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Greiffenstein: Wichita's Father

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Bronze Plaque in Downtown Wichita
IN 1871, WILLIAM "DUTCH BILL" GREIFFENSTEIN BUILT HIS 2-STORY HOME ON SOUTH WATER STREET, AT THE SITE WHERE CENTURY II NOW STANDS. FOR MANY YEARS IT WAS THE LARGEST RESIDENCE IN WICHITA. DUTCH BILL WAS AN INDIAN TRADER AND ESTABLISHED HIS FIRST TRADING POST IN 1865 ALONG THE COWSKIN CREEK. (THE SITE IS NOW EBERLY FARMS AT 13111 W. 21ST.) DUTCH BILL EARNED THE TITLE "FATHER OF WICHITA" AND AS ONE OF THE FOUNDERS, HE WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN FINANCING THE DEVELOPMENT OF DOUGLAS AVENUE AS WICHITA'S COMMERCIAL CENTER. HE HAD STIFF OPPOSITION FROM DARIUS MUNGER, WHO BUILT WICHITA'S FIRST HOUSE AT 9TH AND WACO. IN 1870, THEY AGREED TO COMBINE THEIR PLATS TO CREATE A SINGLE TOWNSHIP. DUTCH BILL GAVE AWAY ALTERNATE PLOTS ON MAIN STREET TO STIMULATE RETAIL GROWTH TOWARD DOUGLAS AVENUE. HE ALSO FINANCED THE DOUGLAS AVENUE BRIDGE WHICH ALLOWED EASY ACCESS TO DOUGLAS AVENUE MAKING IT THE MAJOR BUSINESS THOROUGHFARE. GREIFFENSTEIN SERVED AS MAYOR FROM 1878 TO 1884 AND WILLIAM STREET IS NAMED IN HIS HONOR.

Wichita's Historic Preservation Board
1993

 
Link to Sedgwick County  
Bronze Plaque beside Century II
Downtown Wichita
Sedgwick County
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May 3, 2002 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas / history@kslib.info

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