Stop Eight – Densmore, KS
348.6 Miles = 7.1 gallons of gas
This is not a stop to highlight modern building techniques like rainscreen. It is not really about Cladding Corp directly. This is a stop to look back rather than forward—back to the mid 19th Century settlement of Densmore, Kansas.
This little town came about when the Densmore family decided to move out to northwestern Kansas—to work the land, no doubt. It wasn’t long after they arrived and built their home of sod that the Archers came to the settlement by covered wagon and ox team, staying with the Densmores until they finished their own house of stone. These Archers were the great, great, great grandparents of Cladding Corp’s own Dave Stutts.
He stopped there on the way to Denver to investigate a little more closely the hard fought history of his family that went before him. The town grew for nearly a hundred years. But they say that when everyone from Densmore got out of their little town and saw the lives of others in California or the East Coast or other places during the Second World War, they weren’t as keen on returning.
I hear stories of a single family that remains—outlasting hundreds who left their dusty town for scenes of greener grass and easier lives. They live in the midst of the remnants: abandoned buildings. All of which, save some untamed grass and trees, look to be less distant from their prosperous times as we know now.
The photos here depict the homes of the Densmore and Archer families, the church (built in part by the Archer family) and the grain elevator (a family business). They are all standing.
What a good lesson to take from this side-stop on the Summer 2012 Road Trip—to remember family, the structures that sheltered them for so many years, and to allow these memories and stories to shape our own lives and pursuits of building.
The home of the Densmores where the Archers weathered their first winter. (Sod)
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