Missouri Pacific Logo

The Empire

That Missouri Pacific Serves

JAMESTOWN (11 miles west of Concordia)
 
Jamestown was named in honor of James Pomeroy, presumably a pioneer settler. It is the trading center of the surrounding agricultural district in the heart of Cloud County's wheat lands.
 
JEWELL (27 miles northwest of Concordia)
 
Because of Indian uprisings at the time, Jewell was called "Fort Jewell" and was protected by a fort when it was established in 1870. It was named after Jewell County in which it is situated and which had derived its name from Lt. Colonel Lewis R. Jewell of the Sixth Kansas Cavalry during the War Between the States. Originally Jewell was the county seat, but later the seat was moved to Mankato.
 
Living in what is primarily a farming community, Jewell residents raise wheat, corn, alfalfa and livestock.
 
KANOPOLIS (30 miles west and south of Salina)
 
The name of this salt-mining city in Ellsworth County was compounded from the first three letters of the state name, KAN, and the Greek "opolis," for city.
 
Kanopolis grew up about the site of historic old Fort Harker established here in 1867 in the heart of the Indian country. The fort was a starting point for stage lines to Santa Fe and a freighting and supply depot for southern and western forts. Marauding plains tribes kept Fort Harker's garrison in the field almost constantly and here General Phil Sheridan planned his winter campaign of 1868-69 that finally subdued the southern Indians.
 
Salt-mining is the principal industry in Kanopolis and the annual output of its two big mines is approximately 250,000 tons. Southeast of Kanopolis on the Smoky Hill River is the huge Kanopolis Dam and Reservoir, a federal flood control and water conservation project that incidentally has provided the town and surrounding country with an attractive recreation area.
 
120
KANSAS CITY
 
Located at the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers, this eastern Kansas metropolis is the second largest city in the state. Reasons for its growth are apparent when one considers its position with Kansas City, Mo., to the east and in all other directions rich farm lands plus abundant and varied stores of natural resources. Its early development was helped immeasurably by steamboats which were replaced by a network of railroads to enable it and its sister city become the industrial capitals for a vast and rich region.
 
Looking at Kansas City history briefly we find records of Lewis and Clark stopping here on their expedition to the Pacific Coast in 1804 and again on their return voyage two years later. They said "the whole country exhibits a rich appearance...". Twelve years later its site included a reservation given to the Delaware Indians. In 1843, the Wyandot, last of immigrant Indian tribes, came from Sandusky, Ohio, to purchase this land from the Delawares. In that same year they laid out Wyandot City, the start of today's Kansas City, Kan.
 
The Wyandot, a cultured tribe who had intermarried with the whites, improved their little town until it was coveted by the white man as he passed through headed for the California gold fields and other places.
 
The Wyandot were fortunate enough to obtain the rights of citizenship in 1855 and within a short time had disposed of their property to the whites with the option of either becoming wards of the nation or remaining as private citizens.
 
In 1857 the buyers established a post office and the name of the little town, which began to boom, was officially made Wyandotte. Other little towns such as Quindaro, Kansas City, Kan., Riverview, Westport and Armourdale grew up around and one by one became a part of Wyandotte. The name was changed officially to Kansas City in 1886 when it was argued that municipal bonds bearing that name would sell better. So, Kansas City, Kan., the seat of Wyandotte County, has continued to grow both by annexation of other settlements and adding new ones of its own by continued population growth.
 
Railroad facilities it shares with its Missouri sister city make Kansas City one of the nation's outstanding transportation gateways. It enjoys equally high rank among the country's livestock markets and meat packing centers. Other important industries include oil refineries, smelters, canning plants, flour and grain mills and the manufacture of structural steel, cement, fiber boxes, creamery products, brick and tile.
 
Distinctive points of interest include the Indian Cemetery, Municipal Rose Garden, the Old Water Tower and the "Panoramic View" from the end of the Missouri Pacific Bridge overlooking Kaw Point, where
 
121
 
Lewis and Clark landed, and the vast development of the whole area. Notable annual events are the Kansas Day celebration on January 29; Music Week, immediately following Easter; Mexican fiestas in May and September and the Wyandotte Garden Club Flower Show in May.
 
KINGMAN (38 miles southwest of Hutchinson)
 
Kingman, on the Conway Springs-Larned branch of the Missouri Pacific Lines, was started in 1874 when the county was organized and named for Judge Samuel A. Kingman. It was chosen county seat of Kingman County, although unorganized until incorporated as a third class city on Aug. 14, 1883. Principal industries are automobile repair, distribution of farm equipment and flour milling.
 
KIOWA (86 miles southwest of Wichita)
 
When the first white settlers reached the vicinity of this Barber County community they established a camp a few miles from a Kiowa Indian medicine tepee. In 1878 a townsite was marked out and the Indian name adopted. With the arrival of its first railroad Kiowa became a large shipping point for cattle, later supplanted in importance by wheat. Kiowa is reputed to be the locale of one of the first raids by ax-wielding, saloon-smashing Carrie Nation.
 
