Baldwin, one of the oldest settlements and the second largest city in Douglas county, is situated in the southeastern portion on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe R. R. about 15 miles from Lawrence. The first settlement near the present town site, was made in 1854, by Robert and Richard Pierson. In June, 1854, a town site consisting of 320 acres, was platted by the Palmyra Town company, which was composed of the following men: James Blood, president; Robert Pierson, the Baricklaw brothers, J. B. Abbott, Capt. Saunders, Amasa Soule, L. F. and D. F. Green, Dr. A. T. Still and D. Fry. They named the town Palmyra, and the first building was soon erected and used for a dwelling. W. Westfall built a second cabin and opened a store. The town company erected a building known as the old barracks, which was also used as a store. A hotel was also built by the company and used for that purpose and a store under the name of the Santa Fe House. Dr. Simmons and Dr. Pierson were the first physicians, as they opened offices in Palmyra in 1855, at which time the town had several stores, a good hotel for that period, a number of houses and seemed on the highway to prosperity. The postoffice was established in 1856, with N. Blood as postmaster. Religious services were held by the Methodist church in 1855, and late in the year an organization was perfected.
In 1858, the town company purchased a section of land adjoining Palmyra on the north and donated it to the Kansas Educational Association of the Methodist Episcopal church on the condition that they locate an institution of learning known as Baker University on the site. The section of land was surveyed into lots and sold, the proceeds being used to erect the college building. (See Baker University.) As the work on the university building progressed and the institution became an assured thing, houses were erected in its vicinity, and the new town site was named Baldwin, in honor of John Baldwin, of Berea, Ohio. Business houses were erected and one by one the business enterprises of Palmyra moved to Baldwin. John Baldwin erected a saw and grist mill, an important concern in those days, and inaugurated other commercial enterprises, which proved the death blows to the old town, which has become one of the "deserted villages" of Kansas. The Baldwin of today is a city of beautiful homes, churches, excellent retail stores of all kinds, a fine public school, water and lighting systems, money order postoffice, telegraph, express and telephone facilities, and is regarded as one of the educational centers of the state. In 1910 it had a population of 1,265.Pages 132-133 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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