USGS Aerial Photograph of Sun City, Barber County, Kansas, taken 20 March 1996.
Gypsum Quarries, Mines and Mills in Barber County, Kansas
Left to right: Gypsum quarry at Sun City, Aerial tram at Sun City gypsum quarry, Gypsum workers & family members at Sun City.
Photos courtesy of Beth Davis, Kim Fowles and Elloise Leffler.
Sun City Street Scene, Barber County, Kansas. Photo from the Kim Fowles Collection.
Bronc Rider, McLain Roundup, Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.
McLain's Roundup: the Memories of Joe Massey McLain Roundup photos by Homer Venters
Photo by Homer Venters, courtesy of his great-nephew, Mike Venters.
Photo © Mike Venters 2005. Used with his permission.
Sun City Lumber Company, Hardware and Coal, Barber County, Kansas.
From Elloise Leffler's photo collection, courtesy of Kim Fowles.
Bissantz House, Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.
"The Bissantz family were early settlers and well known in the Sun City area. Louis Bissantz was an immigrant from Germany who married Julia Balding. Their children were Bessie, Roy & Adolph. The man on the far right is Tull Balding, Julia's brother. I have heard stories that Tull was an outlaw and had been in prison. This house is still standing in Sun City - barely though." -- Kim Fowles. Photo from the Kim Fowles Collection.
George W. Lott home on Main Street in Sun City in 1916, Barber County, Kansas.
All of the Van Horn sisters & their families are in the photo:
Ella Bird (Van Horn) Lott, Dora Columbia (Van Horn) Hatfield, Flora Gay (Van Horn) Crane & Artha Lee (Van Horn) Massey.
(This house is not standing today.)
Photo & comments courtesy of Kim Fowles..
Frank and Hattie (Owens) Hoagland with their children at their place west of Sun City.
The house WAS the Bank of Sun City building before the building was moved to the farm.
Photo from the collection of Kim (Hoagland) Fowles.
The Kansas Gazeteer & Business Directory For 1882-1883
Sun City . In township of same name, northwestern part of Barbour county, 24 miles northwest of Medicine Lodge (ch), and 99 from Hutchinson on the AT&SF RR. Harper, on the KCL&SK RR, 58 miles east, is the nearest railroad point. The settlement is on the Medicine Lodge river, has 60 inhabitants, a district school and Baptist and Methodist churches. Shipments, cattle. Stages to Kinsley (60 miles northwest) and Medicine Lodge, to the former weekly, and to the latter tri-weekly, with mail. C.H. Douglass, postmaster. (Contributed by Kim Fowles).
Sun City is located in the western suburbs of the county, where Turkey Creek, the most picturesque stream in Kansas, joins the Medicine River.
Like all Kansas towns born of the "boom," it has had its gala day, and like so many of them, clothed itself in sackcloth in atonement.
It is not so many years ago Sun was a lively business center of several hundred inhabitants, with hotels, stores, saloons and all the et ceteras that go to make up a typical western border town. Land agents and land seekers covered the country and the resources of three livery stables were taxed to their utmost showing them the country. Today the country has returned to its normal condition. Its industries and business confined to legitimate bounds, its population reduced in numbers is self-supporting and prosperous accordingly.
Sun City now has a population of less than a hundred people, two stores and is a trading point of considerable importance, connected with Medicine Lodge by a daily stage and mail line. Coats, a mail station on the Mulvane branch of the Santa Fe, fifteen miles distance, is the nearest railroad point. A neat wood structure serves for school and church purposes.
The secret orders are represented by Sun City lodge, I.O.O.F. No. 262, with 45 active members, a lodge of Rebekahs with a membership of 40. The M.W.A. with twenty members. The Odd Fellows are in very prosperous circumstances, own their building and have plans perfected for its repair at an expense of $500. John Adams is the president N.G., J.P. Thomas, secretary.
It is not situated right for extensive growth, but it will always command about so much trade and prosper to a certain degree.
History of Sun City, Barber County, Kansas
Sun City was plotted in 1872 and settled in 1873.
In 1871 young George Walker, his brother, and an Army Officer established a trading post in a dugout on the east bank of Turkey Creek in what is now known as the Shutts pasture. In the winter of 1871-1872 a Col. Griffin, himself a buffalo hunter, became the first settler at the same location. According to The Barber County Index, he was the first settler in Barber County. He was killed and scalped by the Indians the following summer.
Others were Minerva Adams, C.H. Douglas, Mrs. Molly Saunders, Mr. and Mrs. John Bullock, Sam Helton, Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Owens, Mr. and Mrs. Milton Clements, Estelle Whitaker, George Walker, Jim Carl, Thomas and Henry Walker, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Whitaker, Mr. and Mrs. John Montgomery, Frank Whitaker, Mr. and Mrs. S. Flemings, Bob Adams, Ed Coon, Charlie Walker, Major Bowlus, Mr. and Mrs. VanderPool, Frank Saunders, Henry Van Trees, and Mr. and Mrs. Lee Adams.
A stockade was built in 1874 where the Santa Fe depot now stands. The first school house was built in 1875, and set south of the present Baptist Church, about where the alley is. In 1874, due to Indian raids on the settlers, the militia was organized, a company of 60 men. A buffalo hunters' camp, of which M.H. Clements was a member, was used as a basis for the establishment of a stockade. It was located on the block where the Bissantz Store and the Depot are located. There was a block house in the center surrounded by rifle pits and picket fences.
