Making mole hills out of mountains in Teterville

By Ted Blankenship | December 29, 2023

Recently, Dorothy and I went to dinner with friends. I was fascinated by the car we rode in. 

It wasn’t “your father’s car” but rather a luxury conveyance with a dashboard of lights resembling the Aurora Borealis.

It reminded me of how much automobiles have changed over the years.

When I was six years old we lived in a tiny oil-field shack about a mile west and a mile south of Teterville.

If you haven’t heard of Teterville, it’s about 30 miles northwest of Eureka in the Flint Hills. It’s only fame now centers on Teter Rock, a nearby tourist attraction.

Look it up on the internet, and it’s called a ghost town. But, in the 1930s and 1940s, it was a thriving community of mostly oil field folks. There was an ice house, grocery store and post office, two or three schools and best of all, Teter Hill.

It was more like a mountain than a hill. Cars of the day labored to get to its summit. A wooden post fence with heavy cable snaking through it lined the road’s outside edge to keep cars from slipping into the valley below.

Teter Hill was so fascinating to me in my childhood that I wanted my three kids to see it. So one day in the 1970s, we drove to Eureka and northwest to Teterville. We passed where the grocery store had been. The school that once stood across the road was gone.

We drove by where the school had been. But from there, the road that should have taken us down the hill was gone, replaced by a level grade.

The kids weren’t impressed, so I drove to the two-room Scott School nearby which I had attended from 1934 to 1937. Only the storm cellar with its peeling green paint remained.

Recently, I flew over Teterville with a friend and we could still see where the road up the hill had been. Even the outline of the posts holding the cable were faintly visible. Faded signs of what once flourished were now visible only from on high.

In my mind’s eye I saw cars struggling up the hill and recalled how my grandfather always gave me the sack of candy he got when he paid the monthly bill at the Teterville Grocery.

And then we flew home.

Ted Blankenship began writing “It’s Not Serious” in 1957 for the Hutchinson News. It later appeared in the Coffeyville Journal, Wichita Beacon, Wichita Eagle, Kansas Business News Magazine and The Kansas Times before moving to The Active Age in 1990. Ted can be reached at