|City/Town: • Bartlett
|Location Class: • Government
|Built: • 1940 | Abandoned: • ~1992
|Status: • Abandoned • Burned Down
|Photojournalist: • Darrell Powers
Hackberry Township Hall History
In 1938 citizens of Bartlett and the Hackberry Township voted to allow $10,000 in bonds to be issued for the construction of a township hall. The Hackberry Township Hall was dedicated on June 8th 1940 with a crowd of about 1,200 people showing up. Governor Payne Ratner declared the building “undoubtedly the best township hall” he had been in. Construction was estimated to cost only $25,000 but with such attention to detail, the final cost landed around $45,000. The architecture was deeply celebrated with a parade put on by the Chetopa band. The land the township hall sad on was graciously donated by Mrs. H.E. Wackerie. The community was very proud of the new building that would be used as a gymnasium, for town meetings, community events and more. Soon after its dedication citizen Fred Osger came before the board and asked that the three lots the township hall was located on be removed from tax rolls, which was done swiftly.
The community wasted no time putting the hall to great use as it was used for a wide variety of events. The community held a dance in the hall every Tuesday throughout the 40s with everyone invited and music often by the Kansas Ramblers. In 1947 WIBW stars Ambrose Haley and Ozark Ramblers were welcomed to the hall, admission was 75 cents for adults. The school often held 4H events, basketball games, graduations and other activities in the building for many decades. In addition, it was used as a polling place for elections, the GOP held their caucus at the township hall. The Bartlett Methodist Church also often held events such as auction suppers and holiday programs in the hall. “Forty years ago you could rent it for five dollars an evening. Farmers and other locals would get together for run & gun basketball to stay in shape over the winter. Bands would play benefit dances for the local fire department and other causes,” said local Rex Hellwig.
It is assumed that the township hall ceased being used around 1992. At this time we are not sure why but most of the time with small towns like this it has to do with money running out. The building sat for many years causing the roof to deteriorate and crumble. On May 7th, 2013 Kenny Allman purchased the building with plans of making a home out of it. He has started removing all the rotted wood from the building and bleachers with the intention of replacing the roof. Unfortunately, Kenny had an accident and was unable to devote time or money to the project anymore. He still has hope that through possible grants he can finish the project.
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