WHITEWATER — The story of towns which no longer appear on a map will be the topic of "Butler County Ghost Towns" 7 p.m. Oct. 7 at Centre Point Church, 212 S. Main St. in Whitewater.
The talk will be led by Ken Spurgeon, who has more than 20 years of experience teaching in high schools and colleges; he is also a writer and filmmaker. His last two films, "Home on the Range" and "The Road to Vahalla," earned the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Spurgeon is the author of "A Kansas Soldier at War: The Civil War Lives and Letters of Christian and Elsie Dubach Isely."
"I think it's fascinating to know how a town started and how it died," Spurgeon said.
Using old maps and pictures, Spurgeon will discuss the differences in how people define a ghost town — and how many there are in Butler County.
"There were really as many as 30 towns that grew up, flourished and went away," Spurgeon said.
Spurgeon will focus mainly on the towns of Oil Hill and Midian — communities that sprang up with the oil boom in the early 1900s.
"They were the most unique in the sense that an industry built them," Spurgeon said.
When the oil dried up, towns that held as many as 5,000 people at one time lost all its residents.
Spurgeon will also speak about what people did after leaving a town; whether they followed the company that pulled out or went to another city.
"People need to know where they came from," Spurgeon said. "The face of Butler County looks a lot different than it did 50 years ago."
The presentation, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Friends of Whitewater Memorial Library and Frederic Remington Area Historical Society.