Agriculture in Harvey County Stimulated Flour Milling Industry

Turkey Red, a variety of hard winter wheat, was introduced during the mid 1870s into the Kansas counties of Butler, Harvey, Marion, McPherson and Reno. Proving to be hardy and of high yield, the use of this variety of wheat spread across Kansas and then to neighboring states.

In Harvey County, the vast wheat production created new business opportunities in the milling of wheat into flour. As a result, the county had an abundance of flour mills over the years. They were in Burrton, Halstead, Hesston, Newton, Sedgwick and Walton. The growing, harvesting and milling of wheat helped make Kansas “the breadbasket of the world.”

Through on-line exhibits, this slideshow series gives short stories about Harvey County and its cities; and provides a sampling of the stories which can be discovered by viewing the on-site exhibits at HCHM, by examining source material in the Research Library and by utilizing the HCHM photo collection.

For even more stories of Harvey County’s people, events and businesses, check out:

  • The Story of Alta Mill. A business of yesteryear that ground flour and feed, Alta Mill was a commercial enterprise situated in Alta Twp of northwest Harvey County. The mill site was a community center due to the park in the nearby woods as well as a meeting point for people from Moundridge, Buhler, Halstead and Burrton. Often getting a year’s supply of flour and feed, farmers brought their wheat from as far west as Meade County, Kansas and south to the Oklahoma line. Learn more about Alta Mill HERE. (Note: By going to the link, you’ll leave the HCHM website.)
  • Bernhard and Wilhelmina Warkentin. Through Bernhard’s promotion of the hardy, high-yield Turkey Red hard winter wheat, Kansas realized enormous wheat productivity which made the region the “breadbasket of the world.” Learn more about the Warkentin story HERE. The same website gives excellent information about the Warkentin’s former home in Newton which is currently a museum that’s open to the public. Their former home in Halstead is a private residence and is not available for general public access. (Note: By going to the link, you’ll leave the HCHM website.)

Check the HCHM website regularly for the addition of new on-line slideshows in this series on Harvey County, Kansas.

Click anywhere on the first image below to scroll through Unit 7 – Agriculture in Harvey County Stimulated Flour Milling Industry.