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The Empire

That Missouri Pacific Serves

FREEPORT (46 miles southwest of Wichita)
 
Veteran residents are not certain how their town got its name but most agree that it was named for a man named Freeman who ran a general store in the early days. It is the surviving community of a contest with a rival that ended with the awarding of the post office to Freeport. Grain from the adjoining wheat belt supports an elevator and flour mill here.
 
GARNETT (110 miles north of Coffeyville)
 
In the late summer of 1856 Dr. Cooper and George A. Dunn, who had surveyed most of the land in Anderson County, selected a townsite here in Kansas. Dr. Cooper then went to Louisville and organized a Town Company with W. A. Garnett, a wealthy landowner, as president. The town was named for him.
 
Through Garnett's influence a flour and sawmill was established here in 1857 and the town was incorporated in 1861. It now is a busy county seat, surrounded by fertile farms. Dairy products, poultry, soybeans, corn, wheat, flax and oil from nearby fields are shipped via the Missouri Pacific from Garnett. Local industries include church furniture and chicken coop factories.
 
GENESEO (29 miles west of Salina)
 
This railroad junction point in Rice County was established in 1886 and named for Geneseo, Illinois, birth- place of E. C. Moderwell, one of the founders of the Kansas Geneseo.
 
At the junction of the Missouri Pacific's Central Kansas and Wichita divisions, Geneseo is a trading center for the surrounding area which produces wheat, corn and oats and embraces oil and natural gas fields. A refinery is Geneseo's principal local industry.
 
GAYLORD (72 miles west of Concordia)
 
Gaylord, in Smith County on the north fork of the Solomon River, was named for C. E. Gaylord, a prominent pioneer in this section of northern Kansas. Its post office was established in 1871 and classes in its
 
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first school were taught in the summer of 1872. The town is a shipping point for the agricultural products of its trade territory.
 
GLADE (98 miles west of Concordia)
 
Although the founders of this community called it "Marvin," it was renamed by its residents for a railroad engineer when the Missouri Pacific's line was built through here. Farming is the supporting industry of this Phillips County territory.
 
GLEN ELDER (40 miles west of Concordia)
 
First permanent settlers in the vicinity of this Mitchell County community were J. Neaves and Milton Spencer who located near the mouth of Limestone Creek in 1868. Joseph Decker, an earlier settler who tried to establish a home near the site of Glen Elder in 1866, had been driven off by Indians.
 
Neaves and Spencer built a dam across the Solomon River to obtain power for a sawmill that turned out the lumber for the first frame houses here. Other settlers followed, among them the Stimson brothers who erected a log building for a store, surrounding it with a stockade that provided refuge from Indian attacks.
 
A town was laid out in 1870 and an unidentified onlooker at the establishment ceremonies is said to have provided its name. While others discussed various possibilities he gazed off into the distance and noticed a glen filled with box elder trees. "Why not call it Glen Elder," was his promptly adopted suggestion.
 
Glen Elder is the trading center for nearby grain, livestock, dairy and poultry farms.
 
GOFF (49 miles west of Atchison)
 
Early construction of the rail lines now comprising the Missouri Pacific's Northern Kansas division was accomplished by a railroad company originally called the Central Branch Union Pacific Railroad. E. H. Goff was an official of the Central Branch organization and it was for him that Goff in Nemaha County was named.
 
Goff is a concentration and shipping point for dressed poultry and eggs originating in northern Kansas and southern Nebraska. In addition to poultry, grain and livestock are the principal agricultural products of the surrounding area.
 
GREAT BEND (50 miles northwest of Hutchinson)
 
There are countless bends in the meandering course of the Arkansas River but a glance at a map of central Kansas will readily explain the
 
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origin of the name of this substantial industrial town and seat of Barton County. It stands on the north bank of the Arkansas at the apex of the semi-circular "great bend" that was a landmark on the old Santa Fe trail. The town established there in 1871 also was a railhead for the historic Chisholm cattle trail from Texas.
 
Nearby extensive oil and gas fields in combination with rich farmlands surrounding the city for miles explain the solid development and prosperity of Great Bend, now an important flour milling, oil refining and meat packing center.
 
GREELEY (74 miles southwest of Kansas City)
 
Back in 1837 this beautiful spot in Kansas was an Indian's Paradise. The Little Pottawatomie Creek was full of fish.., and there were wild animals and berries everywhere. The Pottawatomie Indians planted corn and peach trees before they were removed by the Government to Pottawatomie County.
 
In 1854 two young white men, Valentine Gerth and Francis Meyer, came here with an ox-team and a few horses and cattle and pitched their tents on the present site of Greeley, Kansas, where the old "Wagon Bridge" was located. They found the deserted tepees and bark huts and corn patches left by the Indians. Soon other settlers came and built homes near the river.
 
In 1855 the townsite was selected and named in honor of Horace Greeley. However, when the first post office was established in 1857 it was called "Walker" because the administration was not in favor of Horace Greeley.
 
In 1855, too, John Brown, a man then fifty-five years old, started from Chicago with his family in a heavily loaded wagon for Kansas. He settled near Osawatomie... and in the years to come became a hero to all Kansans.
 
