U.S. Highway 50 crosses the United States from Ocean City, Maryland to West Sacramento, California. In eastern Kansas, from Overland Park to Emporia, the route is overshadowed by the bigger and quicker I-35.
|Silkville, Kansas one room school, circa 1890|
I was driving south of Williamsburg on old Highway 50 toward Emporia. I drove this route only because I had traveled hundreds of times along the newer and faster I-35 from Wichita to Kansas City. I needed a break. Old Highway 50 is a meandering route that meets up with Emporia where the newer I-35 and I-335 are. West of Emporia, the highway heads through the Flint Hills crosses though Strong City, arrives at Newton, and then proceeds on to Colorado and eventually West Sacramento, California..
Going east of Emporia, it parallels I-35 for the most part, heading up towards Overland Park and Kansas City.. Often, while driving along, you can look to the left or right, for the road wanders back and forth across I-35, and see cars and trucks tooling along. crossing the newer highway her and there before swinging to the east.
The interior of the school is open to visitors. If you go, please close the door.
The real story of Silkville, Kansas is quite interesting.
|Silkville School 1884, from Kansas Memories|
The Story of Silkville.
Boissere's workers planted seventy acres of Russian mulberry trees to feed the silkworms. Later, Boissiere learned that the Kansas Osage Orange were as good or better than the mulberry. Moreover, the Osage Orange withstood the harsh Kansas cllimate. One wonders if the old mulberry behind the school is a remnant of Boissere's plantings.
Utopias never last. Later, when his business failed, he made the mansion an orphanage.By 1878, Boissere left Kansas for France with little more than $200 in his pocket. The school house is all that remains.