Sure, there were floods, but that didn't cause a big exodus of residents. There was a fire in the early 1930s that burned the old mill to the ground.
The death knell came to Saxmam because of nothing more than advancement.
"Cars did it," said Tony Renollet, a retired farmer who still lives near the Rice County town. "It is only eight miles from Lyons and eight miles to Sterling. It was too easy to get to the big cities.
"It's progress, I guess."
Saxman was born in 1888 when the Frisco Railroad pushed through the area. It was named after the man who owned the quarter section of ground where the town site was platted.
The first store was built by George DeWeese — "a tiny one-room affair with limited stock, but drew trade for a good many miles," according to a 1922 issue of the Lyons Republican.
Joe Bleger was one of the early promoters. He served as a Frisco agent for 19 years and was the postmaster for nearly as long. As a merchant, he helped start the first lumberyard and kept the elevator in operation.
Moreover, through the effort of devoted townsfolk like Bleger, Saxman continued to grow. By 1920, it boasted 200 residents, two elevators, a flourmill, hardware and lumberyard, cafe, jewelry store, bank and two groceries. Saxman even had a newspaper that operated for a year. There also was a pool hall.
"We played more poker here than in any town in the state," one resident told a Hutchinson News reporter in 1952, but didn't give his name because he didn't want to incriminate himself.
There were church services, however. According to the Lyons Republican, the first worship service in Saxman was in the driveway of the elevator. Seats were improvised by laying bricks across nail kegs.
The sermon, however, was so disturbed by rats "that the feminine contingent in the congregation spent as much of the time shooing at the rodents as they did listening to the sermon."
Parishioners finally began meeting in Woodman Hall, which was a dance hall on Fridays and a church on Sundays.
"Saints and sinners frequented the building without any detrimental results to either," The News reported in 1952.
The United Presbyterian Church was built in 1906, according to the Lyons newspaper.
In 1907, the town's 35-piece band was invited to Hutchinson to play a concert for a future president, William Howard Taft, who was then Secretary of War under President Teddy Roosevelt.
The Lyons article reported the town had the best band in their section of Kansas, attributing its founding to a grain buyer who was an old bandleader. The man wanted to develop a brass band for the town but there was no place to practice. He was able to secure the depot baggage room.
But the little town might be best known for flooding.
Nearby Jarvis Creek flows into Cow Creek, which flows on the south side of Saxman. It caused Saxman to flood many times, including in 1929 when Cow Creek spilled its banks.
The Hutchinson News reported in a 1987 story on flooding that the July 12, 1929, flood had the entire town of Saxman, population 100, marooned on top of Arch Brown's two-story grocery.
Other floods caused havoc, as well, including one as recent as 2007 that caused officials to evacuate about a half-dozen area residents, according to The News.
While flooding helped bring about the exodus of people, the towns' first slip backward came in 1926 when the Saxman State Bank closed. Then the pool hall went out of business. The Leonard Mill burned down in the early 1930s, accord to the 1952 article in The News.
One by one, more businesses closed. George Pierce shut down his jewelry store. The cafe&(hash)233; shuttered. In 1944, "hard-pressed in wartime to find a manager," the owner closed the town's lumberyard and hardware. The grocery followed.
"My dad remembers they had a doctor there, a lawyer there and the jewelry store," Renollet said. "I have a card of a man advertising German shepherds."
He said the grocery store was still operational when he was little, recalling taking a pony through the floodwaters to get items.
But one of the biggest demises of the town came on July 1, 1952, when Mrs. Paul Dinsmore, the postmistress, stamped 350 envelopes for stamp collectors who wanted the Saxman postmark, then closed the doors of the old state bank building, which was serving as the post office, according to The News.
She, too, moved away from Saxman.
Saxman still has a few houses, as well as the elevator and the school, which stands amid tall weeds not far from town.
The school is where Hutchinson resident Phil Mathews attended. Mathews said he started school in 1950 — the same year the school first started serving hot lunches.
His grandmother even taught school there, Mathews said. His mother, Clarice, who wrote a history column for years for the Sterling Bulletin, reported that the Saxman school first started on Jarvis creek in 1873 then moved to Saxman in 1905.
Mathews said the school closed in 1966.
Renollett said the Frisco pulled up its tracks in the early 1980s. The church, where he was an elder, closed in 1995.
More than 165 people attended the final service, according to The News.
On a recent summer day, Dale Hoover walked into the old Presbyterian church he purchased a handful of year ago, saying he hoped someday to fix it up.
He already has done extensive work to the outside, which includes a new roof and painting the wood siding. His wife planted roses.
"I didn't want to see it fall down," the 76-year-old said of the church he began attending when his family moved to town in the early 1960s.
Saxman, after all, has been home for 50 years. It's where his children first attended school.
Now, if he can, he wants to save the church.
'You never know what the Lord has in store for an old church," Hoover said.