Some History of Clements

From William G. Cutler’s History of the State of Kansas, published in 1883, and other sources.

Present-day Clements was laid out in February 1882 on the northwest quarter of Section 23, Township 20, Range 6, along the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad, by Joseph L. Crawford who had lived on the site since 1862. He named it Crawfordsville, of course. The plaque on the bridge has the date 1886, only four years after the town site was laid out. From other sources we can see that the date, 1886, was when the County Commissioners advertized for bids to build the bridge, not its date of completion.


The name Crawfordsville was short lived, however. The Santa Fe Railroad Company, whose new line had prompted Crawford to lay out the town site, had its own ideas about the names of stations along its line. By 1883 the name had been changed to Clements, in recognition of an H. G. Clements, auditor for the Santa Fe Railroad.


Another place name came from an M. Coyne, who had settled near here in 1857, presumably giving his name to Coyne Branch, the creek that joins the Cottonwood River from the south near Clements. The first birth to a settler occurred on December 25, 1857, producing one Lafayette Hawkins.


In the early years the settlement prospered because of a stone quarry. The west façade of the state capitol building in Topeka was, reportedly, built with stone from Clements. Also, Clements was a cattle shipping point on the railroad.


If you have any historic notes about Clements, or if you observe that I have something radically wrong here, please send the information to me.


Since posting information about Clements and the bridge on the web in August 1999 I have received a number of very pleasant e-mail messages from former residents who simply enjoy hearing about a place from their past.



So How Small Is It?

Not everyone understands what I mean by tiny and gone.

So look below at Main Street in about 1920. This is what I mean by tiny. By the time I remember anything, about half of these building had disappeared.

If you look carefully you can see a railroad car at the end of the street. It was on the main line of the Santa Fe Railroad, although the depot is just out of view to the left. The railroad was the reason a town grew up there in the first place. Clements was a cattle shipping point.

Clements ~1920
main street ~1920



As for gone, try this November 1997 view of the same street! The town now appears to have three occupied buildings, none on Main Street. The last occupied building on Main Street was the Post Office (shown below), which including the postmistresses residence, and was later a residence only. The railroad is still there, but the depot it gone and there is only one track instead of two.

Clements 1997
main street 1997


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