Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Journey to Blodgett

On Friday July 3, I made a short trip east of Wichita to far southwest Greenwood County to visit the historic site of Blodgett(sometimes called Derry). I had visited this area several years ago, and wanted to return.

According to the Greenwood County Historical Society, Blodgett was founded on a railroad in 1880 and disappeared in 1930 when the railroad changed it's location. This area of southwest Greenwood County, northwest Elk County, and eastern Butler County is a geographic high point. A number of creeks and rivers have their headwaters in this area, including the Elk River, Otter Creek, Grouse Creek, Timber Creek, Rock Creek and the Little Walnut River.

The drive back to the Blodgett area begins at Road F, just east of mile marker 325 on US-400. Turning south and following the stair-step road for about 3 miles gets you to the abandoned railroad grade where Blodgett was located. I saw no evidence of a town site anymore. The "road" is almost non-existant, and mostly only two tracks over very rocky ground the entire way. Several draws must be crossed, which could be flooded during wet weather. Also, a durable vehicle with good ground clearance is a must to clear all the rocks of considerable size.

So why did I take this journey again? To get a sense of true unspoiled Kansas. Along the way, I saw cattle, at least 8 species of wildflowers, insects, and breathtaking vistas. I went on south past the Blodgett area with the intent of continuing on into Elk County, but a serious mudhole made me turn back rather than risk getting stuck without any help nearby. Most of the way, I was in first and second gear in my truck. I enjoy this unhurried type of exploring. My journey in and back the same way took about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

After leaving this area, I traveled on some more gravel roads thru Piedmont, then south into Elk County. I decided to stop at Poplar Pizza in Howard for dinner. I had one of their New York style pizzas. The owners opened the first Poplar Pizza in Buffalo, NY in 1982, and opened this location in 1995 after visiting this area.

Finally I left Howard, traveled north and west to the Elk River Wind Farm near Beaumont before continuing back home to Wichita. Listen closely to the video of the wind farm to hear the sounds of nature.

For more about Blodgett: contact Greenwood County Museum at

Poplar Pizza: Wabash & Adams Streets, downtown Howard, open daily 620.374.2525

My Greenwood County Photo Galleries:


Frank Thompson, KE #3128 said...

Good stuff, Larry. One of my favorite parts of the state.

Garrett said...

Larry, I've just discovered this post. I happen to be extremely familiar with this area and have always questioned the location of Blodgett on more recent Kansas maps. The reason is... in the property just two miles east of where you were, there lies several foundations of old stone houses with remains of old wood-burning stoves and other metal farm equipment strewn about. Also, I noticed that in your Blodgett adventure you didn't mention finding any signs of civilization. Might you know what those foundations are remains of (there are at least 5 of them all within 1000ft of each other)? But considering the evidence of those existing houses, I can't help but think THAT is the former location of Blodgett.

I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts on this. I've never actually visited the Greenwood County museum... so maybe you know more than I do.

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