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Kansas woman preserves history of city along state border

January 4, 2019

OPOLIS, Kan. (AP) — Need to know a bit of history about the city of Opolis? Maxine Seal Miller is your woman.

Miller — who was born locally and raised in Opolis — practically spent her whole life collecting bits and pieces of Opolis history.

She had a friend, Elma Bateman, who was a bit older than her. Bateman too, had a collection of Opolis history.

“She grew up in Opolis when it was just a little town and it grew into a fairly nice size town as she grew up,” Miller told the Pittsburg Morning Sun . “When she passed away, her daughter gave me all of the things she collected.”

Miller recently compiled all of this information into a 165 page book about the town called, “Opolis, Kansas State Line City.”

The book has pictures from over 100 years ago up until recent years when the book was printed. Additional pieces were given to Miller to compile within the book.

“It’s a nice little town, everybody helps out everybody,” Miller said. “It’s about the history and the people in.”

The town was originally going to be “railroad area,” but plans changed and instead various businesses were developed, including farming and cattle. It’s a mostly farming community right now, Miller said.

Speaking of history, 2018 was the Opolis Post Office’s 150th year. The post office held a celebration of the anniversary, an idea that was sparked after receiving a letter about it being the 150th year. The woman who sent the letter said she would like a postmark from 1868.

Miller’s daughter, Debbie Mertz, looked in a book called “Kansas Post Offices,” by Robert W. Baughman and the Kansas Postal History Society.

“She wanted a postmark for that date and so I opened the book and in sure enough 1868 was when it was established,” Mertz said.

People can visit the Opolis Post Office to see photographs and learn about local post office history. For example, during the mining days each camp had their own post office, Mertz said. At one point, she said there were approximately 40 post offices in Crawford County.

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Information from: The (Pittsburg, Kan.) Morning Sun, http://www.morningsun.net

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