Wednesday, July 01, 2009

#196: Return to Waterville

Well, it was my second trek to Waterville, Kansas this last weekend. It was for a family reunion and since I was able to have a year to get ready for it, I had actually planned for side trips and little excursions this year. We took another route instead of the K-99/K-9 one this year. We took I-70 to Manhattan then headed north on U.S. 77 along the west side of Tuttle Creek Lake.

I enjoyed the drive but for some reason it seemed to take longer to get to Waterville. But we got there at about the time I figured so it was all good. Waterville seems like a nice quiet town, it was a railroad town named after Waterville, New York. It currently boasts the Waterville Opera House and the Weaver Hotel, both on the National Register of Historic Places. I never got a picture of the Weaver but I did get a picture of the Opera House because I found it odd that a town like Waterville has an opera house.Once again, the reunion was held in the community center and it was a much smaller crowd which is fine, it made it more intimate.

After the reunion, Audrey and I headed out toward Irving, Kansas. A ghost town that was demolished in 1960 for the construction of Tuttle Creek Lake. All that remains of the town is overgrown roads and some foundations. Former residents erected a monument to Irving which stands where the old city hall used to be. The area is now a wildlife refuge and is open to the public. After Irving, we traveled to north past Blue Rapids toward Alcove Springs. Alcove Springs was a stopping point on the Oregon Trail. The Donner Party stopped there in 1846 and that's where the first member of their party died, Sarah Keyes.At the Springs are carvings in the rocks from travelers of the Oregon Trail. Audrey and I weren't able to find the Springs but along the way we did see a cool old stone house and, after driving a little further north, the town site of Schroyer.

After the Alcove Springs area, we headed out to Blaine, the place with a the gorgeous St. Columbkillane Catholic Church. The reason being, I wanted to cut over to K-63 so I could get to Havensville and America City, a former sister city to Atchison that vanished by the end of the 1930s. The only remains of the town are an old house, a old schoolhouse now being used as a barn and the cemetery which is still being well taken care of.

After America City and Havensville, we began heading home. I was very satisfied with the day except for not seeing the carvings on Alcove Springs but I plan on going out there again someday when the bugs aren't out as much. I'm going to consider figured out where else to go to for next year but...

Until next time, I remain...

Edited November 25, 2009 at 6:39pm. Thanks to Scott for pointing out the typo.