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Homesteading in Ford County


In 1872, a group was formed in Cincinnati, Ohio, to look at places that would offer them better opportunities. The group, which consisted of tailors, blacksmiths, and carpenters, as well as other laborers, was called the German Catholic Aurora Homestead Association. They corresponded with a priest from Newton, Kansas, who then worked with a land agent from the Santa Fe railroad to find some land for the association.

The land that was chosen was 10 miles southwest of Offerle, Kansas. The deal was made in 1877 and a town was mapped out with the locations of the school, church and cemetery. There was also a possibility that the railroad would build a branch line from Offerle to the new town, which was called Windthorst. The line was never built, and as a result, the town of Windthorst never materialized with a business district. However, a community was formed around the church, school and parish hall. The first church was built in 1879, and in 1913, the present-day church was built.


Ford County Historical Society. Dodge City and Ford County, Kansas 1870-1920: Pioneer Histories and Stories.
Dodge City, KS, 1996.


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