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The Empire

That Missouri Pacific Serves

BENTON (16 miles east of Wichita}
 
Settled in 1884 though not incorporated until 1908, Benton was named for Benton Murdock, a pioneer and prominent settler of Butler County. It is a shipping point now for the surrounding area devoted to diversified farming.
 
BIGELOW (85 miles west of Atchison)
 
Older residents claimed that this Marshall County community was named for one of its early citizens, George Bigelow. Limestone quarrying and farming are the principal industries of Marshall County for which Bigelow is a shipping point.
 
BISON (89 miles west of Salina)
 
"Buffalo" was the name first chosen for this Rush County community in 1888. However, there was already a town of that name so this one was renamed. Grain elevators are, typically, the principal industries of this wheat-belt town.
 
BLOOMINGTON (68 miles west of Concordia)
 
The beautiful setting of its site on the south branch of the Solomon River suggested a name for this farming village – "blooming valley," and newcomers named the settlement "Bloomington."
 
Located in Osborne County, Bloomington is a grain-shipping station on the Missouri Pacific line between Downs and Stockton.
 
BLUE RAPIDS (95 miles west of Atchison)
 
Industrial-minded pioneers from Genesee County, New York, sought a location which afforded water power when they settled in Marshall County, Kansas. They found the spot and their new town's name where the Blue River flowed through a series of rapids. Here they laid out their town, Blue Rapids, and constructed a dam across the river.
 
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A woolen mill, a flour mill, a foundry and other factories were built here by these early settlers. Later an excellent grade of gypsum rock was found in the hills and a plaster-manufacturing industry developed is still in successful operation. Today's list of industries reads much the same with the additions of flour and lumber mills, bottling works and nursery. Building stone quarries and sand pits aide nearby. Corn and wheat are the main crops grown on farms in the community.
 
BRAINERD (17 miles northwest of El Dorado)
 
Brainerd was founded in 1885 by E. B. Brainerd who didn't get his original wish to name the place Montrose after a city in New York because the post office department said there already was a Montrose in Kansas. On the basis of that ruling he agreed to using his name. On the El Dorado-McPherson branch of the Missouri Pacific Lines, Brainerd is in a noted cattle feeding region. Growers from the area have captured several first prizes on fat cattle at Kansas City.
 
BRONSON (23 miles west of Ft. Scott)
 
This is a typical Kansas town surrounded by a farming community. It was incorporated in 1887, six years after it had been reached by the Missouri Pacific Lines. The name pays tribute to Ira Bronson, a Fort Scott attorney who worked hard to have the railroad routed as it was.
 
A hatchery is one of Bronson's industries and the farm produce shipped from here includes grain, poultry, stock and dairy items.
 
BROWNELL (126 miles west of Salina)
 
Laid out by the Memphis and Denver Town Co., Brownell was named for a railroad attorney. The Missouri Pacific Railroad reached here in 1887 and since that time has served the area, shipping the products- principally grain- of the surrounding farmlands.
 
BUCYRUS (37 miles southwest of Kansas City)
 
"Grand Scene" was the descriptive name chosen for this settlement in Miami County when the pioneers built the first homes here. However, when the Missouri Pacific Railroad was built through here in 1886 it was found that another Kansas town had the same name. A contractor who had come from Bucyrus, Ohio, suggested the new Kansas town be called Bucyrus.
 
BUFFALO (56.6 miles north of Coffeyville)
 
Many years ago a creek which runs just west of this town's present site was the watering spot of hundreds of wild buffalo. Early settlers, impressed by the scene of the buffalo drinking there, called their new
 
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village "Buffalo" after their familiar name for the stream- Buffalo Creek.
 
A manufacturer of clay products and a storage plant are the industries in Buffalo which adjoins Wilson County oil and gas fields.
 
BURR OAK (44 miles northwest of Concordia)
 
James McCormick gave the name "Burr Oak," suggested by that of a nearby creek, to the post office which was established here in 1870. McCormick was the second settler, arriving soon after A. J. Godfrey who was named Postmaster.
 
This area was then part of White Rock Township, one of the five original divisions of Jewell County. The creek was known as Burr Oak because of the many oak trees along its bank.
 
The feed mill located here finds ample raw material in the grains raised on neighboring farms. Burr Oak is also the shipping point for the agricultural products of the area.
 
BUSHONG (84 miles east of Salina)
 
"Believe it or not," a succession of Kansas railroad stations were named by a construction contractor after players on the famous St. Louis "Browns," championship baseball team of the 1880's. Each was a station on the Missouri Pacific and one of them was named for "Doc" Bushong, catcher of the team.
 
Here is the line-up that inspired the names of these Kansas towns: first base, Manager Charles Comiskey; second base, Yank Robinson; third base, Arlie Latham; shortstop, Bill Gleason; outfielder, Tip O'Neil; outfielder, Tommy McCarthy; catchers, "Doc" Bushong, Jack Boyle and Jack Milligan; pitchers, Bob Carruthers, Silver King, Dave Fouts, Elton Chamberlain and Nat Hudson.
 
A farming and stock-raising community, Bushong is the trading center for the Lyon County agricultural area surrounding it.
 
BUSHTON (42.6 miles west of Salina)
 
A Missouri Pacific Railroad station was the nucleus of this Kansas town just as it was for many others. When the railroad was built through here in 1886, a name was sought for the new town. An attractive row of
 
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hedge bushes that extended from one end of the original site to the other inspired the name, "Bushton."
 
