Kiowa County: A Retrospective at the Dawn of a
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Kiowa County: A Retrospective at the Dawn of a New Millennium
Kiowa County Press,
Haswell: What is There to Know?
By Karl Eikenberg - EHS Senior Class of 2000

Haswell is a town that is quiet, very small, with little to no crime. That is the answer most who live there would give you if they were asked to describe the small town of Haswell, Colorado situated on Highway 96, just 20 miles west of Eads in Kiowa County. The name Haswell seems to be a mystery, of sorts, as there are a number of opinions as to how the town was named, no one knows for sure. For instance, Haswell may have gotten its name from the H in Haswell when Jessie Thayers alphabetically named the towns throughout the county....all situated along the railroad. Or, Haswell may have gotten its name from an official of the railroad whose last name was Haswell. Finally, the simple fact that it has-a -well, which in this area is rare, could be the reason for the name. So, even though Haswell is now a small bump in the road, it has some very large history to go with it.

Old Bank Building in Haswell - now the post office

Dr. Sand's drug store & clinic - now the county shop

In 1887 the Missouri Pacific Railroad was built in this area. The original town site for Haswell contained 156.9 acres. On January 17, 1907, the town of Haswell was platted by a group of settlers from West Liberty, Iowa. The main members of the group were W.C. Addlemen, Edward Whitaker, and two brothers, Fred and Roy Tharp. Acquila Hollingsworth and Limuel Hague soon joined this small group of settlers. By this time, there was only a depot, a section house, some coal chutes, a water tower, and two cabins, both which were made of railroad ties...the only wood that could be easily found on the high plains of Colorado. The depot was straight north of the old grocery store. The section house was to the west of the depot, and the coal chutes were to the east of the depot. The water tower, on the other hand, was a mile east of the town. It was, obviously, located where the well is now.

Haswell Coal Chutes around 1900

Another view of the Haswell coal chutes 1900

With the railroad came inevitable derailings. Once, early in the railroads (and Haswells) history, a coal car derailed and slammed into one of the housing cars, which was sitting on the side of the tracks. It took three days just to get the car back on the track. The railroad employees used a two-inch cable to get it back on. It stretched the cable as tight as a drum. Throughout Haswells history there have been a number of derailings. A man by the name of Luther remembers seeing and hearing the coughing sound of a switch engine pushing a car of coal up the ramp to the top of the coal chutes. Here, it was hand-shoveled into the various chutes at fifteen cents per ton.

Haswell Depot

Haswell's Main St. 1920s - Church to left

Haswells legal description is the north one-half (N 1/2) of Section thirty-one (31), the South-west Quarter (SW 1/4) of the South-east Quarter (SE 1/4) and the South-west Quarter (SW 1/4) of Section thirty (30), all in Township eighteen (18) South Range fifty-one (51) West of the sixth P.M. In 1920, the occupants of Haswell wanted to become incorporated so it could be called the Town of Haswell. In order for this to happen the town needed to have a petition sent out. The petition called for at least thirty qualified electors to sign. They got more than thirty, and the issue was voted on. Forty-seven were in favor of incorporation, but twenty were not. Therefore, on August 2, 1920, the town of Haswell was incorporated.

Woodman Picnic in Haswell, Labor Day, 1911

Haswell Post Office 1990 - originally the bank building

Within ten years Haswell had grown from a few buildings and suppliers dealing with the railroad to having a bank, a hotel, a school building, two general stores, a restaurant, a large lumber yard, a garage, and a barber shop, and a newspaper, The Haswell Herald. The Colorado State Bank, owned by Mr. Hague, was located right behind the Hotel Holly. Later on, in 1930, the bank went bankrupt and closed. It then sat for a long time without the benefit of repairs or upkeep. Finally, some years later, the abandoned bank building became the Haswell Post Office. This new post office moved from the old post office location which was to the north of the Hotel Holly because they needed more space. That same building is still in use today by the residents of Haswell and is still the location of the post office. The Hotel Holly, which was ultimately renamed the Haswell Hotel, is also still standing, as well. It is located on the south side of Highway 96, just east and north of the post office. The original lumber yard is still standing and is located to the east of the Haswell Hotel. It originally consisted of three buildings combined together, with one being an office, one the major holding area, and the other wood storage. The office was burnt down and the storage building was removed. One general store was located on the west side of main street. It was used primarily for a feed store, but was burned down along with a number of other buildings. It was said that a hobo got off one of the trains and stayed in the back of these buildings. The hobo had a cigarette, threw it down, causing the fire to break out. There was also a second general store built in 1908 by Jim Brown. It is still standing and located on the north side of Highway 96. A barber stop was opened for a while, but closed early on in Haswells history. However, the building is still standing on the west side of main street. Finally, the restaurant was located on the north side of the highway, in the same area as the old post office and a creamery. Most of these buildings have either been torn down or moved to another location.

