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Garfield County Courthouse | by Dblackwood
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Garfield County Courthouse

Ravanna, Kansas


Ravanna School.


Garfield County was created by an act of the Kansas state legislature on March 23, 1887, and was named after President James A. Garfield who had been assassinated six years earlier.


The brief history of the county was marked by a bitter and violent rivalry between the two thriving towns of Ravanna and Eminence (Kalvesta was in Hodgeman County at the time). During a vote on this issue held in 1887, Bat Masterson and twenty deputies from Dodge City were sent to Garfield County to keep the peace. Ravanna won by just 35 votes. The citizens of Eminence charged that the ballot boxes had been stuffed. The Kansas Supreme Court agreed, and in 1889 the county seat was transferred to Eminence.


Then in the ultimate move of spite, Ravanna countered by hiring surveyors who determined that the county had less than the 432 minimum square miles required for the formation of a county (Wyandotte county had been founded before this law was made.)


In 1892 the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that Garfield county had indeed been illegally organized in the first place. On March 18, 1893, it was annexed to neighboring Finney county.


As the final blow both towns were bypassed by the railroad and the last people left. Both Ravanna and Eminence are today complete ghost towns. All that is left of Eminence is a cemetery and a school house acting as a farm shop, and all that is left of Ravanna is the ruins of a courthouse/jail that was never used, and a school that was supposedly illegally demolished during the depression to build a football field in Dighton, Kansas. Today 434 people live in the Garfield Township of Finney County where Garfield County once was.

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Taken on September 2, 2011