Pages 6-7, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.



Natural Resources

AGRICULTURAL: Like most of the counties of Kansas, Allen is mostly an agricultural county. The bottom lands, comprising as already stated one-tenth of the entire area of the county, are apparently inexhaustible in their fertility and produce enormous crops year after year. The uplands are not so rich, of course, but they yet possess a deep alluvial soil, rich in decomposed limestone, and with proper cultivation producing extremely well. Up to the time of this writing but little manufactured fertilizer has been used, because not found necessary. Some of the more progressive farmers, however, are now experimenting with the various fertilizers that are on the markets, and the results have proven so satisfactory that the custom will no doubt soon become general. Wheat is grown successfully along the river bottoms, and some of the uplands have produced good results when fertilizer was used. But corn is the principal crop of the county, the average annual product being in the neighborhood of two million bushels. Kaffir corn is gaining in favor with the farmers, as it never fails to produce a good crop. A great deal of sorghum and millet is raised as a forage crop, while flax, oats and broom corn are grown successfully. Nearly all the varieties of fruits common to this latitude do well here, apples especially being abundant in quantity and excellent in quality. Of the tame grasses, clover and timothy do the best and are now very generally grown.

STOCK RAISING: Nearly all the farmers are also stock raisers or feeders and nearly all the grain and forage grown in the county is fed within its borders. Attention is given mostly to hogs and cattle, although there are some sheep in the county, and a great many car loads of horses and mules are turned off annually. The cheapness with which grain and forage can be grown, the abundance of good water, the mildness of the climate and the proximity to great markets make the live stock industry one of the most profitable in which our people engage.

TIMBER: When the country was first settled the heavy growth of forest along the rivers and creeks constituted a very important resource and brought many thousands of dollars to the fortunate owners. Saw mills were the first factories of any kind to be established, and practically all the houses built prior to the advent of the railroad in 1872 were constructed wholly or in large part of native lumber. The forests have been very largely cut down, but enough of the original growth yet remains to enable three or four small saw mills to do a flourishing business.


MINERAL: By far the most important mineral resource of the county, so far as now known, is the Natural Gas, the discovery and development of which is made the subject of another chapter. Next in value to the gas are the shales, suitable for the manufacture of brick and tiling, and the stone designated in the geology of the State as "the Iola Limestone". The shales are deposited very generously over the county, but are utilized at present only at Iola and Humboldt, at each of which places, by the use of natural gas as fuel, they are manufactured into a fine quality of building and paving brick. The stone also underlies a large portion of the county, but is used only at Iola where, in combination with the shale, it is used in the manufacture, on a very large scale, of Portland Cement. It has also been used quite extensively for sidewalks and curbing. Considerable oil has been developed in the vicinity of Humboldt and at some other points in the county, but not in sufficient quantities as yet to admit of its being placed upon the market. The presence of so large a gas field as Allen county possesses lends reason to the hope that at some time a correspondingly large pool of oil will be found.

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