KIRWIN (87 miles northwest of Concordia)
 
Ideally situated on the north side of the Solomon River, with fertile bottom lands affording a rich farm country, Kirwin was founded in 1871. Originally called "Benton," its name was changed to Kirwin, inspired by Fort Kirwin, a mile south of the town, which was the old stockade where early pioneers sought protection from Indian raids.
 
The United States Government deeded 640 acres to the town's organization and with the construction of the Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1879 it became a busy trading point for the farmers who lived in the area.
 
122
LA CROSSE (95 miles west of Salina)
 
The county seat of Rush County, La Crosse was named by early settlers who came here from La Crosse, Wisconsin. It is the shipping point for a prosperous farming community that produces an average of 2,500,000 bushels of wheat annually, in addition to livestock, poultry and dairy products. Oil and gas wells nearby also are important economic factors. Local industries include a machine shop and grain elevator.
 
LA HARPE (35 miles west of Fort Scott)
 
Had it not been for the visit of a salesman from the East, La Harpe might not have been so named. In 1897, when the town was being incorporated, the visitor suggested the present name after a city of the same name in Illinois. If other factors were involved in the selection they have not been recorded, but the salesman sold his idea.
 
Smelting plants and other industries that developed following construction of the Missouri Pacific Railroad through here in 1881 were later moved and La Harpe is now primarily an agricultural community.
 
LANE (68 miles southwest of Kansas City)
 
This town in southeast Franklin County was named in honor of the Free-State leader and later U. S. Senator, James H. Lane.
 
Two brothers, William and Henry Sherman, came to this section of Kansas from Oldenburg, Germany, in the 1840's. They did a profitable trading business with pioneers and Indians and raised many cattle on the adjoining prairies.
 
When slavery became a big issue in the Kansas Territory in the 1850's, the Sherman brothers joined the pro-slavery faction and were killed during one of the many battles between the two groups in 1856. With the founders gone, interest died in the new town.
 
Later another town was plotted and called Emerson. When the Missouri Pacific built through the site it was named Avondale. Finally the townspeople and the railroad compromised on the name "Lane," honoring the Free State leader.
 
LANGLEY (18 miles west of Salina)
 
No reliable information is available as to the naming of this Ellsworth County community near the huge Kanopolis Dam and Reservoir. Langley was established in 1886 during the time when the present Missouri Pacific main line was being constructed across Kansas. In its early
 
123
 
days it was a cattle shipping point of some importance. It served as the Missouri Pacific rail-head for the Kanopolis Dam project and should experience increased business activity with the development of plans for a recreation area around the lake.
 
LARNED (72 miles west of Hutchinson)
 
County seat of Pawnee County and terminus of the Missouri Pacific's Larned branch, this historically interesting community was named after Fort Larned which had been established 12 miles west of the present city in 1859 and named in honor of Col. B. F. Larned. In 1872 the new settlement's first building, a frame structure that later housed a saloon, was moved from the old fort, floating on Pawnee Creek that flows into the Arkansas River at the site of Larned.
 
Wheat, alfalfa and sugar beets are the principal crops of the surrounding area while Larned's local industries include a hay rake factory, flour mill and cheese processing plant.
 
A point of interest at the edge of the city is the "Old Indian Battleground," where Pawnee and invading Cheyenne Indians fought a fierce battle in 1860. The Larned State Hospital for mental patients is four miles to the west.
 
LAYTON (51 miles west of Coffeyville)
 
A cattle-shipping station on the Missouri Pacific Railroad, Layton was moved in 1943 from its original site at Wauneta to its present location in order to be close to the stockyards. Its name was derived from Layton Brothers, a local firm that ships a large number of cattle from here.
 
LEAVENWORTH (28 miles northwest of Kansas City)
 
On May 8, 1827, General Henry Leavenworth founded Fort Leaven- worth on the west bank of the Missouri River. The settlement that grew up around and to the south of the Fort became the present city of
 
124
Leavenworth which was incorporated as the first city in the newly established Kansas Territory in 1854.
 
Because of its proximity to Fort Leavenworth the city owed its early development to the business of outfitting emigrant parties headed for the west and southwest. Its early history is filled too with incidents in the bitter struggle between pro-slavery and free-state forces. By the time of the War Between the States, however, it had become strongly northern in its sympathies and supported the Union with troops.
 
Best known nationally because of the neighboring federal institutions – Fort Leavenworth and the Federal Penitentiary, Leavenworth is an industrial and transportation center important in its own right. It is the county seat of Leavenworth County where farm products and dairying are the major sources of income.
 
Excellent transportation provided by five major railroads attracted many industries to Leavenworth. Its principal manufactures include mill and mill machinery, bridge and structural steel, machinery, flour, feed products, mattresses, sashes and doors, woodwork, furniture, clothing, marine products and equipment, uniforms and canvas goods.
 
