by Larry Billinger

Hidden in the vast plains of Kansas, and quietly nestled just a humming distance from Highway 81 north of Salina, lies the forgotten ghost town of Trenton. Despite being situated tantalizingly close to the major thoroughfare of I-70, it remains an enigma. Even for someone like me, with over 40 years of familiarity with the region, the existence of Trenton came as a surprise.

Trenton School, Saline County, Kansas – Kansas Memory – Kansas Historical Society (

In its heyday, Trenton was abuzz with life and activity. Historical records sketch a brief portrait of its existence, noting significant events like the change of its post office name from Nasby to Trenton in the late 1880s. However, the relentless tide of time, as with many other small settlements of its era, ensured Trenton’s decline, relegating it to the shadows of history.

Today, the modern world races by on nearby highways, largely oblivious to Trenton’s silent legacy. But for the curious traveler or historian, Trenton offers a whisper of the past. A reminder of a bygone era, of settlements that sprung up with hope and ambition, only to be left behind by the march of progress.

Interestingly, a stone’s throw away from where Trenton once stood is the Buddhist Temple of Salina, and to the north, the Saline County State Fishing Lake — reputedly not the best fishing spot. But it’s Trenton that captures the imagination, an echo of the past that beckons us to remember and reflect.

To many, Trenton may remain an unexplored chapter in Kansas’ rich tapestry. Yet, its story, though muted, is a testament to the countless settlements that once thrived and now exist only in faint memories and whispers of the wind.

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