The town of Offerle

Kathie Bell
Special to the Globe
Lawrence Offerle and his wife Mary Ursula Ott, were the co-founders of the town Offerle in 1876. SUBMITTED PHOTO

The town is in Edwards County, but its cemetery, where the town's founder is buried, is in Ford County.

Alsace, France, is the birthplace of Lawrence Offerle who was born on May 28, 1832.

In 1876, he and his family founded the town named for him. Philip Ott, who was most likely a brother of his wife Mary Ursula Ott, was one of the co-founders of Offerle. Another man instrumental in the town's beginnings was John Offerle.

The two Offerle's and Ott had purchased a section of land from the A.T. & S.F. Railway in the Trenton Township, on the western edge of Edwards County. They donated a total of 160 acres to the town. Offerle's first post office opened on May 26, 1876, with John E. Edwards as its postmaster. A post office remained in the town until 2012, around which time the U.S. Postal Service closed many of its facilities in western Kansas.

The three men plated the town on December 4, 1877. Lawrence's sons, Abner, Norman and Oscar were prominent citizens and also had a hand in the town's development. The family also included Lawrence's daughter, Minerva. The family ran a general store, farmed and raised livestock.

After Lawrence's death on April 16, 1906, the town continued to flourish. In 1912, it had a number of general stores, a mill, grain elevator, a creamery, telegraph offices and a post office with a population around 200. The town's numbers continued to grow reaching nearly 300 people in the 1930s.

In 2010, the junior and senior high schools closed and merged with nearby Kinsley due to unification.

Offerle is located eight miles west of Kinsley and 28 miles from Dodge City on US Highway 56 very near the Ford County line. Its Evergreen Cemetery, where Lawrence Offerle and other family members are interred is actually in Ford County.

As of 2017, 189 people lived in Offerle. Major structures are the Kinsley-Offerle Elementary School, Offerle Country Store, Girard National Bank, Offerle Coop and a fire station which was constructed in 2009.