas Central Railroad” Post written on May 14, 2011 @ 04:50  ZLT / GMT / Zulu / UTC]

Alfin Backlund – Family and birth

May 27th, 1878

Time Node:  May 27, 1878 – Birth date for Alfin Backlund ____________________________________________________________________________ 1878

_____________________________________________________________________
May:

1878.05.27 / Monday
———————————————————————————————————————————————————————
[2] 39:096  North America – United States of America – Kansas – Riley County
Lasita –

Alfin Backlund is born at the Backlund Farm near Lasita, Kansas on May 27, 1878.

His parents are Johan [John] [Backlund] and Carolina Wilhelminia Eckkel [Hedman] Backlund.

He will marry Maude Lee Cline Backlund on March 18, 1908.

His children from this marriage are:
(1) Jay Loyall Backlund (born: February 14, 1912 – died: July 16, 1953).
(2) Forrest Alfin Backlund (born: September 16, 1913 – died: September 12, 1994).

He will live until December 26, 1918.

Additional information might be available here.

[First posted:  2011.05.10 / Tuesday – Alfin Backlund Family and birth]  Revised: 2011.05.10

Article regarding birth of Alfin Backlund

May 27th, 1878

____________________________________________________________________________ 1878

1878.05.27 ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————       [2] 39:096  North America – United States of America – Kansas – Riley County
Lasita – Backlund Farm

BIRTH IN LASITA – Backlund Farm

Alfin Backlund

——————————————————————————————————————————————————  The following Newspaper Article, published in 1918 at the time of Alfin Backlund’s death records the date and location of his birth – May 27, 1878 – the Backlund Farm – (near) Lasita, Kansas.

This article also documents that Alfin Backlund left Lasita in 1899 for Kansas City, when he reached the “age of majority”, age 21.

[“Article regarding birth of Alfin Backlund” Post written on May 11, 2011 @ 01:15  ZLT / GMT / Zulu / UTC]

Alfin Backlund – List of Residence Addresses

May 27th, 1878

Alfin Backlund – List of Residence Addresses

The following is a List of Residence Addresses for Alfin Backlund, born May 27, 1878.

The information presented is substantially correct and complete but may be updated with a later reference date.  The date version for this list is 2011.05.10.   The original version of this list was originally compiled on December 7, 2000 by his sister’s grandson Donald Clayton.

Additional List of Residence Addresses for Hemme Naratte Backlund Martin (sister of Alfin Backlund and wife of Guy D. Martin), Guy Dennis Martin (husband of Hemme B. Martin), and Lloydine Della Martin Clayton (daughter of Guy D. Martin and Hemme B. Martin) may be accessed by clicking on the appropriate name.

____________________________________________________________________________ List of Residence Addresses:

Alfin Backlund

____________________________________________________________________________ 1878

1878.05.27 – 1999.06.01  (21 years) ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————       [2] 39:096  North America – United States of America – Kansas – Riley County
Lasita – Backlund Farm

RESIDENCY IN LASITA –

Johan [John] [Backlund] / Carolina Wilhelmina Eckkel [Hedman] Backlund /
John Backlund Jr. / Alfin Backlund / Huldah Bethseda Backlund / Hattie Wilhelmina Backlund / Hemme Naratte Backlund.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————  + The Backlund Farm, located about one (1) mile northwest of Lasita, Kansas, is a 160 acre homestead occupying the NE 1/4 of SECTION 26.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————
06.01:  Backlund children were not allowed to leave home until reaching the age of 21.  The exact date when Alfin Backlund left for Kansas City is unknown, but it was probably very soon after his 21st birthday.

____________________________________________________________________________ 1899

1899.06.011908.03.18  (9 years)
———————————————————————————————————————————————————————
North America – United States of America – Missouri – Jackson County
Kansas City – 209 West 11th Street

RESIDENCY IN KANSAS CITY – 209 West Eleventh Street

Alfin Backlund.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————
+ The Google Maps location for this address is here.   The original building that existed in 1906 is obviously gone.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————
It is not absolutely certain that Alfin Backlund had only one address in Kansas City during this period.  However, he was not well paid and he was frugal, reducing the likelihood of frequent moves.

____________________________________________________________________________ 1908

1908.03.18 – 1909.03.31  (1 year) ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————
North America – United States of America – Kansas – Wyandotte County
Kansas City – 14 North Valley Street

RESIDENCY IN KANSAS CITY – 14 North Valley Street

Alfin Backlund / Maude Lee Cline Backlund.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————
+ This house still exists, here is a picture.  The Alfin Backlund picture of the house circa 1908 is here.  The Google Maps location is here.

____________________________________________________________________________ 1909

1909.04.01 – 1910.08.31  (1.5 years)
———————————————————————————————————————————————————————
North America – United States of America – Kansas – Wyandotte County
Kansas City – 46 Grandview Boulevard

RESIDENCY IN KANSAS CITY – 46 Grandview Boulevard

Alfin Backlund / Maude Lee Cline Backlund.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————
+ This house apparently does not still exist.  The Alfin Backlund picture of the house circa 1909 is here.  The Google Maps location is here.  It should be noted that the rise on the west side of the street supports the indicated map site as the correct house location.

____________________________________________________________________________ 1910

1910.09.01 – 1918.12.26  (8 years)
———————————————————————————————————————————————————————
North America – United States of America – Kansas – Wyandotte County
Kansas City – 3545 Wood Avenue

RESIDENCY IN KANSAS CITY – 3545 Wood Avenue

Alfin Backlund / Maude Lee Cline Backlund /
Jay Loyall Backlund (from February 14, 1912) / Forrest Alfin Backlund (from September 16, 1913).

Alfin Backlund dies on December 26, 1918 at the age of 40 years, 6 months, 28 days.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————
+ This house may or may not still exist.  The Google Maps location is here, but the information is uncertain.

2011.05.10 – 03.21.

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