The town of Mullinville

Kathie Bell
Special to the Globe
The big round barn in Mullinville. SUBMITTED PHOTO

He was only 25-years-old when he started this town near the Ford County line in western Kiowa County. The town, which still stands today, ended up being named after him.

Alfred A. Mullin who hailed from Chicago staked out the town of Mullinville, Kansas in the spring of 1884. Here, he opened a store as the first business, which also served as a post office and Sunday School.

On April 13, 1887, Mullinville reached the status of a third-class city. Soon, the first Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway passenger train arrived.

They built the Mullinville Grade School in 1911 and 1912. In 1919, the Mullinville Rural High School followed.

A City ordinance established the Mullinville Volunteer Fire Department on July 31, 1924. Their first pieces of equipment consisted of two hand-drawn hose wagons. In June of 1939, officials built Washington Park.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the town became truly modern as water and sewage was upgraded. In 1966, crews added street curbs and guttering.

There are a couple of sites of interest in the Mullinville vicinity. One, just west of town on Highway 400, is a field of sculptures crafted by the late M.T. Liggett.

He majored in Political Science at the University of Texas, which might explain why much of his work is political. Liggett died on August 17, 2017 at the age of 86. Mr. Liggett was controversial to say the least, but his art is fascinating and has become an easily accessible roadside attraction.

Of interest historically is the Fromme-Birney Round Barn which is three-and-a-half miles south of and one-and-three-quarters miles west of Mullinville.

In 1912, William Campbell, commissioned by German immigrant Henry W. Fromme, build the round structure for Fromme to stable his 28 draft horses and Percheron stallion.

The barn cost $8,000, which was more than the cost of the construction of other barns at the time. And, in 1916, the owner converted its use to hay storage as tractors replaced horses for work on the farm.

In the 1980's, Lawrence Birney gave the barn to his wife, Phyllis, as a 15th wedding anniversary gift.

The structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987 and was restored in 1995. The barn actually has 16 sides rather than being truly round.