There was another stockade on the Wm. Ward farm on the west side of the end of Main Street. It was a sod stockade 8 feet high and 8 feet wide, enclosing about 5 acres. Each night the settlers brought their families to the stockade. In the morning the men would accompany the soldiers to scout the neighborhood to see if it was safe to go work on their claims. If no Indians were sighted, they would take their families and go to work - returning again at night to the stockade. As many as 40 people were killed by the Indians, south of Sun City to the state line south.
In 1885 the business places of Sun City were two hotels, three livery barns, two dry goods stores, three groceries, a bank, a hardware store, and a shoe shop. M.H. Clements came to Sun City with a party of buffalo hunters in 1872.
In January, 1875, while freighting supplies from Hutchinson in company with 6 other men they were overtaken by a blizzard, and two of the men were frozen to death. Mr. Clements and Reuben Marshall each had their legs so badly frozen they had to be amputated. Another of the party, Harry Van Trees, had all of his toes frozen off.
-- From Chosen Land: Barber County, Kansas, page 65. Submitted by Mildred Ward Hogard.
Sun State Bank Building, 29 May 2004.
Photo by Kim Fowles.
Sun City Cemeteries:
Four Cemeteries (near Sun City), Barber County Index, November 24, 1927.
(An interview with Homer Hoagland about other burial grounds in Sun City area.)
Sunnyside Cemetery - Active cemetery, Sun City.
Hope Cemetery, near Sun City. (a.k.a. Cornish/Harrington Cemetery)
Sun City Churches:
Sun City Events:
McLain's Round-Up, Sun City, Kansas, July 8-9-10:
Big Barber Co. Attraction Announces Entry of World Famous Performers., Barber County Index, June 25, 1938.
McLain's Roundup. A gallery of photos by Homer Venters
Courtesy of his great-nephew, Mike Venters.
McLain's Roundup: the Memories of Joe Massey Photos by Homer Venters captioned by Joe Massey, from the collection of Brenda McLain, courtesy of Kim Fowles.
McLain's Annual Roundup, Sun City, Kansas. Photograph by Murphy
Courtesy of Nathan Lee and William Lee.
Sun City History:
Recollections of the Past - The Festive Buffalo - Chapter 1
(Frank and Tom Whitaker of Sun City attempt to capture a buffalo.)
The Union, October 1, 1886.
Shooting Affray At Sun City
The Medicine Lodge Cresset, November 19, 1880.
WORK OF THE STORM FIEND: Three Mangled and Lifeless Bodies left as mute witnesses of the fury of the Elements. Sun City Swept by a Cyclone. Medicine Lodge Cresset, April 26, 1883.
Petition for Incorporation of Sun City, 15 Jan 1886.
Corporations in Sun City, Kansas, courtesy of Kim Fowles.
EARLY DAYS IN BARBER COUNTY:
Mrs. Jennie Osborn Writes Most Interesting Article Concerning Experiences In Barber County
Barber County Index, September 29, 1927.
Green Adams Describe Things As He Saw Them In Barber County In The Early 1870's
Barber County Index, October 6, 1927.
Green Adams: An Early Day Vigilante Committee
Barber County Index, October 13, 1927.
Memories of Sun City, Kansas by John Robert Massey.
Sun City Post Office, Sun City, Kansas, photos by Nathan Lee.
Sun City Landmarks:
Cowboy Rock near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas Photos from the collection of Kim Fowles.
The Natural Bridge near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas Photos courtesy of Brenda McLain, Kim Fowles and the Kansas Geological Society.
Gyp Mill near Sun City, Kansas, 1909 photo courtesy of Ed Rucker.
Sun City Maps:
Sun City Plot Map, Barber County, Kansas
From Standard Atlas of Barber County, Kansas, 1905. Courtesy of Kim Fowles.
Township 31 South, Range XV West
Map of the area southwest of Sun City, Kansas.
From Standard Atlas of Barber County, Kansas, 1905. Courtesy of Kim Fowles.
Sun City People (partial list): Also see this list.
Thurman W. Balding, known as Tull Balding or Skeeter Balding in the Sun City area, he was a member of the Bill Cook Gang for a while and was known as "Skeeter Baldwin" during that time of his life.
C.A. "Buster" Hathaway
Owner and operator of Buster and Alma's Tavern at Sun City
The Sam & Mary Helton Family, they were among the earliest settlers in the Sun City area.
Frank and Hattie (Owens) Hoagland, early settlers in the Sun City area.
Marion Francis McLain
Founder of the McLain Roundup rodeo near Sun City.
Testimony of C.C. Pepperd, resident of Sun City, Kansas, in the 1873 case of State of Kansas vs. William Thompson. An eyewitness account of one of the most notorious "cowtown shootings" in Kansas history. (C.C. Pepperd was born in Ireland, was a Confederate Civil War veteran; a cowboy; a bronc buster; a trail driver; a resident of Sun City, Kansas in 1873; an early (1874) Comanche County, Kansas, rancher; a noted figure in the early history of Dodge City, Kansas; and the founder of Wilmore, Kansas. C.C. Pepperd was truly a legend in his time.)
The Story of Mr. Shmidl's Cattle, Bulldog and New Steer
as told to David Massey by Irl Shutts
"Homer Venters: Vintage Rodeo Photographer", The Western Horseman, July 1972.
Rev. John Presley Woods of Sun City Baptist Church
Sun City Photographs:
Sun City Schools:
Sun City High School Graduates, 1925 - 1966, courtesy of Kim Fowles.
Sun City School Pupils and Teachers Listing of students who attended Sun City and for one reason or another did not graduate from Sun City perhaps moved away, quit school, or were required to attend Medicine Lodge when the school closed.
Photos of Sun City Basketball Teams, courtesy of Brenda McLain.
White Sands School near Sun City Photo courtesy of Bonnie (Garten) Shaffer.
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