Bethune (be-THOON), village (1990 pop. 173), Kit Carson co., E Colo., 8 mi/12.9 km W of Burlington, on Landsman Creek; 39°17'N 102°25'W. Elev. 4,257 ft/1,298 m. Wheat and corn area. Sunflowers, beans, sorghum.
History of the Railroad in Bethune
History of Bethune
The Rock Island Railroad was built through Bethune in September of
1888. Railroad crews built a section house just west of town. With the
train coming through the town began to grow rapidly.
Mail came twice a day via train. Outgoing mail was hung near the tracks
so that a catcher on the mail car of the train could snag it as the train
went by. Bethune locals of 1910 picked up their mail at the General Store,
owned by William Yersin. The General Store was a small sod building
located south of the present town site. Yersins store was moved in 1916,
to the corner of Pikes Peak and Main Street.
The Bethune State Bank was established in 1916 on First and Main. The
bank president and owner was J. J. Delaney with William Steur, cashier.
The bank was unable to survive the hard times of the 1930s and, in 1932,
Delaney was forced to close down. Later, Arthur Cassen opened a store in
the old bank building. Mr. Kingsbury ran the store later, and Walter
Seelhoff took over after him, until he went out of business and tore the
place down. Most of the Bethune locals then took their business across the
street to the Carr and Stutz general store.
Several businesses were established in Bethune in the early 1900s,
including Carl Alexander's lumberyard and hardware store, and a shiny new
grain elevator. These were located across the street from what is now the
Bethune Grain elevator. The grain elevator, which was built by local
farmers and run by Tom Dillon, later burned in 1925. It was then rebuilt
in 1926, and was expanded in 1936. It was expanded further in 1949 to make
room for the bumper wheat crops of the time.
Locals appreciated the fine cooking of local, Cora Lovelace, who
operated a cafe at her home until 1940. Cora's' cafe was next to the
Yersin store. After dinner at Coras, locals often played billiards at a
pool hall that was opened north of Cora's place. Jim Erveu added his hotel
to the local skyline in 1920. This was next to the pool hall and the old
bank building. Tom Davis started a garage in 1920 on what is now Pikes
Peak Avenue West of the Monroe home. Everett Blackburn built his Barber
Shop on First and Main Street around this time. Bethune locals got
together and built a livery barn in 1921.
Bethune citizens had established the first school district in Kit
Carson County in 1889. They constructed a new schoolhouse in 1926. The
townspeople and those of surrounding areas decided to add two years of
high school to the curriculum. Luella O'Hare and Ray Boggs taught the
first high school classes in the school year 1927. The school then had six
teachers and 90 students.
With these establishments and schools in place, Bethune locals voted to
incorporate their town in 1926. Following incorporation, the townspeople
voted to establish a park near the local water tower. They put up a sign
to greet visitors coming into town from the west that said, "The Land of
Opportunity," as the locals had come to call their growing town.
Just when things were looking good for Bethune the depression brought
the town to a near halt in 1932. Many locals sold their property and moved
away. By 1936, all that was left of Bethune was a hardware store,
lumberyard, general store, two cafes, a railroad depot, two grain
elevators, a filling station, and two garages. Locals did a lot of their
shopping in nearby Burlington. Soon most of the Bethune businesses went
Bethune's population jumped from fifty-two in 1962, to two hundred in 1985. By 1985 the town consisted of a garage, the Bethune Grain Company, the Onahue Trucking Company, a post office and the school.