Fredonia, the judicial seat and largest city of Wilson county, is located southwest of the center of the county, 90 miles east of Wichita, and 10 from Kansas City. It has city waterworks, police and fire departments, natural gas and electric lights, 3 banks, 2 newspapers, 2 large brick plants, 2 independent gas plants, linseed oil mill, ice and cold storage plant, cement works, foundry and machine shops, and the largest window glass plant in the entire West. There are 5 churches and 3 public schools. Fredonia is well equipped with railroad facilities to take care of her manufactured and farm products, the Missouri Pacific running north and south, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe running northeast and southwest, and the St. Louis & San Francisco running east and west cross at this point. It is the railroad center of the county. There are telegraph and express offices and an international money order postoffice with five rural routes. The population in 1910 was 3,040.
The foundation for the town was laid in 1868, when Dr. J. J. Barrett put up the first building, in which Albert Troxel opened a store. The next spring the Fredonia town company was formed with Justus Fellows, president; J. J. Barrett, secretary; the other members being, W. H. Williamson, J. H. Broadwell, Elisha Hadden, G. F. Jackson, John T. Heath, W. T. Barrett, John F. King, Albert Troxel and D. P. Nichols. Steps were at once taken to build a court-house. There was a little rival town half a mile north called Twin Mounds, which about this time tried to secure a postoffice but failed because there was already a postoffice by that name in Kansas. Fredonia then succeeded in securing a postoffice and was thus officially established as a town. By 1870 there were about thirty buildings on the town site. That year immigration was heavy, new buildings sprang up on the prairies, and the population went to about 600. In May, 1871, the town was incorporated as a city of the third class. An election was held in which 144 votes were polled and the following officers were elected: T. J. Hudson, mayor; John Hammert, W. W. Sholes, C. Christ and Robert Morgan, councilmen. In September of that year the first bank was opened. In 1872 a disastrous fire occurred which destroyed nine buildings, netting a loss of $30,000. Another bank was started, by R. M. Foster & Co., which failed in 1877. The St. Louis & San Francisco R. R. was built in 1879. The next year there were two fires in Fredonia, with a total loss of $17,000. Another fire occurred in May, 1886, destroying eleven frame store buildings worth $13,500. That year several new buildings went up, the total capital used in construction exceeding $150,000. In addition to private enterprises, the court-house was erected in that year and several buildings were erected by the railroads. In July the whole north side of the square was burned to the ground, but was immediately rebuilt with two-story stone buildings. Many new business houses were erected in the next two years, and new enterprises started. In 1889 there was another fire in which Cliff King, a nine-year-old boy, lost his life and buildings worth $30,000 were destroyed. A flood that year carried away the Center township bridge over Fall river and a new one, several feet higher, was built. In 1890 a canning factory began operations, and in 1891 a linseed oil mill. Otto's flour mill on Fall river burned in 1898, and his new electric mill was built in 1900. The telephone system was installed in 1900.Pages 684-685 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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