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The Empire

That Missouri Pacific Serves

MAIZE (10 miles northwest of Wichita)
 
This Sedgwick County community had its beginning shortly after construction of the Missouri Pacific's rail line in 1886. Its name, appropriate for a grain belt town, is the Indian word for corn. Land on which the town was established was donated by Henry Loudenslager. Grain elevators and alfalfa mills are the local industries.
 
MANKATO (36 miles northwest of Concordia)
 
A busy town in a livestock country, Mankato is the county seat of Jewell County, and leads northern Kansas in 4H and Soil Conservation activity. Its name was changed from Jewell Center, to Mankato, at the suggestion of a former county commissioner who originally lived at Mankato, Minnesota.
 
Butter and chicken feed are the principal products of Mankato's local industry.
 
MARIENTHAL (204 miles west of Salina)
 
Back in 1892 a group of Germanic Russians made their way across Kansas to this spot and began to build new homes. Since they had come from Marienthal, Russia, they gave the new American community the same name as that of their home town.
 
Around Marienthal are rich farmlands from which the residents make their living. The town itself serves as a trading center.
 
MARQUETTE (10.7 miles west of Salina)
 
Selection of a mill site on the Smoky River by H. S. Barem in 1873 initiated the founding of this town in the northwest comer of McPherson County. The advantages of the site attracted others and in 1874 a town company was formed. The settlement was named after the founder's home town, Marquette, Michigan.
 
Marquette's early history was typical of the struggle for settlement of the West. Pioneer residents, chiefly Swedish, had to live in dugouts and suffer cold, driving rain. Whirlwinds and tornadoes often swept the
 
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region and in 1874 the first crop was destroyed by grasshoppers. Although discouraged, the settlers had to stay because they had no funds to return east.
 
Gradually, and with the tenacious courage of the people, the settlement took root. Marquette now serves as a grain milling center for one of Kansas' most productive and prosperous farming regions.
 
McCRACKEN (110 miles west of Salina)
 
A pioneer settler who owned the land on which this town is located is memorialized in the name. McCracken's land was purchased by a Chicago company and blocked out in 1887, the same year in which the Missouri Pacific constructed its line through this section of western Kansas.
 
McCracken's chief industries are a farmers' elevator, a mill and a lumber and grain company.
 
McPHERSON (62 miles northwest of Eldorado)
 
Terminus of the Missouri Pacific's branch line that extends northwestward from Eldorado, McPherson was organized as a city on May 28, 1872, and named for a Union Army leader, General James B. McPherson.
 
A progressive city, McPherson has four parks, a large band shell and a modem swimming pool and is the home of McPherson and Central Colleges. Adjacent to productive oil fields it is also the business center for an agricultural region with annual farm products valued at more than $20,000,000. Principal crops of the region are grain, dairy products, poultry and livestock.
 
Local industries in McPherson are headed by oil refineries, flour mills, concrete products plant, poultry packing and cheese-processing establishments.
 
MICHIGAN (33 miles south of Topeka)
 
Market and trading center for a rich farming country along the Missouri Pacific's branch line to Topeka, Michigan was named by its early settlers for their home state, Michigan. The settlement was made shortly after the War Between the States on land that had formerly been an Indian Reservation.
 
MILLER (99 miles east of Salina)
 
In 1882, before the coming of the railroad, a pioneer named Condell bought a large tract of Osage County land and called it the "Condell
 
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Ranch." Two years later the Miller brothers purchased the property and renamed it the "Miller Ranch."
 
In 1886 the Council Grove, Osage City and Ottawa Railway, now the Missouri Pacific, was built through the Miller Ranch and the name "Miller Siding" was given to a side track and stockpen here, The town was laid out in 1910 by the Miller brothers but never incorporated.
 
MORAN (28 miles west of Fort Scott)
 
In Moran, Kansas, construction of the Ft. Scott, Wichita and Western Railroad, now the Missouri Pacific, is credited to the Moran brothers of Chicago. It was for them that the city was named in 1881, the year in which the railroad reached that point, Originally it was Morantown with the contraction becoming effective in 1884.
 
With the founding of the town a depot was erected and it was there union church services were held until the Presbyterian church was organized in 1883. Many things seem to have started in that inaugural year, for the Moran Herald was also founded in 1881
 
MOUNDRIDGE(27.4 miles northwest of Eldorado)
 
This McPherson County community was settled by German Mennonites and called "Christian." In 1886, after the railroad was built, the original town of Christian was moved to higher ground. Some of the residents thought their new location was similar to a mound and wanted to use that name Others thought ridge was a better description of the land contour. Both words were combined in a compromise name.
 
A mill, grain elevator and creamery are the leading industries here.
 
MOUNT HOPE (25 miles northwest of Wichita)
 
This town in the northwest comer of Sedgwick County is said to have been given the name of a church hymn often sung by its early settlers. Industries in this typical southern Kansas wheat belt community include an alfalfa mill, nursery and hatchery.
 
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MUSCOTAH (24 miles west of Atchison)
 
The Indians named it "Muscotah" because it meant "Beautiful Prairie" ... and that's just what this Kansas territory was and is. Residents of Muscotah claim that theirs is the only town in the United States bearing this name. Surrounded by fertile farming country, Muscotah's chief crops are corn, wheat and oats.
 
