Latitude / Longitude:
938 ft (286 m)
Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Stull is an unincorporated community in Douglas County, Kansas, United States. Founded in the mid-1800s, the settlement was initially known as Deer Creek until it was renamed after its first postermaster, Sylvester Stull.
It seems likely that the town was founded in 1856; during this time it was originally called Deer Creek. The was settled mainly by people of German and Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry, and by 1857, six families were living in the vicinity. In that same year, the settlers constructed a stone church on land donated by Jacob Hildenbrand; this was later dubbed the “Evangelical Emmanuel Church” (in 1859, Hildenbrand donated more land for use as a cemetery). Until 1908, the sermons at the small country chapel were preached in German. On April 27, 1899, a post office was established in the small community, headed by Sylvester Stull. Soon after the office was established, the residents of the community began referring to their settlement as “Stull”. According to the book Soil of Our Souls, the United States post office simply used the name of the postmaster to refer to the postal office, but other sources suggest that the name may have been chosen by the community to memorialize Stull’s service in the . Regardless of its origin, the name stuck, the post office itself was discontinued in 1903.
The Stull Cemetery has gained an ominous reputation due to urban legends involving Satan, the occult, and a purported “gateway to Hell”. The rumors about the cemetery were popularized by a November 1974 issue of the University Daily Kansan (the student newspaper of the University of Kansas), which claimed that the Devil himself appeared in Stull twice a year: once on Halloween, and once on the spring equinox. After this article, the legend began to grow, eventually becoming more and more exaggerated. Soon, people said that the cemetery was the location of one of the seven gates to Hell. Eventually, the nearby Evangelical Emmanuel Church ruin became part of the story. People claimed that it was “possessed” by the Devil, and that bottles thrown against its wall would not be shattered. When the chapel’s roof was destroyed during a storm, some said that rain water would not fall into the structure, even though its interior was exposed to the elements. With all this said, most academics, historians, and local residents are in agreement that the legend of the cemetery is false, not based on local folklore, and is perhaps best explained as the product of imaginative college students.
By the turn of the 21st century, the eastern wall of the Evangelical Emmanuel Church ruin had collapsed, and in early 2002, the structure’s western wall caved in following a windstorm. In March of that year, the building was demolished. Initially, locals were unsure who had approved the razing, but it was eventually revealed that John Haase, a Lecompton resident who owned the land upon where the church was located, had authorized the demolition. Haase had been contacted a few days before by the Douglas County sheriff’s department, who expressed their worry that the abandoned structure was at risk of collapsing and possibly injuring someone.