Record of the Week: Grasshopper Falls, Kansas

You won't find the town of Grasshopper Falls, Kansas on a modern map. But as our GLO record of the week shows, it was certainly there after being founded in 1859.

Kinda makes you wonder what happened, doesn't it?

Was it bypassed by railroads with residents forced to relocate?

Not the issue. In fact, the town serviced three railroads.

Did it turn into a ghost town when resources or jobs dried up? 

Nope. Not that either.

It was on the banks of the Grasshopper river, so maybe the river overflowed and destroyed the town or was diverted? 

No. And you will also have trouble finding the Grasshopper River.

This might sound crazy, but if you head to Jefferson County, Kansas today, to the exact location shown on this plat, you'll find the town of Valley Falls, with a population of just over 1,000 not on the Grasshopper River, but the Delaware River.

A plat from the 1800s that includes the location of the town of Grasshopper Falls, Kansas

You see, the residents of Grasshopper Falls decided to rename the town, and the Grasshopper River... after a massive grasshopper invasion that destroyed the town's crops in the 1870s! 

Pretty good, and ironic, reason for a change if you ask us!

You can learn more about this record on ArcGIS Story Maps and check out our past records of the week at our GLO record of the week page!

Eric Dehm, Public Affairs Specialist

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