As early as 1856 border ruffians from Missouri preyed on Free State Settlers in Kansas, burning their cabins and stealing livestock. Finally the Free-State Cabins were marked and Pottawatomie Guard was organized. From this time on John Brown and his company guarded
 
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the trails of the Free-State People from Osawatomie to and beyond Greeley. The settlers loved John Brown. It was just across the creek here that John Brown wrote his famous Parallels. It was here, too, that he hid the three negroes he helped escape from Missouri, and carried them by covered wagon at night to Canada.
 
In 1879 the St. Louis, Kansas and Arizona Railroad, now the Missouri Pacific, was built through the town and Greeley began to prosper. A large oil company and a cooperative association which owns a modern electric elevator, a feed store, bulk station, grocery store and cold storage locker are the chief industries here.
 
GREENLEAF (41.8 miles east of Concordia)
 
Two miles south of the present site of this Washington County community, a small town known as Round Grove was started. However, when the Central Branch Union Pacific Railroad (now the Missouri Pacific) laid out the town of Greenleaf, Round Grove was abandoned and all its residents moved to the new town. The settlement, incorporated as a city in 1880, was named for A. W. Greenleaf, treasurer of the railroad.
 
Hatcheries and an elevator supplement the countryside's production of stock, poultry and grain.
 
GYPSUM (7 miles east of Salina)
 
Extensive gypsum deposits in this Saline County area gave the creek and the valley which it traverses the names "Gypsum Creek" and "Gypsum Valley," respectively. So, it was natural that the valley's principal town was called "Gypsum City."
 
An interesting sidelight on the town's founding was that at first the Missouri Pacific Railroad refused to recognize this early town and, it is said, "only after some of the men behind Gypsum City went to Chico, a nearby town, at night and moved the depot to Gypsum City did the railroad agree to make this a station."
 
It was incorporated in 1887 and at the time of the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893 the gypsum mill here shipped about 50 cars a week of this material to eastern points. Many of the World's Fair buildings were constructed of this Kansas gypsum.
 
Gypsum's industries include a flour mill and a sash and door factory. There are stock and grain farms in the countryside.
 
HARDTNER (96 miles southwest of Wichita)
 
Jacob Achenbach organized a town company and named it Hardtner in honor of Dr. John Hardtner of Carrollton, Ill., who was the owner
 
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of disputed territory between Kansas and Oklahoma purchased from the government. Although founded in 1886, the year of railroad construction, Hardtner was not incorporated until 1911.
 
A living memorial to the town's founder is the modern Achenbach Memorial Hospital, constructed at a cost of $125,000 in 1941 in accordance with the pioneer's will. The Barber County Fair is held in the city, which has a public park, swimming pool and a modern hotel. Oil and gas fields are ten miles to the north and west.
 
HARLAN (14 miles northwest of Downs)
 
A farming and cattle-raising community, Harlan was founded in 1877 by John C. White and platted by Bailey and Bradford about 1876. One of the first homesteaders, John C. Harlan, inspired the town's name and he later became the first probate judge of Smith County.
 
HAVEN (32 miles northwest of Wichita)
 
There is no authentic record of the origin of the name of this Reno County town. It was established in 1886 and its promoters are said to have purchased the site from B. W. Dunsworth at a cost of $40 an acre. Shortly afterward a neighboring township post office was moved to the new location. In the same year a company known as the Wichita and Colorado railroad built what is now the Missouri Pacific line running from Wichita to Hutchinson, completing construction into Haven on June 30, 1886.
 
There are oil and gas wells in the vicinity of Haven and the leading agricultural products of the surrounding country include wheat, alfalfa and cattle. A boiler works is the principal local industry.
 
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HAZELTON (79 miles southwest of Wichita)
 
This agricultural community in the southeastern comer of Barber County was named for Reverend and Mrs. J. O. Hazelton. This honor was conferred in recognition and appreciation of their contribution of a 600-pound bell to a local girls' college.
 
HEALY (170 miles west of Salina)
 
Healy, a cattle and wheat-producing settlement in Lane County, grew up following construction of the Missouri Pacific Railroad through western Kansas in 1887. The site was homesteaded by O. H. Healey who gave the settlement his name. Later the second "e" was dropped to make it the present Healy.
 
Wheat grows abundantly in the fertile, flat land immediately surrounding Healy while the rougher country to the north is devoted to cattle grazing.
 
HERINGTON (44 miles east of Salina)
 
In 1880 Monroe D. Herington traded a business block in Bloomington, Ill., for the 1,400-acre Alioth Ranch in Dickinson County, Kansas. Recognizing the possibilities in the new country he platted the town, which still bears his name, in 1884. It was through his efforts too, that the Missouri Pacific and Rock Island railroads were induced to build through the town in 1888. The original ranch house built by the founder stands in the center of the town.
 
Situated in the extreme southeast comer of Dickinson County, Herington is the focal point and trading center for a tri-county area, largely agricultural and producing wheat, corn, oats, feed and dairy products. It is a railroad center of considerable importance with extensive shops and yards.
 
HESSTON (41 miles northwest of Eldorado)
 
Hesston was named after Abraham Hess when established at the time the railroad was built in the late 1880's. Later Mr. Hess provided 80 acres of land on which was built the Hesston Mennonite College. Three elevators, a feed mill and turkey packing plant are located there.
 
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The book The Empire That Missouri Pacific Serves was published in the fifties by the Missouri Pacific and contains permission to reprint all or any portion.
 
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