A grain and lumber company are the leading industries here and wheat is the main crop of the countryside which, ironically, is Rice County. There also are oilwells in the vicinity.
 
CANEY (19 miles west of Coffeyville)
 
Back in frontier days canebrakes lined the Caney River Valley. These versatile stalks were used by the Indians for a variety of needs including fishing poles. A trading post was established a few miles south of the present town and took its name, "Caneyville," from these cane stalks. The settlers later moved to the present site of Caney and dropped the last part of the original name.
 
This Montgomery County town manufactures bottles and iodine products. Its nearby farms raise corn, oats, wheat and livestock. Oil and gas wells and shale pits are located nearby.
 
CARLTON (24 miles east of Salina)
 
This town is said to have been named after a blacksmith who operated a nearby post office when Carlton was founded. In its pioneer days the site was a stopover point for cattle being driven from Texas for shipment from the railhead at Abilene, Kansas. Situated in an area of good farming and pastureland Carlton now is a shipping point for livestock and other agricultural produce.
 
CARONA (52 miles east of Coffeyville)
 
Originally this community was called Folsom though no one seems to know why. In 1907 growing pains developed with the development of the coal mining industry and civic pride demanded a post office. However, postal authorities found another town named Folsom in the state and it became necessary to pick a new name for the desired post office and Carona was selected.
 
There is some doubt as to the origin of the new name. One school of thought holds that it was derived from the fact that the town is located on the highest point in the vicinity. Another–and probably more nearly correct explanation–is that the name was supposed to be "Carbona," with the first syllable denoting the coal industry in the area, but somewhere along the line the "b" was dropped.
 
CAWKER CITY (47.5 miles west of Concordia)
 
He played for high stakes and won the chance to give his name to the town! Back in the days of rugged pioneers four men homesteaded the land which is now the business section of this Mitchell County, Kansas,
 
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town. An argument arose between them, so the story goes, about who would name the town. Gamblers all, they decided to play a game of poker and the winner would name the town. An exciting game it was and a man named Cawker won... and "Cawker" the town became. Later "City" was added to the name.
 
With the building of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, the population of the town increased greatly, and shipping of the farm products became a major industry here. These crops now include grain, stock and poultry. Cawker City also manufactures extension feeders.
 
CEDAR (77.6 miles northwest of Concordia)
 
So named because the hills and creek north of the town site were covered with lovely cedar trees, Cedarville was founded in 1871. Then in 1889, because of a similarity between its name and that of Cedarvale, the name was shortened to its present form, Cedar.
 
In 1881 a shipping association was formed to aid the farmers in marketing their livestock and grain.., and is still operating. Grain shipping and a rock quarry, which sends rock to be used in the manufacture of paint to various parts of the United States, are the principal industries.
 
CEDAR VALE (57.6 miles west of Coffeyville)
 
Hardy pioneers, looking for a townsite, were impressed by two things when they arrived here- the elevated land overlooking two valleys plus the stately cedar trees growing on the bluffs of the creek, since named Cedar Creek. Accordingly, this vale and the cedars were the inspiration for the town name Cedar Vale.
 
Although farming and cattle raising are the major industries of this peaceful Kansas town, it is also known for its surgical instrument manufacture. It is located in Chautauqua County where the main crops are wheat, corn and kafir corn.
 
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CENTRALIA (62 miles west of Atchison)
 
When two of the founders of this town found they were from towns with the same name, Centralia- one was from Illinois, the other, Pennsylvania- they couldn't resist naming this new settlement Centralia too.
 
Farm machinery is manufactured here, a convenience for farmers on the surrounding lands. A cheese processing plant uses local dairy products. Corn, wheat and alfalfa are the main crops of the diversified farming operations here.
 
CHETOPA (30.5 miles east of Coffeyville)
 
Old Osage Indian Chief Chetopa was a friendly fellow who believed in polygamy and he was aptly named! In the Osage tongue "Che Topa" means "four lodges" and the Chief gained the title because he had built a separate lodge for each of his four wives.
 
In 1857, when a group of westward travelers crossed the Neosho River at Rocky Ford and decided to establish a town, they called it "Chetopa" in honor of the friendly chief whose tribe lived close by.
 
During the War Between the States Federal troops burned and sacked the town in 1863 but the early settlers, who were a hardy lot, rebuilt it and in March, 1868, Chetopa was incorporated as a town.
 
Chetopa is at the hub of a rich farming area producing grain, livestock, poultry and dairy products and, according to recent surveys, there are deposits of coal, gas, oil and metallic ores in the vicinity. Local industries include a woodworking factory.
 
CLAFLIN (50 miles west of Salina)
 
In 1887 the first railroad was built through here. It was the Kansas and Pacific Railroad, now the Missouri Pacific, which stimulated the growth of the settlement then called "Gulls City," named for an elderly woman who lived here and bought stock in the railroad.
 
In 1888 three men had the town surveyed. They were O. P. Hamilton, a surveyor from Salina, Kansas; J. H. Cannon of Missouri, and Steve Dupree, a Frenchman from Illinois. The town was named after Hamilton's wife whose maiden name was Claflin.
 
In the heart of the Barton County oil fields, Claflin counts oil as one of its leading industries. Flour mills in the town and farming in the nearby areas also provide good incomes for the residents. Clay deposits north of the town are excellent for pottery making.
 
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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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