A LANDMARK OF DISTINCTION

Historical marker on Courthouse Square
Cottonwood Falls


          Cottonwood Falls has been the Chase county seat since both town and county were established in 1859. The first log cabin courthouse was replaced in 1873 by this stately building of native limestone and walnut, which today is the oldest Kansas courthouse still in use. It was designed in French Renaissance style by John G. Haskell, who was also the first architect of the statehouse in Topeka.

          Prospects for Cottonwood Falls received an early setback when it was bypassed by the Santa Fe railroad in 1871. The depot, located two miles north, was first called Cottonwood but in 1881 it and the community which grew up around it were renamed Strong City.

          This "twin city" situation led to one of the state's first interurban systems. Horsecar service between the two towns began in 1887 and this courthouse square was the southern terminus of the two-mile railroad. In 1918 the company converted to a gasoline-powered motor car, but the track that served well for horsecars could not handle the heavier and faster equipment. Improved technology in this instance only created difficulty, and in 1919 the interurban ceased operations.

Erected by the Kansas Historical Society and State Highway Commission

Marker text sent by Mike LeMasters, Wichita, KS

More  Historical Markers


May 30, 1997 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas / history@kslib.info

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