Peoples State Bank.
J. N. Bolton.
W. F. Kahle.
Star Mercantile Co.
Mrs. Dollie Houghton.
L. E. Paetke.
Altavista is a very active, enterprising town of almost five hundred people, on the Main line of the Rock Island. It is situated in the southwest corner of Wabaunsee County, just at the junction of three counties, and draws a large amount of trade from each, there being no other town of importance between Alma and Herington. Besides the town trade, Altavista has a steady trade of about 560 country families. To the South and West is a vast area of level farming lands. The increasing prosperity of the farmers has caused the population and business of Altavista to double within the last four years. The town is booming, but the boom has the firm reliable backing of a rapidly developing farming community to sustain it.
The earliest account obtainable concerning Altavista is the establishment of the town in 1886. The surrounding territory must have been settled many years before, but no account of it was ever learned.
Matt Thompson says that Pike was laid out in October, 1886, by W. D. Deans; that shortly after the name was changed to Cable City, and in March, 1887, changed again to Altavista. In an old 1887 map, the name appears as Cable City. The account obtained from citizens of Altavista is to the effect that the town was laid out by C. Langvart, who sold lots enough to start in the stock business and thus become wealthy. P. Hawes had previously homesteaded a piece of land which is now the part of the townsite, from the depot south. Geo. Wolff had homesteaded what is now north part of town.
The town was laid out in 1886 and building began in the winter of '89.
A party by the name of Messenber built the first building. Steve Hoog, Gantz Brothers, and Sattell were some of the first people to build and start in business. Mr. Kahle, who has a general store at the present time, did the carpenter work on many of the early buildings. L. J. Woodward, Richardson & Fisher, and the firm of Kistler and Arndt are also among the pioneer business men of Alavista. M. L. Hull was the pioneer lumberman. He was bought out a few years ago by Wm. Wolgast.
There is an old landmark not far from Altavista, in the shape of a stone fort, built on the farm of August Wolgast in 1864 in anticipation of a raid from the Kaw reservation. Sixty-four was a very anxious time on the border. The Kiowas and Cheyennes were on the warpath and the restlessness of the Kaws caused much apprehension among the whites. In the same year the settlers of Harveyville "hid out" in the cornfields for fear of an Indian outbreak. However, the Kaws stayed at home and the strong stone fort was not needed. It is quite a curiosity today.
There is an old proverb, "Happy is the nation that has no history." Applying that to the towns in Wabaunsee County, Altavista is a happy place indeed, for we were able to gather very little, except that the little town has always been prosperous. There was no stories of hard times, as was heard from the earlier settled places. This may be because the town did not appear on the map until after the "big drowth" and the two grasshopper years were over. There is a tradition that Altavista was struck by a cyclone about two years ago. If it was, the town certainly does not look it now. It is all together again and steaming away at a rate that looks like business. There are no vacant store rooms or dwellings to be found. Neither are there any idle men. The railroad rock crusher gives steady employment to a large number of hands.
Cream is an important product, and the weekly shipment averages one thousand pounds a week.
Corn is the principal grain, although all grains are raised to some extent. Hogs and cattle are raised in large herds, There are five men near Altavista engaged in breeding registered stock. Cattle feeding on the hills north and east is quite extensive. This is one of the principal points in the county where Texas cattle are unloaded for pasturage. This territory, is well watered and especially adopted for stock-raising.
As its name indicates, Altavista is built on a high location. From a hill a short distance away Alma and other distant points can be seen very distinctly.
Altavista State BankAltavista, Kans.
Capital and Surplus,
A. H. MESEKE,
J. N. BoltonAltavista, Kans
Dry Goods, Ladies' and
"Black Cat" Hosiery.
Shoes for Men and
Staple and Fancy Groceries.
This bank owns its own building, as shown in cut, and is absolutely protected
against fire, etc. As the name indicates, this bank was created "by the
people for the people." The stockholders consist of the best and most
wealthy people in the community, aggregating a value of over one-fourth million
dollars, thus making it one of the most safe and substantial institutions. When
in our city make this your headquarters; we will treat you honorably as well as
honestly. We respectfully solicit your patronage.
Andrew Brothers, who maintain a well-kept livery, a dray and transfer, are new men in Altavista, having bought out the old-established business of A. P. McLain about a year ago, which consisted of seventeen head of fine horses. Several carriages and wagons are a part of the equipment, and are kept constantly in good order.
