Hutchinson, the "salt city," is one of the important cities of the first class in Kansas. It is the judicial seat of Reno county, in the central part of the state, and is 168 miles southwest of Topeka. It is at the outlet of a great corn and wheat raising district, and has one of the largest salt works in the world. Hutchinson is a city of active, wide awake business men, excellent railroad facilities, fine hotels, extensive manufacturing and jobbing interests, shady streets, beautiful buildings, and plenty of automobiles. A home owned electric street railway system extends all over the city. The Hutchinson salt plants have been yielding from 2,500 to 5,000 barrels of salt per day for the last twenty years and the source still seems inexhaustible. The vein of rock salt is 400 feet thick and is found at a depth of 375 feet. The Hutchinson salt is unsurpassed as a table salt. The amounts of money spent in running these plants is enormous, the cost of fuel alone being more than the amount received for salt sold within the state, the profits coming from export salesand that with natural gas for fuel at 10 cents per 1,000 feet. The various flour mills have a combined capacity of 3,000 barrels per day, most of which is shipped out of the country by way of Galveston. The elevators have a storage capacity of 6,500,000 bushels. The soda ash plant, which is probably the largest institution of its kind in the country, manufactures the raw material or base of all soda products. The wholesale business aggregates $11,500,000 annually and 400 traveling salesmen, representatives of Hutchinson firms, have their homes here. There is a meat packing establishment and the poultry and egg business is extensive and brings large returns. There are foundries, a straw board factory, canning factory, paint factory, creamery, blank book manufactory, machine shop, furniture factory and boiler works. The five Hutchinson banks have a combined capital of over $500,000, and they were among the few banks in the country which did not in some manner restrict cash payments during the panic of 1907.
The city is paved, lighted with electricity, has a good sewer system, waterworks, an efficient fire department and police force. The finest hotel between the great lakes and the Pacific coast, and the best retail stores between the 6th principal meridian and the Continental divide are located here. This is the seat of the state reformatory. Hutchinson has a live commercial club, which is continually inducing new factories and new commercial enterprises to locate there. The railroad facilities are greatly to their advantage, in these matters, and have been one of the principal factors in the growth of the city into an important commercial and manufacturing center. The main lines of both the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, pass through the city; the Missouri Pacific line from Ellsworth to Wichita runs through Hutchinson, and there are two additional lines of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, one running south and the other running west to Kinsley, where it meets the main line. The freight hauled from Hutchinson by the Santa Fe alone amounts to more tons per month than that of any town on the line, except Kansas City and the terminals. Hutchinson ranks sixth among all the towns on the road, terminals included. A state fair is held annually at Hutchinson by a fair association owning large grounds and buildings. Exhibits of live stock and agricultural products come from all over Kansas and neighboring states.
Aside from her money making interests Hutchinson has other valuable assets, not the least of these being her large and beautiful shade trees, which money cannot buy and which time alone can produce. A Carnegie library, many fine churches, and the best of schools make the town attractive from an intellectual and religious standpoint. The population in 1910, according to the government census, was 16,364. It is rapidly increasing, as a great deal of labor is needed in the factories. In 1900 the population was but a little over 9,000.
The town was founded by C. C. Hutchinson in 1871. The first building on the site was erected in the fall of that year and in early days was the stopping place for newcomers and travelers. It was also the grocery store, the meat market, and contained the real estate office of C. C. Hutchinson. In Aug., 1872, the new town having sufficient population, it was incorporated as a city of the third class. The first officers were: Mayor, Taylor Flick; police judge, J. B. Brown; councilmen, John McMurray, G. A. Brazee, E. Wilcox. R. C. Bailey and D. M. Lewis. The founder of the town and the city officers from the first tried to eliminate the selling of intoxicants in or about the town. In spite of this some of it was sold outside the limits, and as there was no county government at the time the offenders could not he molested by the city. However, they were arrested by the United States marshal. Among the first to open stores were W. Bailey, general store; T. F. Leidigh, grocery; Jordan & Bemis, general store; E. Wilcox, hardware and farm implements; J. S. Fay opened a hotel, and J. & C. McMurray, a livery stable. The year 1872 was an eventful one. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe R. R. was built past this point; the first bank was started by the founder of the town; the Hutchison News was founded on July 4, and the first school was taught by Miss Jennie Hodgson in a small frame building on Main street. Mr. Hutchinson was elected to the legislature, and through his efforts Hutchinson became the county seat.Pages 891-893 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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