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School closed in '65, but Burns grads still meet

Staff writer

At least 50 Burns High School graduates gathered Sunday at the community center in Burns for a school reunion. Arletta’s Catering of Burns served the noon meal.

Marie Ehmke Clark, 98, received a wrist corsage for being the oldest alumna present. She graduated in 1941 and still lives in rural Burns.

Tom Grimwood, president of Burns Alumni Association, presented a $300 check to Peabody-Burns graduate Ben David. Hana Cool, Taylor Manns, and Gage Patty also received scholarships.

The town of Burns is on the very southern edge of Marion County. A group of Catholics came to the area in 1879 and platted a town they named St. Francis. Several months later, they were forced to change the name because Kansas already had a St. Francis. So they named it Burns, after an official of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad.

The town was prosperous for a while, and its economy surged in 1919 when oil was discovered two miles west. A new high school was built in 1921.

The town had a population of 400 at its peak. It registered 234 people in the 2020 census.

Burns High School students became part of the Peabody-Burns Unified School District in the fall of 1965, and students were bused to Peabody. The elementary school remained in Burns for a time.

Although the high school building has since been torn down, those who attended will always remember it.

Last modified June 1, 2022

 

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