PIQUA (48 miles west of Fort Scott)
 
This southeastern Kansas community was laid out in 1882 by the real estate firm of Talcott and Bowlus and was named by George A. Bowlus for Piqua, Ohio, his birthplace. It is located in Woodson County in an area largely agricultural but with oil and gas fields that have been producing for over 30 years.
 
PITTSBURG (65 miles northeast of Coffeyville)
 
Unlike the Pennsylvania city for which it was named, Pittsburg in Kansas drops the final "h" from its name. In many other respects, however, it is similar to the city at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, for it is in the midst of a richly producing coal area and is a manufacturing center of consequence in southeastern Kansas.
 
The city was founded by Franklyn Playter, a native of Ontario, Canada, who prospected for coal rather than gold. He found the coal in 1869 but there were no railroads to haul it to market. Playter was not dis- turbed for he knew that sooner or later the railroads would tap the rich field he had discovered and that his town would become an industrial community.
 
With the entry of the railroads Pittsburg started a substantial growth and now is the leading industrial city of southeastern Kansas. Diversified manufacturing, plus an extensive strip coal mining operation make Pittsburg a substantial factor in the state's industrial picture. Coal by-products, clay and foundry products and mining machinery are its principal manufactures. It is also a creamery and meat packing center. The growing importance of the chemical industry and the wealth of raw products in the Pittsburg area make this a city with a most promising future.
 
The Kansas State Teachers College is located in Pittsburg.
 
NEAL (77 miles east of Wichita)
 
This southeastern cattle shipping station was named for an officer of the Missouri Pacific Railroad when the rail line – then called the Fort
 
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Scott, Wichita and Western- was built in about 1882. Cattle shipped north from Texas and New Mexico are fattened for market in this region and substantial quantities are shipped from Neal every year.
 
NEODESHA (33 miles north of Coffeyville)
 
The Osage Indians were logical and apt at naming their settlements when our country was still frontier lands. Here in Kansas they settled along the Fall and Verdigris Rivers and named their village, "Neodesha," which meant "city between two rivers" in the Indian language. Their Chief "Little Bear" was buried west of the present city at a spot called "Little Bear Mound."
 
A thriving community, Neodesha is the home of a large oil company, brick plants, creamery and other industries. Grain, dairy, poultry and stock farms are in the vicinity.
 
NETAWAKA (36 miles west of Atchison)
 
"High-Divide" is one interpretation of what the Indians meant when they gave this Jackson County site the fascinating Indian name, "Netawaka." Another authority declares it means "Fair View."
 
Netawaka is located about three miles south of the Kickapoo Indian Reservation in the heart of a highly productive farming and dairy community. The town was founded during the 1860's but little is known of its early settlers.
 
NEWTON (33 miles northwest of Eldorado)
 
Among the early settlers of this Harvey County rail and industrial center were a number of New Englanders from Newton, Mass., whose loyalty to their old home influenced the naming of their new one. Newton was incorporated as the county seat of Harvey County in 1872.
 
It is interesting to note the first house built in Newton was also successively the first erected in Brookville, Florence and Hutchinson, Kansas.
 
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The enterprising builder. A. F. Hornet, won the prize of a free town lot in each of the four new communities before finally settling his peripatetic house in Hutchinson.
 
Newton lies in the Kansas area settled by Mennonites from Russia who brought with them the precious Turkey Red wheat that had such far- reaching effects on Kansas' agricultural prosperity. They established here the Bethel College which is the oldest and largest Mennonite school in America.
 
Industries devoted to processing the agricultural products of the surrounding area are outstanding in Newton. They include alfalfa mills, a creamery and a hatchery.
 
NICKERSON (58 miles northwest of Wichita)
 
Like many another midwest town, Nickerson came into existence after the arrival of a railroad, in this instance the Santa Fe in 1873. It was named for H. R. Nickerson who was superintendent of the division and shops originally located there. In 1886 the Salina, Sterling and E1 Paso Railroad, a Gould enterprise later absorbed by the Missouri Pacific, was built through the city. In the same year a normal college was constructed, the only state normal school serving central Kansas at the time. After the removal of the railroad shops the college buildings and campus were turned over to the Reno County high schools. Nickerson is in the valley of the Arkansas River and is six miles south of the oil field known as Wherry Pool. It is in a region chiefly agricultural where corn, wheat, alfalfa, and stock are raised.
 
NORWAY (12.4 miles northwest of Concordia)
 
A Norwegian immigrant took possession of this site in 1869, and was soon followed by other Norwegian and Swedish settlers. The post- master called the township "Norway" and it was platted in 1879. It is a progressive community in the Republican River valley surrounded by many acres of productive farm lands. Stock raising and farming are its principal industries.
 
NORWICH (35 miles southwest of Wichita)
 
This Kingman County community was named after the English city of the same name by early settlers who had immigrated from Great Britain. Its population is supported mainly by agriculture. Wheat, kafir corn, oats and livestock are the principal crops.
 
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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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