CLAFLIN — The city of Claflin celebrated 125 years this weekend, with events that included a parade, kids games and a dance.
Claflin was incorporated in 1901, but the city got its start in 1888, when the railroad came through, explained Charles Disque, grand marshal of Saturday’s parade.
The city website notes the community was originally named Giles City, after landowner Stelle Giles. It was renamed Claflin, which was the maiden name of the wife of J. Hamilton, another founding father of the Barton County community.
Disque and his wife Verna led Saturday’s jubilee parade, riding in the first car behind color guard. “I was real honored to be chosen,” he said. He’s a native of the community, born north of town to Adam and Margaret Disque. His mother was born in a sod house, and his father in a stone house that is still standing. Disque graduated from Claflin High School in 1943, and was drafted to serve in the U.S. Army from 1945-46. After serving in the Alaska Defense - Army Ordnance, he returned to Claflin. The Disques were married in 1951. Over the years, he has served on the Claflin Co-op, Methodist Men’s Club and the museum board, and Disque served many years on the Claflin Housing Authority board.
Disque also attended Friday’s main event for the 125-year celebration — the grand opening of the new Community Center, located in the old grade school. “It was a good crowd,” he said of the events. “Everybody seemed to have a good time.”
Saturday’s parade also featured Mayor Mike Urban. Emcee Phil Grossardt from Eagle Radio noted that when Claflin celebrated its centennial in 1987, Ubran’s mother Iris Strube was mayor. She held that post for 18 years.
Senator Jerry Moran also rode in the parade. As parade entrants lined up at the high school, a man commented that he’s seen Moran on national television recently.
“I prefer to be in Claflin,” Moran said. “I’m home for the Memorial Day weekend.” Moran said he’ll also be speaking at a Memorial Day service at a Wichita cemetery on Monday.
The 125-year celebration wraps up Sunday with the Knights of Columbus Golf Tournament at the Claflin Golf Course.
The same group that organized Claflin’s All School Reunion in 2011 received permission from the city council to plan the jubilee celebration.