By Chad Frey
Newton Kansan
BENTLEY — It’s a small, quiet town just south of the Harvey County line in Sedgwick County, part of the Halstead School District.
There are three churches, a bank, an elementary school and a restaurant. According to citydata.com, population was 530 in 2010, the most recent figure available. That represents growth — the U.S. census counted 360 residents in 1990.
“We have grown in population and houses,” said Lutie Lobaugh, a member of the first-ever Bentley Historical Society, which was formed last week. “It can’t be what it was, it can’t be a self-sufficient town anymore — but we want to generate some community spirit.”
And it’s a town getting ready to celebrate history — though it needs a little help with a book project.
“We want to add to the old book, for the 25 years of history that has ensued since,” Lobaugh said. “There appears to be a lot of interest.”
Bentley, founded by Orsemus Hills Bentley, was established as a town in 1888 — but did not incorporate until 1959 when it was declared a third-class city by the state.
The town has started an historical society to create the book — which will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the town’s founding next year.
The Bentley History Book will feature family biographies and items of historical interest — and will need to have at least 100 copies sold.
That shouldn’t be much of a problem — the 1988 book which is out of print still is in demand. At a recent city council meeting, it was discussed if more copies of the 1988 book could be ordered.
Lobaugh contacted the company, and learned that it could be done. She also learned there could be a new book created.
“This will allow new people who have moved to town, and some of the families that have been here the last 25 years, to add to the book,” Lobaugh said.
The project is supported by the City of Bentley and the Bentley branch of Halstead Bank. Any profits from the book will be returned to the city to be used for city improvements.
The book will include all the contents of the history book first published in 1988 as part of the city’s centennial observance, as well as updates from the past 25 years.
“Bentley families are urged to submit their biographies and up to two photos for the book,” Lobaugh said. “We invite all families new to Bentley to participate, and also welcome updates from those families featured in the original book.”
The new book will be available later this year.
“We are excited to present this new book,” Lobaugh said. “We often receive requests for copies of the original ‘centennial edition,’ which is out of print. Our new book will include the original in its entirety, plus the added bonus of the 25-year update. It will be a real treasure for those with an interest in the City of Bentley.”
Family biographies of about 250 words, and up to two photos, are due by Sept. 14. Bios and jpg-format photos may be submitted electronically by e-mailing lutiel@yahoo.com, or by U.S. mail to Lutie Lobaugh, Box 223, Bentley, KS 67016. Those interested may follow the Bentley History Book group on Facebook.
Other members of the Bentley Historical Committee are Peggy Baxter, Jennifer Linton and Tracy Pribbenow, all of Bentley, and Susan Basore Garofalo of Newton.
For more information, call Lobaugh at (316) 796-1723.