Hopewell started in 1904 as a post office. The post office closed in 1908. The post office again opened by 1916, with the town taking the name of Fravel. The Fravel post office changed to Hopewell in 1921. The town soon began to grow, springing up with the railroad. Ninety-one-year-old Geraldine McAhren, of Byers, who grew up in Hopewell and is Giles' aunt, said the Farmer's State Bank of Hopewell opened for business about the same time as the name change.
The town also had a general store, a hotel, elevators, a blacksmith, a hardware store and lumberyard. The bank housed the post office until it closed in the mid-1920s, she said. Fun included going to school and church, McAhren said. A local couple, Roy and Mina Hodson, befriended her. She would sit on their laps at church and, when she was older, was in a quartet with Roy.
Other activities included rabbit hunts, wrote Kansas ghost town author Daniel Fitzgerald. For instance, Hopewell's two lodges had a wager for an oyster dinner to see who could get the most rabbits. The winning team corralled more than 700 rabbits and herded them to a buyer at Byers. The buyer paid 75 cents each for jackrabbits and 35 cents apiece for cottontails. Yet, while there were signs of prospering in the beginning, little Hopewell never took off.
Hopewell CemeterySheep populate Hopewell these days.
A structure in the trees
Old church at Hopewell.