Home » Kansas » Hillsboro

James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

We mourn the loss of our friend and colleague and remain committed to the work he began.



Basic Information

Type of Place
Independent City or Town
Metro Area
Politics c. 1860?
Unions, Organized Labor?

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Was there an ordinance?
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?
Don’t Know

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1930 1458 0
1950 2150 1
1960 2441 2
1980 2686 19
1990 2704 20

Method of Exclusion

  • Unknown

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


I grew up in the Mennonite town of Hillsboro, Kansas. A story has circulated that Hillsboro was a “sundown town.” Yet, unless we have missed it, you make no mention of that in your book.

The story is that until Hannington Pamba (Congolese) came as a student (1950s) recruited by a Mennonite Brethren missionary to come play soccer (football) at Tabor College, no blacks could spend the night in the town.

Also, it is my understanding is that in the early 1920s Hillsboro regulations insisted that African-Americans could not be lodged overnight in Hillsboro. The issue came to a head because the foreman and/or some of the crew of our road paving project was/were African American. The downtown streets were laid with brick at this time, a very laborious time-intensive job, 1922; you can still see some of our brick-paved streets.

In Hillsboro, Kansas lived a couple who could have no kids. So, they adopted two Korean girls. Well, they turned out to be beautiful girls–but one especially was very dark. When they got older things became messy. I remember Alden coming over and talking to my father about how Mennonite fathers and others in the community were telling him and his wife not to let their sons date his daughters as it was unchristian for races to be mixed. I remember Alden’s disgust–“If your sons want to date my daughters it is not my fault. That is not my issue. You have the problem.”