The Ghost Town of Peterton, KS

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Kids had the day off so after some lunch we headed to explore the abandon ghost town of Peterton, KS. Peterton is located 2 miles north of Osage City, 4 miles south of Burlingame off of Hwy 56. One of the only websites I could find about Kansas ghost towns said there were a few buildings to explore. In its heyday, Peterton was said to have 4 churches and twice as many brothels.

We drove out to the site and the only thing we could find were barns. Fortunately, the mail was being delivered and I waved down the lady to ask her about the town of Peterton.

“You’re standing in the middle of it.”

The fellow she was delivering mail to walked out to the road to hear what we were talking about. After being reluctant to talk to a city slicker from Topeka, he finally warmed up to tell me all he knew about the old town of Peterton.

“It’s all gone. All of it. It used to be call the ‘N***** Acres’ because…well, that’s where all the blacks lived. But if you go up to this road and to the T junction and head back east, there are a few buildings left. There’s not much left. Now, there’s an oldtimer in Osage City, he’s 98 and if he catch him on a good day – he can tell you stories that will make your hair stand on end.”

We found the buildings but to there was no way to tell what they once were. One was burned to the ground and you could tell three different stages of building. Camber found some kind of figurine in the ash but most of the site is now used for dumping trash.

Fortunately the weather was great and that made the day enjoyable in spite of a less than awesome find on our first Kansas Ghost Town Adventure. We’ll try again but Peterton is not on the return list.

We did find a cool park in Burlingame and stopped by one of the “Mom and Pop” stores downtown for ice cream but it was closed.

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6 thoughts on “The Ghost Town of Peterton, KS

  1. I ran across your description of your day ‘in’ Peterton and I am fascinated. I moved to the Burlingame area earlier this year, and just this summer bought an 1860 farm house in decent condition. It has been said that my home was part of the underground railroad…I am still in the process of researching that. I had no clue Peterton exsisted, even though it wasn’t a memorable trip, I am glad you went.

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  2. My grandfather, Ernest Burnell Thorn, lived in the Peterton and Burlingame area around 1895 until moving to Topeka in 1917. His father, Thomas Thorn, was apprenticed to a baker in Burlingame around 1880. A letter Ernest wrote recalling his father’s life story says “When he left here[Kansas to return to Wales approx. 1887] Peterton was a booming mining center, but when he came back [about 1895] Peterton was a dying town, no work.” Thomas and Ernest worked in the coal mines, and farmed, then Thomas later purchased the Burlingame bakery. Just a bit of family history …

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  3. I’ve explored Peterton before and it took a little while to find the main part of town. It is on 217 Road and the BNSF tracks east of Hwy 56. Some folks there told me about its history and I also found a photo of the Santa Fe depot in the mining and railroad museum in Osage City.

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