Growing up, I often heard my grandma talk about their life at Prairie Center. If you take Edgerton Road north until you can go no further and look straight ahead you will see its remains. The grass-covered prairie dotted with small, evenly space buildings is all that marks that location. Where cows now graze, once was the land of a farming community called Prairie Center, Kansas.
My great x 3 grandparents Jonathan and Irena Gordon were early residents of this community which was founded in 1860. It was made mostly of farmers and had a population that ranged between 35 and 50, according to some sources. It had many farms and a few businesses including a cider mill, creamery and a school. There were two churches - a Quaker church and a Methodist church. For Jonathan and Irena, it was the start of a new life after leaving their home in North Carolina. For my grandparents, it was where they met and fell in love as a pastor's daughter and a handsome farmer. It was where their first two children were born. After passing farmland from one generation of Gordon to the next, this part of the family story came to abrupt halt in 1942.
|Uncle Carl outside on the farm |
at Prairie Center
My grandma's father was the pastor at the Friends Church in Prairie Center. As things began changing in the community, the church was moved to the corner of 143rd and Edgerton Road and then eventually into Gardner. A portion of the Gardner Friends Church is the original structure from Prairie Center. My Gordon great-grandparents purchased the land where the church now sits at the west edge of Gardner. They lived in the house on that property until their death in the 1950's.
Creating our Prairie Center Meats company is a nod to those who used to inhabit this community, to our family heritage. While the folks moved on, many of those relationships continued, friendships remained. And some of those changes led to other life changes that have impacted others for generations - including a young Lefmann boy who met a little Gordon girl at a function at that same church that had traveled so many miles from its beginnings. Deep roots, my friends. Deep roots make us able to endure the winds of change. Prairie Center is my deep roots and these deep roots will keep us here for many years to come.