There are more than 600 students seven schools attending Cato Kids Day this year and they’re learning all about the historic Cato, Kansas.
“A lot of these kids understand what the times were like,” says former Cato resident Donald Smith.
The town of Cato was founded in 1854 and was known to have the first running school in Crawford County. Jerry Coonrod and Donald Smith both attended the school before it shut down.
“Just an old one room school house and the teacher took turns to work with each grade,” Coonrod.
“I remember out here in the area playing tag and so forth and playing softball,” Smith says.
“Recess we would come outside and we’d play Annie 1 Over and we even played some softball,” Coonrod says.
Cato reached its height in 1910 with only 112 residents before it started to decline.
“There were probably five or six houses close and then within a mile or two there were a lot of farm houses, but now those have all disappeared,” Smith says.
“What really killed Cato is when the railroad went a mile east and it missed us. Then the town started going downhill then,” Coonrad says.
Donald Smith lived in Cato as a little boy and doesn’t remember much of his time there, but he appreciates what the small town was all about.
“Back then as opposed to today everybody knew each other and nobody ever locked their houses. Everybody was honest and it just brought people together,” he says.
Cato Days will continue Saturday with more activities open to the public starting at 9 AM.