Rich Agricultural Heritage

Tilghman P. Hersperger established a ranch at the head of Adobe Creek in 1872 about five miles from present day Karval. ‘Uncle Til’ tamed wild horses in the area, bred them, and sold them, some of his animals eventually serving with the British Army in the Boer War.

The Karval post office was established in 1911. Gulick Kravig was the first postmaster, naming the Karval post office for the Kars valley in Norway from which he emigrated.

When the Homestead Act of 1912 simplified the homesteading process, settlement in the Karval area quickly increased. Houses were put up on almost every quarter section and the population grew quickly. Conflicts between ranchers and the homesteaders trying to fence off the range sometimes occurred, but the international demand for farm products kept the settlers coming.

Around the First World War the price of grains rose dramatically. In 1920 and 1921 people celebrated nature’s bounty with fairs at Karval; outlines of the race track can still be seen.

By the late twenties the chief crop in the area was pinto beans. Two beaneries were built to buy and clean beans. Unfortunately, the Dust Bowl 30’s claimed much of the area’s top soil and the community’s population decreased as families moved to the cities. Increasing mechanization allowed farmers and ranchers to work more land with fewer employees.

Over the years the beaneries, garages, cream stations, barber shops, and stores in town gave way to two churches and one store. The store, established in 1921 by Clarence and Bertha Middleton, just closed its doors in the early 200's. Today the area surrounding the town is used for pasture and dry-land farming.

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