Fairhaven, Kansas


postcard image from collection of Sharleen Wurm

 

Fairhaven was a country general merchandise store located approximately ten miles south of Almena, Kansas. The store was owned and operated by James Alderson Maddy and family. How long it operated I am not sure but records show it was in operation in 1900 until 1935.

In the early days farmers brought their cream and eggs to the store and purchased groceries and other merchandise. One account says that $406 worth of cream and $494 worth of eggs were sold to the store during the month of May. Another account says that the store has plenty of ice selling at 35 cents a hundred. The people thought it was nice to have two phone lines down at Fairhaven. Mr. Maddy farmed as well as raising quite a number of Chester White hogs. At one time he sold ice, general merchandise, groceries and operated a post office, produce station and a telephone switchboard. In later years a gasoline pump was installed so gasoline could be sold. Travelers often stopped and stayed overnight at Fairhaven, Kansas.

It seemed to be a gathering place for people to stop and visit and quite often the neighboring families would fill their buggies and head for Fairhaven on Sunday to have a large baseball game or races either among themselves or a neighboring community such as Mt. Carmel.

Some of the articles found in the store were coffee grinders, kerosene lamps and lanterns and other hardware. They also had dress material and sewing accessories. In the line of groceries, syrup and sorghum was sold by the half and one gallon metal pails, beans were sold by the pound and were stored in wooden kegs, canned goods could also be purchased. Mr. Maddy had a large cheese cutter to cut the cheese and sell by the pound. Perishables were kept in the wooden ice box. Tobacco and candy could be purchased here and in later years soda pop was sold.

Mr. Maddy and sons could be seen driving the team of horses and later a truck to Almena and Norton to get supplies and haul the cream and eggs to market.

One lady told me that she had fond memories of the Fairhaven store as she was a child then and looked forward to the bit of candy that Mr. Maddy would place in her parents grocery order.

As a young granddaughter of Mr. Maddy’s I well remember the candy case when we went to visit and the race with my youngest brother to get weighed on the large beam scales. Also the fascination of carbide gasoline lights as most farmers had kerosene lamps at that time. I couldn’t figure out how Santa Claus knew I wanted the doll that I saw in the show case there but I sure ended up getting it for Christmas. I was born in a stone house just half a mile from the store.

With the death of Mr. Maddy in 1935 the store ceased to exist and so ended the village of Fairhaven. The Fairhaven Church which was located ¾ mile north of the store was later disbanded and was sold and moved to Norton, Ks. At the present time Mr. Maddy’s grandson, James Andrew Maddy, lives on the land and farms.

Written by Leola (Maddy) Luft
Almena Plaindealer, 10 June 1982, p. 1

©March 2001  Ardie Grimes
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Last updated 09 July 2001