The town was platted in March 1887 by Monroe D. and Jane Herington, who also founded the nearby town of Herrington. Mr. Herington, who was primarily responsible for the railroad coming through the northern part of Morris County, owned land in both Dickenson and Morris Counties and persuaded the railroad to come through by offering some of his land to the railroad. The town was named in honor of a railroad official.
At about the same time, another couple named David and Mary Korn, who owned land in the same section as the Herington’s, also hoped to lure the railroad and build a town. On his land, a post office was already established called Far West. Sitting just about a half-mile northwest of Latimer, the post office was first established in April 1864 in the home of William M. Walter, who was the postmaster. However, the post office was moved to Aroma in Dickenson County in March 1869. The post office was then moved back to its original site in Morris County in October 1872. Korn, no doubt, wanted to capitalize on the post office location and hoped that the railroad would come through his property. However, he was too late. His plat was filed for record until August 1887, and the railroad came through Latimer. The very next month, the Far West post office was moved to Latimer on September 20, 1887, and it appears that the town of Far West was never developed.
Initially, Latimer got off to a good start a soon had a bank, a lumberyard, and several other businesses in addition to the post office. However, just a year after it started, the post office closed in June 1888 but then reopened in February 1889. Then, a few years later, it happened again, closing in April 1895 and reopening in November 1895.
In the meantime, the Chicago, Kansas, and Nebraska Railway was foreclosed on in 1891 and taken over by Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railway.
Latimer never grew very large and by 1910 only had a population of about 14 people. The Latimer State Bank hung on until the Great Depression when it closed. The building then served as Herbert Glancy’s grocery store for a time.
The post office closed in January 1961, and a grain elevator operated until the mid-1990s. Today, a Lutheran Church is the only remaining business in Latimer, which is called home to only about 30 people. The trains that continue to come by are now operated by the Union Pacific Railroad.
Blackmar, Frank W.; Kansas Cyclopedia, Standard Publishing, 1912.
From the Barber Chair