LENORA (138 miles west of Concordia)
 
Westernmost station on the Missouri Pacific's Northern Kansas division, this Norton County community is a shipping center for the surrounding farmlands where the principal crops are wheat, corn and alfalfa.
 
Records indicate Lenora had its origin in 1873 when several men met in a log hut owned by a Mr. Sedaris and organized a town company. The unimpressive structure, about two miles west of the present site of Lenora, was then dignified with the name "Spring City."
 
A reorganized town company later applied for a post office and when this was granted the government named the office "Lenora." Reports as to the origin of this name vary. Some state it was inspired by that of the only white woman then living west of Kirwin on the Solomon River. Another claim is the name was that of the "first little white girl born here." Others insisted the "government just 'picked' the name."
 
Some of the town's people preferred the original "Spring City" title and a bitter controversy ensued that resulted in abolishment of the post office in 1874. It was re-established a month later as "Lenora." In 1876 a group from the Spring City site moved to the new townsite and, seemingly, accepted the name along with their new homes.
 
LEOTI (190 miles east of Pueblo, Colo.)
 
According to Indian legend, Leoti means "Prairie Flower" yet this Kansas town was referred to in the early days as "The Prairie Queen." Said
 
125
 
to be the oldest town in Wichita County, Leoti was named by the townsite company when it was founded in 1885.
 
At that time Leoti was over 30 miles from any railroad and it wasn't until 1887 that the Missouri Pacific was run through this section of western Kansas territory. Today it ships grain, dairy products, stock, poultry, wheat, barley and corn from the surrounding farms.
 
LE ROY (87 miles northeast of Coffeyville)
 
Originally known as "Scott's Town," Le Roy was established by John B. Scott and his brother-in-law, Frederick Troxel. The latter was the first known white inhabitant of the present Coffey County. In 1854 he built a log cabin in the woods just south of the present town and brought his family here. His wife was the sister of John B. Scott, for whom the town first was named.
 
Later Thomas Crabtree bought the Troxel interest in the townsite and when Richard Burr returned from the California gold fields in 1856 he bought a third interest in the company, then known as the Le Roy Town Company. Records do not indicate just why the name was changed to Le Roy but one logical theory is that it was in tribute to Le Roy, Illinois, former home of the founders. In any event, the city was incorporated in 1865.
 
Farming and livestock raising are the chief industries here.
 
LINDSBORG (20 miles south of Salina)
 
The first syllable in the names of the three men active in founding this Swedish settlement in McPherson County in 1869. The three pioneers thus honored were S. A. Lindell, S. P. Lindgren and D. Lindahl.
 
Flour mills and a large machine shop are the principal industries of Lindsborg which is surrounded by grain and stock-farming country. The city is perhaps best known for the famed "Messiah Chorus" of its Bethany College which has presented Handel's great oratorio, "The Messiah," annually since 1882.
 
126
LINN (34 miles east of Concordia)
 
When the Missouri Pacific Railroad reached this Kansas site it was found to be the highest point in Washington County. So it was called "Summit" with a box car for a station. When more settlers arrived and clamored for a post office they were told by authorities that the name of the village would have to be changed because of similar names in the state.
 
In 1880 a meeting was held in the box car, and the simple name of Linn was chosen. Unfortunately, no records were kept that would explain the selection. Linn is in the heart of the wheat and dairy country and is widely known for its egg packing plant and creamery which ships its products to far distant markets.
 
LOGAN (113 miles north and west of Concordia)
 
Early settlers of this Phillips County community were Union veterans of the War Between the States and honored their former commander, General John A. Logan, by naming their new home for him.
 
Centered in an agricultural community Logan has a farm machinery manufacturing plant.
 
LYNDON (99.6 miles west of Kansas City)
 
The county seat of Osage County was named for a man named Lyndon, largest landowner of the vicinity at the time the town was settled. Lyndon is a shipping point for the grain and livestock produced in the surrounding area and its local industries include candy, broom and rug factories.
 
LYONS (75 miles northwest of Wichita)
 
This central Kansas city was named after Truman J. Lyon who donated the land on which the city was established in 1876. For those who think that all of Kansas is flat and at sea level it should be noted that Lyons is on a table of land 1684 feet high. With pride civic leaders say their water supply, which comes from the undertow of the Arkansas River, is 99 per cent pure.
 
The city is located in the area which once was the home of the Wichita Indians. Remaining evidence indicates they carried on trade and commerce from a site four miles west of Lyons. Lore of the past has been preserved in a museum of Indian relics in the lobby of the courthouse. Salt, wheat and oil nourish industries and support trade.
 
Paul Jones, a Lyons newspaper publisher, has written two books, "Quivara" and "Coronado and Quivara" to advance the theory that the fabled, ancient city sought by Coronado in 1541 centered about the present site of Lyons.
 
127
 
Previous · Index · Next
   
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.
 
Blue Skyways   Visit the Home Page for Kansas
  A service of the Kansas State Library

Page © Copyright 2000
Bob Walter  

Kansas on the Net