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Home on the Range

Homesteading in Smith County


The Charles G. Schwarz family immigrated to the United States from Grauenhagen, Michelenburg, Germany; Mr. Schwarz came in 1873, then returned to move his wife and son to America in 1876. They came to the northern part of Smith County in 1877. Mr. Schwarz planned to build a flour mill in "Sod Town" which consisted of a frame store and three houses, a school and a blacksmith shop all made out of sod. Because of the lack of water in Sod Town, the timbers for the mill were moved to the present site of Reamsville, and the town of Sod Town was also moved. In 1882, the name was changed to Reamsville.

The mill was built beginning in 1882. "The eight posts were 12 inches by 12 inches and about 40 feet long. The mill was octagon in shape, forty feet in diameter at the bottom, tapering to eighteen feet at the top. The height to the turntable as forty-two feet and to the top of the roof was fifty-four feet from the foundation stone. For harnessing the wind a huge fan was built with a spread of sixty feet. A sail cloth could be spread or taken up as the wind velocity got higher or lower. The tailwind was ten feet in diameter. The building was five stories high and shingled from top to bottom" (pages 217-218 from "A History of Smith County Kansas to 1960".) It became known as the Old Dutch Mill and was moved to a park in Smith Center where it stands after being restored following a fire in 1955.

The ethnicity of most of its settlers is German.


Pletcher, Vera Edith Crosby. "A History of Smith County, Kansas to 1960". Masters thesis, Kansas State University, 1960.


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