Hotel Holly in Haswell, Colo. 1907

Haswell Hotel 1990s

Before the school building was built, the children would go to peoples homes who volunteered to be the instructors. Education was very important to the early citizens of Haswell. In 1908 a new school building was built. The building was located on top of a hill, the location of Delton Eikenbergs property today. However, this building burned down years later. Beside the school was a baseball field. Baseball was by far the most popular sport played in Haswell and the surrounding communities. A new school house was built in 1962. This new building had the luxury of indoor gymnasium which provided the children of Haswell hours and hours of competitive fun in basketball, particularly. In 1992, the school was closed due to budget crunches and the children of Haswell were forced to attend school in either Eads, Karval, or Cheraw.

One Room School in Haswell 1900
Albert Griggs and Lucille Cline (far left)

Old Haswell School 1961-1962
First and Second Grades
??, Kris Hetzer, Ellen Mitchell, Tery Larrew, Calvin Covalt,
Kenny Wiser, Maynard Davis, Scott Forsyth,
Duane Fenton, Gloria Davis, Barb Gifford
(photo provided by Forsyth Family)

Haswell's 8th Grade Class of 1965
Darrel Ohrman, Doug Forsyth, Ron Howe, Gail Voss
(photo provided by Forsyth Family)

The Booster Hall was erected in 1912. It was built by an organization of mainly community ladies, called the Lady Booster Club, who thought the town needed a place for social functions and recreation. The Hall became well known throughout the county and neighboring counties for its dances and parties which were held. According to Pete Stoker, these dances became quite interesting because there was always alcohol, and fights would break out over every reason imaginable. After years of excitement and memories, the dances stopped when the Lady Booster Club donated the building to the school for its activities. The Booster Hall still stands right across the highway from the lumber yard, although it is becoming run down and unkept.

Haswell (Colo.) Booster Hall - built in 1912

Old Livery Barn was located across from the railroad tracks

In 1911, the outside world of inventions and industry came to Haswell. A man came with an airplane because the Haswell citizens did not believe that the new invention called an airplane could actually leave the ground and fly through the air. The plane was brought by the train because it would cost too much money to fly it clear to Haswell. It was taken apart to fit on the train, and then put back together in Haswell. The pilot entered the cockpit of the plane, started the engine, and all of Haswell was amazed at what they saw. He showed them stunts as he would fly upside down and in circles. The town┬╣s people celebrated by having games and picnics. Some brave souls even took rides in the airplane. Finally, the pilot and his crew took the plane apart, once again, loaded it on the train, and shipped it back to the east. However, July 4, 1911 would be a day that the citizens of Haswell would not forget as they realized that planes do exist and they really can defy the law of gravity.

Haswell, Colo. July 4, 1911

It would seem to someone who just stands and looks around the town of Haswell that it would be a terrible place to live. After all, the railroad has shut down for now, the school is only a memory, many buildings are have burned down, or if they still stand, they are abandoned and in disrepair. However, I believe Haswell is a great place to live. There is no crime and a hundred things for a kid to do when you learn to make your own fun. The youth of Haswell learn at a very young age to run and explore freely, to get along with each other, and to appreciate the history these old buildings represent.

Des Marteau Elevator 1960s
(provided by Forsyth Family)

Haswell Church in winter wonderland 1963
(provided by Forsyth Family)

Truck load of hog feeder troughs in front of the Voss Garage 1960s
(provided by Forsyth Family)

NOTE: A web page named Haswell, Colorado has been set up in the MSN Web Community at: On this web page you can become a member of the Haswell community as well as see a number of photographs, primarily taken in the 1950s and 1960s and provided by the Forsyth family. You can also add your own photographs to the site. Anyone interested in Haswell history is invited to visit the site and become a member.

More about Haswell

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