Arrington, Kansas

Arrington, Kansas Sign

Arrington, Kansas Sign

Arrington, Kansas, also called Arrington Springs, was a settlement located in the southwestern part of Atchison County on the Delaware River.

Delaware River at Arrington, Kansas.

Delaware River at Arrington, Kansas.

The town was founded in 1855 by its first settler, Ransom A. Van Winkle, who built a steam sawmill, the first farmhouse, and the first school, in which he became the teacher. The town was named for his girlfriend. An abolitionist from Kentucky, Van Winkle took an active part in the Free-State efforts, despite the pro-slavery sentiments of other Atchison County citizens. When Arrington gained a post office in June 1862, Van Winkle also became the first postmaster. Later he would hold several offices in Atchison County and become a member of the Kansas Legislature.

The town grew slowly until the arrival of the Leavenworth, Kansas & Western Railroad. By that time, the town boasted a large flour mill and the sawmill, which had been purchased by a man named David Heneks. Heneks also purchased some 80 acres of land lying on both sides of the Delaware River.

Bridge over the Delaware River at Arrington, Kansas with mill in the background.

Bridge over the Delaware River at Arrington, Kansas, with the mill in the background.

In 1867, John Reider built a steam-powered mill on the Delaware River that operated as a sawmill and a grain mill. In 1874 W. H. Stockton joined Mr. Reider, and these two men built a two-story frame mill, but they operated it only one day, as it was mysteriously burned the following night. Shortly after that, Reider associated himself with Albert Ingler, and remembering his previous disastrous experience with fire; the two built a stone mill. This firm conducted a successful business for several years, drawing patronage for a distance of 60 miles, but in 1879, Ingler met an untimely death by drowning as he was crossing the river. Mr. Reider sold his interest to David S. Heneks.

Arrington Springs Resort Bathhouse & Pavillion.

Arrington Springs Resort Bathhouse & Pavillion.

Heneks discovered the first mineral spring near the mill dam in 1881. Later, he discovered two more springs, and they were among the earliest developed in Kansas. There are numerous springs on both sides of the Delaware River, but those with the most abundant flow are below the bridge that spanned the river and in the vicinity of the mill. The water from one of these springs — the one nearest the bridge — was piped to a bathhouse situated on the north side of the bridge. This was the beginning of the building of the Arrington Mineral Springs Resort that brought with it a number of people and much prosperity to the town.

A school or church in Arrington, Kansas, 1910.

A school or church in Arrington, Kansas, 1910.

The entire property consisted of 40 acres, with the controlling interest held by Heneks. On the left bank of the river was a beautiful grove in which the springs were situated. On the east side of this grove were twelve cottages. A bath-house and engine-house with a steam pump were operated in connection with the springs. The resort also included a hotel.

This town was officially platted in August 1884 with original promoters including Ransom A. Van Winkle, David S. Heneks. John Ballinger, D. D. High, D. A. Benjamin, J. M. Roberson, Michael Baker, J. S. Hopkins, Ira Tabor, and George W. Drake.

By the late 19th Century, the Arrington Mineral Springs Resort hosted hundreds of guests each week, and the town had boomed to nearly 1,000 people. At that time, the town boasted a good hotel, several churches, several stores, and a physician. Unfortunately, the mineral springs resort hotel burned down, but a new hotel was built in the village in 1902.

The Arrington, Kansas Hotel built in 1902 was razed in 1953.

The Arrington, Kansas Hotel, built in 1902, was razed in 1953.

However, in 1903, a flood devastated the town, and the resort was closed. Afterward, the town rapidly declined, boasting only a population of 210 by 1910, but it still had a post office, a school, and a couple of stores.

An old building in Arrington, Kansas by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

An old business building in Arrington, Kansas, by Kathy Alexander.

David Heneks continued to run the mill until 1906, when John W. Young became its owner. Afterward, it changed hands several times but stopped operating in 1908. By 1916, it was standing in ruins. The town still boasted three general stores, an elevator, and a bank at that time. During good crop years, as many as 125 cars of grain and livestock are shipped from its station.

But, over the years, the population continued to decline, and the businesses closed. The post office shut its doors for the last time in May 1973.

Today, were it not for the sign indicating the town and the few scattered homes about, it would be difficult to know that a town had ever existed. However, street signs still designate the names of the dusty roads throughout the old town. It is located about 26 miles southwest of Atchison on Kansas Highway 116.

©Kathy Alexander/Legends of Kansas, updated December 2021.

Also See:

An old building in Arrington, Kansas. Looks like it might have been a post office. Photo courtesy Google Maps.

An old building in Arrington, Kansas. Looks like it might have been a post office. Photo courtesy Google Maps.

Atchison County, Kansas

Atchison County Photo Gallery

Extinct Towns of Atchison County

Kansas History

Sources:

Blackmar, Frank W.; Kansas Cyclopedia, Standard Publishing, 1912
Cutler, William G.; History of the State of Kansas, A. T. Andreas, 1883
Ingalls, Sheffield, History of Atchison County, Kansas, Standard Publishing Company, 1916
Kansas Geological Survey, 1902
Newsleaf Museum