Wellington, one of the important towns of southern Kansas and the judicial seat of Sumner county, is located near the central part of the county. It has an elevation of 1,192 feet. It is on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe R. R., of which it is a division point, and also on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific R. R. It is an important shipping point for live stock, grain, hay and produce. The division headquarters is a source of steady income to the town, the monthly payroll of the Santa Fe at this point being $80,000. There are two national and two state banks, with a combined capital and surplus of nearly $300,000. The deposits aggregate over $1,000,000 and the stock is held by 193 citizens of the community. The auditorium was built at a cost of $50,000. The Sumner county high school located here is second to none in standing, and in 1908 it had the largest enrollment of any in the state. There is a $65,000 government building. The salt mines are a source of wealth to the city. The waterworks, which originally cost $100,000 and has since been improved to the extent of $50,000, is owned by the city, as is also the electric light plant which cost $40,000. Natural gas for lighting, heating and manufacturing is plentiful and has been an asset in the development of the town. There is a good sewer system; attractive stores line several blocks of the main streets; there are 2 daily and 4 weekly papers, 3 large flour mills, a plow works, 3 feed mills, a number of grain elevators, a cigar factory, ice and cold storage plant, salt manufactory, cheese factory and paved streets. The city is divided into five wards, and the population in 1910 was 7,034. It is well supplied with telegraph and express offices and has an international money order postoffice with seven rural routes.
Wellington was laid off in April, 1871, and two months later the Wellington Town company was organized.The members of this company were R. A. Davis, A. A. Jordan, P. A. Wood, L. K. Myers, C. R. Godfrey, J. S. McMahan, J. P. McCulloch and A. N. Randall. The town was named in honor of the Duke of Wellington. Buildings were put up during the first days of April. Religious services were held on the 9th and on the 15th the first store was opened by A. W. Shearman. The same day the first hotel, the Civic House, was opened by William Burton. This was the only one of the first buildings that was not of logs. The postoffice was established in 1871 with C. R. Godfrey as postmaster, and was kept in Wood's drug store. The first school was taught by Mrs. B. Cooley in 1872. The Wellington Banner, the second newspaper in the county, was started by G. P. Garland in Oct., 1872. The first two years of its life the little town had a strenuous time on account of the unsettled condition of the county seat matter. Finally in 1872 the voters chose Wellington and its prosperity was assured. It was incorporated as a city of the third class in Nov., 1872. A city election on the 30th of that month resulted in the selection of the following officers: Mayor, D. N. Caldwell; police judge, J. A. Dillar; clerk, T. C. Gatliff; councilmen, A. W. Shearman, W. P. Hackney, A. N. Randall, John G. Tucker and T. J. Riley. In 1880 the completion of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe R. R. to this point gave Wellington a new impetus. The next year, however, a disastrous fire occurred destroying $40,000 worth of buildings and goods. The first banking institution was a private one established by J. E. Neal & Son in 1879. It became incorporated in 1882. Mills and manufacturing plants were put up about this time. The little city developed very rapidly and in 1888, street cars, gas works, waterworks and telephone system were among the improvements.Pages 898-899 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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