BUTLER COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) — Tucked away in Butler County, not far from a bend in the Little Walnut River, lies the ghost town of Boder.
There’s not much left of the town itself. There’s the old post office which closed shortly after the start of the 20th century, a farmhouse, the ruins of a grist mill, and the Little Walnut Pratt Truss Bridge, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
However, Boder isn’t the town’s true name. It’s not even Bodarc, as it was often pronounced.
The name of the town is actually Bois d’Arc, which is the French word for a type of tree more commonly known as an Osage Orange. Bois d’Arc translates to “bow-wood.”
It got that name from French fur trappers who traded with Native Americans. The wood of the Bois d’Arc tree is very heavy, strong, and durable but also very flexible, which made it ideal for the Osage Indians to use to make bows and axes.
The tree was also a popular choice for farmers and ranchers to plant around their properties because it would often grow densely together, forming a natural wall. That is, until barbed wire came around.
You may recognize the tree for another reason. The large green fruit it grows that sort of resembles a brain.
The fruit has many names, including horse apple, hedge apple, and of course, Osage orange. Although technically edible, it’s not recommended as it contains a sticky latex-like substance and has a taste described as a mix of cucumber and air freshener.
So, the town of Boder, which was once called Bodarc but was really Bois d’Arc, got its name because, apparently, there were a lot of Bois d’Arc trees in the area when the town was originally settled.
Just a small warning if you want to visit the ghost town: with the exception of the bridge, which is closed to all traffic, the town is all private property. You won’t be able to enter any of the buildings to explore.