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Bethune, Colorado
Settlement Family Registry  -- Bethune, Colorado

Bethune (be-THOON), village (1990 pop. 173), Kit Carson co., E Colo., 8 mi/12.9 km W of Burlington, on Landsman Creek; 3917'N 10225'W. Elev. 4,257 ft/1,298 m. Wheat and corn area. Sunflowers, beans, sorghum.


Bethune Meteorite


History of the Railroad in Bethune
The Fifth Subdivision of the Kyle Railroad was built for the Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railway Company (CKR)in 1888. The entire railroad was leased to the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific (the Rock Island) in 1886 (before construction of this line began). The entire railroad (CKR) was sold to the Rock Island in 1891 as part of a foreclosure sale. In 1980 after a bankruptcy and foreclosure, the Rock Island was sold in portions. The portion from Limon east to Colby was operated by the Cadillac and Lake City until 1984 when the Kyle Railroad took over operations. In 1997, StatesRail acquired as part of their network, however the railroad was still operated under the Kyle name. In 2002, RailAmerica acquired StatesRail, which included the Kyle Railroad.

History of Bethune
An Indian named Dutch Jake lived in a cave northeast of present-day Bethune. Jake used to tell people he lived by Lost Man Creek, (today's Landsman Creek). It might have been on one of his many trips to Nebraska, where he traded his buffalo hides and furs that Jake told French trappers he met about the trapping potential on Lost Man Creek. They soon showed up to see if the place was as good as Jake made it out to be. The French men had luck with the trapping and decided to stay. They inspired other French settlers who began farming the area. The French settlers named the village that had cropped up around them by "Bethune", which in French means "farming".

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 under.

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.


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