Self-Guided Tour – Denmark/Ash Grove

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A. Goldenrod Elevator was built in the early ’50’s. This privately owned grain elevator is a small version of grain storage giants found in Lincoln and other towns.

B. Simmons Cemetery is a small burial plot bounded by 4 limestone posts and built on the Simmons homestead. Joshua Simmons worked land across the river and swam his horses to get to his fields. One evening on the way home, when the river was flooded, his horses pulled away from him and he drowned. His mother and two children died two months later, possibly of diptheria. Joshua’s widow married Tom Damker and they moved to Chicago. Charles Minnick, also buried in the family plot, served as a drummer boy in the War of 1812. His connection to the family is unknown.

C. Panoramic view of the Denmark community can be seen from this hilltop.

D. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark was built by Danish immigrants who settled here in 1869 and 1870. Members quarried and hauled stone to the church site, donating both the stone and their labor. Construction was completed in 1880, although the bell tower and entry on the south end of the church were added in 1901. Visitors to the church will see much symbolism used in the construction. The three steps leading up to the altar denote baptism, confirmation and communion. The stonework arches over each window and door contain a three-pointed base, denothing the Holy Trinity, as do the three section windows. The green colored glass stands for hope and the blue for meditation. Each window has 8 panes, symbolic of the Holy Spirit and complete pane contains 12 parts, symbolic of 12 tribes of Israel. The cross standing east of the church once stood on the center of the roof over the door, but was too heavy and was moved in 1901 when the bell tower and entry were built.

E. Shallow beds of coal once supplied fuel for early local settlers as well as provided employment. Coal became an exported product until it was depleted. Dark spots and debris on the surface of the hillside are all that remain.

F. Single-arch stone bridge clearly visable from Co-op elevator parking lot and inscribed “WPA 3-15-40.”

G. Looking southwest from the corner, one can see a hilltop from which post rock was quarried in an open pit.

H. At the bend of the road, stop and look toward the creek to the southwest. At the curve of the creek, Fort Pliley, a blockhouse and stockade occupied by A.J. Pliley and his Co. A, 2nd Bat., Kansas State Militia, once stood. General Sheridan supposedly inspected the Fort in 1869 or 1870. When the field was later cultivated, picket posts used in the fort were carried to the fence line.

I. On the west side of the creek directly across from Fort Pliley was an Indian campsite.

J. Site of old Grant grain elevator and stockyards from which cattle and grain were once shipped. The railroad was to build a depot, but that was never done.

K. Pottersburg School.

L. Pottersburg Post Office

M. Pottersburg Cemetery.
The Pottersburg area was named for Amos S. Potter, who hoped to have a town grow up on the claim he took on Spillman Creek. He became embroiled in the county seat fight between Abram and Lincoln and hoped to be named county clerk of Abram. He operated a post office in the area by bringing mail from Lincoln to Pottersburg. The post office was discontinued in the early 1900’s.

N. Looking southwest from the cemetery entrance, one can see a hill rising tall, with a slight nub (perhaps man-made) at the top. From the hill’s highest point signalmen from Fort Riley would relay information to another high point located southeast, to Fort Harker at Kanopolis.

O. A stone wall fence approximately one mile in length borders the road. It was built of shell rock brought in by wagon in trade for wood needed by early settlers. Shell rock obtained its name from fossilized shells embedded in the rock.

P. The Romeo Wilcox farmstead is perhaps best remembered for its long-standing boot-legging operation. The still which was hidden in the side of a creek bank eluded lawmen until Sheriff Clear Peacock and his deputies “smelled” it out and closed it down, thus cutting off shipments of whiskey to eastern customers including the Hotel Muehlbach in Kansas City.

Q. This double-ached limestone bridge was preserved by the State Highway Department during renovation of Kansas Highway 181. It cannot be truly appreciated without leaving the car and entering a nearby field.

R. This simple, single-arch bridge over a small creek can be photographed by the “nimble footed” using the ditch on the west side of the road.

S. The Ash Grove Methodist Church, dedicated in 1906, has been joined with the Prairie Grove Methodist Episcopal Church, dedicated in 1905.

T. Here is another double-arch bridge which was probably built by the WPA in the ’30’s.

U. This old farmstead is composed of numerous stone structures including two barns, a cow shed, a chicken coop (with seven windows and two doors), a pig shed, feeding and watering vessels, fence posts, flagstone walks, a stone cellar with a stone air vent and the house containing a 1905 dated stone.

V. Bethany Baptist Church (now Countryside Bible Church), whose original structure was built in 1883, now stand here.

W. Originally the “Cook” house, this home contains examples of decorative stone masonry. Notice the clasped hands over the doorway and the barber pole scroll pillar designs embracing the door.