Created By: Reno County Museum
A lonely wind blows the cotton from the trees that have grown up in front of Lerado’s dilapidated lodge hall and opera house.
The metal awning is rusted and dented, the windows boarded and the once widely used sidewalk chipped and cracked.
For those not looking, they’d never realize it was there, or that this stop in the middle of the road was ever a promising metropolis.
More than a century ago, town leaders here had dreams: of houses and business, of people. They dreamed of the railroad.
But the railroad never came.
The two-story brick structure is one of just a few remaining buildings of the Reno County town.
A blackboard still graces the inside of a former school turned community center - the shuffleboard lines still stenciled in the wooden floor. The merry-go-round sits in the front lawn - the wooden seats broken. Meanwhile, just across the road is a little white church with a bell tower, the grass knee-high except for a path that leads to the church’s front steps.
Lerado has its own unique ghostly presence.
It also has one of the more colorful tales.
According to a Hutchinson News article from 2009, a doctor named John Brady was optimistic for the city, which included building a women’s college named after him - Brady University - once the railroad went through it. Dr. Brady and the townsfolk prepared for trains by building a $24,000, 100-room hotel and a brickyard operation. At one time, there was a bank, a newspaper, a school, a church, a drugstore, a meat market, a town hall, the lodge and opera house and four livery barns.
The town had everything except a railroad, and the railroad never came.
The railroad wasn’t impressed with Lerado’s growth, Newton said. They wanted 51 percent of the Lerado Town Co. Brady refused and the railroad built their tracks through Turon.
People left. Some moved their buildings and homes to the new town of Turon.
Now, the former town on Pretty Prairie and Lerado roads is just another bump in the road.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Reno County Ghost Towns