Among the people who figure in the building of a town is the man who furnishes the wherewithal to build. Mr. William Wolgast, who went into the lumber business in 1902 has furnished most of the lumber used. In 1904 he bought out M. L. Hull & Son, pioneer lumberman of Altavista. Having the two yards, Mr. Wolgast was then well equipped to handle all the lumber the town needs. In 1905 Herman Wolgast, brother of the lumberman, bought a half interest in the lumber yards and the business has since been conducted under the name of the Wolgast Lumber Co. The bulk of the lumber handled is yellow pine from Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana. Most of the finish is bought in Oregon. The trade is in Altavista and tributary country.
W. H. H. Smith, M. D.
W. H. H. Smith, M. D., and a registered druggist, of Altavista, Kansas, was born at Jerseyville, Illinois, April 6, 1858, and came to Kansas in 1890, beginning the practise of medicine at Eureka, but came to Altavista in 1897, succeeding Dr. E. W. Eldridge in the practise of medicine and the drug business. By hard work and close attention to business the doctor has built an enviable reputation as a physician, besides making his drugstore the most attractive and complete of any in the county. The doctor will soon retire from active practise of his profession and take life easy at his country home, one of the most beautiful quarter sections in Wabaunsee County, just four miles east of town.
Dr. W. H. H. Smith was graduated from the University of Valparaiso, Indiana, taught school twelve years, the last five years of which time be was State Teachers' Institute instructor; attended the Missouri Medical College one year, was graduated from the Northwestern Medical College, St. Joseph, Mo., 1890; was married to Maria Rhodes, of Effingham, Ill., February 22d, 1882, four children being born to this union - Grover Eugene, graduate of the pharmacy department of the University of Valparaiso, in 1906, now has a position in the laboratory department of the Smith Drug Company, Salt Lake City, Utah; Herman, 19 years of age, and a student of the State University of Lawrence; and Dewey and Wm. H. H., two youngest of the four children.
A. H. Meseke
Among the young men whose enterprise is giving Altavista new life and impulse is A. H. Meseke. He is the son of Herman and Caroline Meseke and was born in Wabaunsee County, April 18th, 1879. He attended common school at Templin and at the age of 13 entered the Salina University, where he completed the commercial course in 1895. He entered the Alma State Bank (now the Alma National Bank), at Alma, Kansas, as bookkeeper and was later elected Assistant Cashier. In 1900, A. H. Meseke, with others, organized the Altavista State Bank at Altavista and opened a real estate office. January, 1905, he was elected President of the Altavista State Bank. September, 1904, he was married to Miss Lillian E. Simon, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. C. Simon, of Alma, Kansas.
Probably the most important factors in the development of a town are the men who started in business with the town and stayed with iit[sic] through good and bad. Such a business is the Hardware Store of Kistler & Arndt, which started the same year Altavista was established, under the name of J. B. Kistler, J. S. Kistler owning an interest in it. The business prospered with the town and under careful management has greatly enlarged. In 1906 the interest owned by J. B. Kistler was bought by J. S. Kistler and Herman Arndt and the firm name became Kistler & Arndt. This store handles the latest and most up-to-date appliances in farm machinery and tools as well as the usual hardware stock.
Union Thomas entered business in Altavista in 1888. Sold meat in connection with restaurant. Closed restaurant business in 1890 and continued meat market. In 1897 Mr. Thomas dug an ice-pond north of town, from which he gets not only his own supply of ice, but also supplies his customers. The ice from this pond is pure as well water.
We have been requested to mention Miss Addis, of Topeka, Kansas, in this book. She is the only lady jeweler in this part of the country and her place of business has won fame on account of having a contract for many of the precious articles which have so recently taken an advance. This is the one reason why she has been credited with the extreme amount of sales, of which a large portion has gone into the new homes in Wabaunsee County. She invites everyone to make her place of business (817 Kansas Avenue) their headquarters while in the City. She handles very rich cut glass, hand-painted china, watches, clocks, diamonds, silverware, latest novelties and souvenirs. Wedding-rings are made to order. Courteous treatment is said to be the pride of this house. Miss Addis prides herself in having the finest line of Christmas presents in the city. A lady jeweler is not often herd of and should be encouraged. Expert repair department. Old jewelry made new.
Transcribed from Business directory and history of Wabaunsee County pub. by The Kansas directory company of Topeka, Kansas, 1907. 104 p. illus. (incl. ports.) 21 cm. Advertising matter interspersed.
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