Small Towns With Deep Roots – Humboldt, KS
Earlier, we took you to Mulberry, Kansas, a small town that’s lost most of it’s history to time and neglect.
But, that’s not always the case, as some communities fight to preserve that history.
Joe Works: “They were in bad need of repair, several of them had been abandoned because of the leaking roofs.”
Joe Works has spent the last several years putting his own money into the restoration of a row of buildings on the Humboldt square.
Works: “There definitely was a downward direction in this town, it was deteriorating.”
Joe put on new roofs, patched walls, and gave a new lease on life for the buildings.
Works: “The buildings aren’t of great value just on their own, they need somebody operating them.”
That’s where folks like Pat Haire come in.
Pat Haire: “Humboldt had the Lightbox Furniture Company on the river, this is what you would have seen in that shop right there.”
He setup the Neosho Valley Woodworks on the square.
Inside, it’s 100% authentic to the machinery used in Humboldt’s early days…
Haire: “Wasn’t long when I was having tours in the carriage and wagon shop in my first stint down there, and people coming to a small town now to enjoy all the different amenities.”
Pat says there’s something unique to his little shop.
Haire: “Almost all museum’s are static, you can walk in and you’re behind a rope and you don’t see anything move.”
Here, you get a live demonstration of how the equipment worked…
Pat uses the equipment regularly to manufacture a number of products, all authentic to their own era.
Mayor Nobby Davis brought his restaurant, Opies, to the square.
The building he’s in, was on the verge of collapse before Joe came and put it back together.
Mayor Davis says Joe set the tone for the community.
Mayor Nobby Davis: “People just didn’t want to lay down and say ‘you know what, we’re going to become a ghost town’ people said ‘we’re bigger than this, we’re better than this we’re going to make a diffrence, we’re going to be on the map, and i think we’re well on the road to becoming on the map.”
Joe says it takes a community to save one.
Works: “Frankly, I don’t to focus on my role in it that directly, I don’t want to point to myself, I think, there’s a lot of people involved in making this happen and I’m just a piece in that puzzle, glad to be able to contribute what I can.”
Mayor Davis says Joe’s efforts helped save a town that was on the brink of extinction.
Joe, attributes the restoration, to the community spirit.
Works: “There’s an opportunity and a freedom here in Humbodlt to look for your future to dream about what could happen.”
And folks like Pat Haire are joining Joe in their dreams for what could happen, how to save a town, and more importantly, how to save it’s history.
Mayor Davis told us that he’s now had a number of community leaders from other towns facing historic extinction have approached him asking what they can do to save their history.
With all this history, we know there’s many more stories out there, and so we’d like to invite you to share your ‘lost town’ stories with us on our KOAM Facebook page.