Ghost Towns

This summer, KHC features daily posts about the speakers and topics in the Humanities catalog. Today’s featured presentation is “Lost Kansas Communities” by M.J. Morgan.

Terra Cotta, Kansas. Photo by Rebecca Hall, Chapman Center for Rural Studies.

Terra Cotta, Kansas. Photo by Rebecca Hall, Chapman Center for Rural Studies.

“Although so many early photographs show nearly identical Main Streets for thousands of disappeared Kansas communities, there is no such thing as a cookie cutter small town,” says KHC Speakers Bureau presenter M.J. Morgan. Her talk, “Lost Kansas Communities,” explores research conducted on lost Kansas places and discusses problems researchers have when searching for information.

Morgan notes that Kansas has nearly 9000 disappeared towns and communities, caused by its unusual and spectacularly fast settlement history. The variety of town types is as striking as the stories they left behind. “Every little place was someone’s home town. With creative research, we can find those home towns as they exist in archives and memories,” she says.

MJ Morgan

M.J. Morgan

M.J. Morgan is the director of research at the Chapman Center for Rural Studies at Kansas State University. Her specialty is the reconstruction of lost landscapes and environments as well as research into cultures and peoples whose voices do not often appear in standard histories.

Kansas Public Radio recently featured a story about Morgan’s research and her Speakers Bureau topic. You can listen to it here.

You can attend M.J. Morgan’s “Lost Kansas Communities” on September 12th in Emporia or September 21st in Winchester. You can also bring this or one of the other presentations in the Humanities catalog to your community for FREE with a Resource Center Support Grant. It’s quick and easy! Visit the Speakers Bureau page to get started or contact Leslie Von Holten, director of programs, at leslie(at) for more information.