Quindaro, one of the old, historic towns of Wyandotte county, is situated on the south bank of the Missouri river 6 miles above Kansas City. In 1856, when Atchison, Leavenworth and Delaware City were practically closed to free-state settlers, several fugitives from these towns were assisted down the river to safety from this point by Mr. Guthrie, who owned much of the land in the vicinity. The place was then selected by a number of free-state men as a location for a town. Mrs. Guthrie was a Wyandot Indian, and through her influence land was purchased from members of that tribe. In Dec., 1856, the town was surveyed by O. A. Bassett, and named in honor of Mrs. Guthrie, whose first name was Quindaro. The town company was organized by electing Joel Walker, president; Abelard Guthrie, vice-president; Charles Robinson, treasurer; and S. M. Simpson, secretary. The first ground on the town site was broken on Jan. 1, 1857, but little building was done until spring opened. Three or four buildings were completed by April 1, among them the Quindaro House, the second largest hotel in the territory, which was opened in Feb., 1857. In May a large force of men began to grade the ground near the levee and Kansas avenue, also the main street running south from the river. The first newspaper, the Chin-do-wan, appeared on May 13, and at once began to advertise the new town. Professional men came in and real estate agents did a good business. F. Johnson and George Veale opened a general merchandise store, and were followed by other firms in the same line. Simpson, Macaulay & Smith, forwarding and commission merchants, opened a store. Charles B. Ellis, a civil engineer and surveyor, opened an office, and Quindaro soon gave promise of becoming one of the largest towns on the river. A large steam ferry was put in operation that summer, one of the largest sawmills in the territory was erected and in operation by fall, and the Methodist church was built.
Shares of the town company had risen to an exorbitant price, money was plentiful, every one was hopeful, and the town seemed well started on the highway to assured prosperity. All the citizens were cordial and friendly and the name of the town and that of the newspaper which, when translated, mean "in union there is strength," seemed about to be realized. A stage line was put in operation between Quindaro and Lawrence, building continued and by 1858 the town boasted 100 business houses and dwellings. A second newspaper, the Kansas Tribune, was issued in the fall of 1858 for the benefit of the town company. But Kansas City, Atchison and Leavenworth were rapidly becoming centers of population and trade, and as they were the natural gateways of the territory, Quindaro began to decline. Business houses moved to the more prosperous settlements, the population gradually dwindled and in 1861, at the opening of the war, when the troops under Col. Davis handled the town so roughly, most of the remaining citizens left, so that by 1870 only a few buildings and the station were used. Subsequently the town began to pick up, the Freeman's University (now Western University), an industrial school for negroes, was established there, general stores, mercantile establishments and a drug stores were opened, schools and churches were again started, and Quindaro awoke to a ghost of its former life. It is a station on the Missouri Pacific R. R., a sub-station of the Kansas City postoffice, has telegraph, express and telephone facilities, and in 1910 had a population of 500.Pages 528-530 from volume II 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 July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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