Simpson Whistle Stop Watercolor Painting By The GYPSY


April 10, 2016
Watercolor Painting By Romani American Artist J.A. George AKA; The GYPSY

Simpson, Kansas is home to around 86 people who have turned their back on our ever-changing world and who wish to raise their children in a place where they can walk down a street without looking over their shoulders.

Simpson is an anomaly with part of it in Cloud County and the other part in Mitchell County.
Simpson was originally called Brittsville, and under the latter name was laid out in 1879 by J. J. Britt. The town was renamed Simpson in 1882 in honor of Alfred Simpson, an original landowner.
The first post office at Brittsville, established in June 1874, was renamed Simpson in April 1882. The Post office along with a lone mechanics garage and a small feed and grain store is all that is left of this once-thriving community.

When I first saw Simpson it was to attend a motorcycle rally hosted by Trappers Bar (now defunct), to benefit a Neo-Natal Clinic in Beloit. My first thought upon seeing this once thriving community was; “Wish I could have seen it in it’s heyday, what a place it must have been.”

Indeed it was “A Place”; the hub of a thriving farming country it boasted a second-floor ballroom that doubled as a roller rink. Below was a bakery and a bank. Old-timers still talk about the day that Lawrence Welk and his Orchestra played in the school gymnasium which burned down a few years later.
During the “Gay 90s” and into the early 1970’s the city park was a must-go-to destination for families from all over the region for Saturday get-togethers and family picnics.

The Train Depot was a thriving stop for many a traveler who found succor at several eating establishments. The depot also served as a shipping and receiving point for freight` coming in and out of the region. But alas, those days passed with the passing of the passenger train and the routing of super highways which bypassed the community and left Simpson to quietly go to sleep.

For a town that saw its highest population count of 295 souls in 1920 it is amazing that though the population never increased past that point and steadily decreased to today’s population, the community has stubbornly held on even refusing to succumb to the ravishes of the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The newest structure in Simpson is a memorial, next to the post office, in honor of U.S. Army Sergeant Joel Lee Murray a Simpson Native who was killed in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The oldest structure in town is the home of J.J. Britt, the founder of Simpson. As I was taking a photo of the now abandoned and falling down structure, which rests on the west side of town, an old man approached me and demanded to know why I was taking a photo of an “old miserable house”. I explained that I am a history buff and fascinated with ghost towns. He said, “Yep, that’s Simpson, a ghost town that will soon be history. OK,” he allowed, “Just wanted to make sure that you weren’t the government sticking your nose into my moonshine business.” I laughed, “I would never turn in an enterprising businessman.” We shook hands and he wandered off.

I have thought often about that old man and I imagine that he and his moonshine business have long since returned to the dusty soil of Simpson. But he represents why this community hangs on to life because the old man like Simpson has refused to let the world shut them down.

I walked the cobblestone sidewalks of this Ghost Town of Kansas taking photos and wondering why people do not step out of the cities, come to a community like Simpson, and revitalize it. With so many people working from home these days their commute on the Information Super Highway would be so much more pleasant from a beautiful little town nestled quietly in north central Kansas.

“Art must evoke an emotion in order to be art. If it only creates indifference then it is not art, it is garbage!” -The GYPSY-


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"Simpson, Kansas," a haunting exploration by J. A. George, known as The GYPSY, hat delves into the enigmatic realm of a ghost town, a once vibrant community now echoing with the whispers of its storied past. With a current population dwindling to less than a hundred, Simpson emerges as a poignant reflection of the ebb and flow of rural life in north-central Kansas.
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Artist Alley Studio and Gallery
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