• Last modified 743 days ago (June 2, 2022)


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 2, 2022