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Homesteading In Rooks County



Cresson and Palco

Cresson was the first village in Northhampton Township. It was located one and one-half miles northwest of the present town of Palco. During the year of 1877, several men from Pennsylvania arrived via Union Pacific Railroad who were dubbed "The Pennsylvania Colony". They named the village after a town in Cambria County, Pennsylvania near Esbenburg, the county seat where they came from.

The first thing on the agenda was to build homes and other essential buildings on their homesteads. The following year, after the homes were built, these first settlers sent for their families, women and children.

The post office was officially established here in February 1879, with Wm McLaughlin as the postmaster. The first school was organized in 1879, District No. 68, and was located on the Wm. P. Jones homestead. In 1883, the first church in Cresson was the Seventh Day Adventist Church. By 1885, there were three more churches: Christian, Presbyterian, and Free Methodist.

Rumors spread throughout Cresson in regards to the new railroad that was being built by the Union Pacific Railroad Company. Rumors were that the railroad was going to bypass Cresson, so the people decided to relocate where they thought the line would be constructed in the near future. They called their new town "New Cresson". By 1886, some of the businessmen pulled out of Cresson and moved to New Cresson. Just when the new community was steadily growing, something happened that they hadn't expected. The railroad tracks veered off to the northwest, bypassing them by a mile or more. As it turned out, the railroad went near the previous town of Cresson. Had people disregarded the rumors, there would possible still be a Cresson.

With this latest development, it meant another move for the enterprising businessmen taking their belongings, families and even buildings to the railroad site in the fall of 1888. The new village was names "Palco". It was decided to use the first letters of the last names of the two railroad officials, Mr. Palmer and Mr. Cole. Thus "Pal" and "Co" resulting in Palco.

The current library, built in 1928, was previously the First National Bank. This bank was one of the few banks in Rooks County that did not close its doors following the Stock Market Crash of 1929.

The Palco Township Hall, still used for many community activities, was completed in 1917.

The ethnicity of its settlers is unknown.

Rooks County - sod house in Palco         
Early Sod House                                                                                                                          

Rooks County - Palco
Early Picture of Palco

Rooks County - lumber yard (Mack-Welling)
Mack-Welling Lumber Co.

Rooks County - lumber yard (Badger)
Badger Lumber Co.

Rooks County - meat market
George Homan Meat Market in 1909



Information from Roger Hrabe, Rooks County Economic Development Director

Palco Centennial History Book Committee. Palco, Kansas Centennial: September 1988. Palco, 1988.


Hours and Contacts

Monday,April 21 Forsyth will close at 10 pm because of no electricity

Spring Hours:
Sun:             1:00 pm - 2:00 am
Mon-Thurs: 7:30 am - 2:00 am
Friday:         7:30 am - 7:00 pm
Sat:            10:00 am - 5:00 pm

For current month(s) and detailed information, please select desired month under announcements (below).

Phone: 785.628.4434
Fax: 785.628.4096
Contacts Directory
Mailing Address:
   Forsyth Library
   600 Park Street
   Hays, KS 67601
Physical Address:

   502 South Campus Drive
   Hays, KS 67601-4099