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The Empire

That Missouri Pacific Serves

ADMIRE (93 miles east of Salina)
Available information indicates the establishment of this Lyon County community was attended by a dispute between two sections of Waterloo township over location of the then new Missouri Pacific Railroad, built through here in 1886. How the issue was decided is not quite clear but three leaders of the successful group finally were permitted to buy land for a station and townsite and give it a name.
One of the men was Jacob Admire, in whose honor the village was called "Admire City." Later the name was shortened to "Admire."
It is one of north Lyon County's important trading centers today and a busy shipping point on the Missouri Pacific.
ALICEVILLE (90 miles north of Coffeyville)
John David Hawes, a Missouri Pacific Railroad conductor, settled in this section of Kansas when it was still a frontier. Here, with his wife, Frances Melissa and his daughter, Alice, Hawes began to build a town beside the railroad which was constructed in 1879. He prospered in the hay business here and honored his small daughter, Alice, by naming the new town "Aliceville" after her when it was founded in 1882.
ALLEN (89 miles east of Salina)
Begun by a gunsmith who served the Indians, Allen, Kansas, now is one of the leading cattle shipping stations on the Missouri Pacific in Kansas. Back in the same year Abe Lincoln was elected to Congress from Illinois Charles Withington, a gunsmith, was serving the Sac and Fox Indians in the Kansas territory. Some years later he was made Postmaster of Lyon County's first post office called "Allen" where the Sante Fe Trail crossed the 142 creek.
In 1886, when the Missouri Pacific was pushing its way across Kansas, Allen sought a station from which to ship the cattle from this area. When the railroad agreed to stop but could not swing north of its proposed stop Allen residents abandoned its original historic site and moved about three and a half miles south to the railroad.
Located at the funnel spout at the edge of the Flint Hills, the little town has been the first step to market for the ranchers here and a sup- ply point and banking center for farmers. Its industries include a feed mill. Surrounding it are grain, stock, poultry and dairy farms, producing corn, wheat, oats, cattle and hogs.
ALTON (77 miles west of Concordia)
Two friends left their New York home and started westward in search of new homes. When they finally reached Crooked Creek, now known as Solomon River, east of the present site of Alton, Kansas, they agreed that this was the place they were looking for. One, General Hiram C. Bull, a merchant, built a log store which gained fame in this territory. In 1871 a post office was established and was known as Bull's City, with General Bull as Postmaster. An amusing sidelight is that in the first years, since few letters were sent from or received at this village, Mrs. Bull wrote the letters required to keep the post office.
In 1885, through a ruse employing false petitions, the name of the town was changed from Bull's City to Alton. Prior to this in 1880, on New Year's Day, the first train (Missouri Pacific) arrived in Bull's City–an event which aided the town in its growth.
As the community grew, it became one of the most enterprising trading spots of Kansas. It is the principal shipping point for northwest Osborne County.
ALTOONA (40 miles north of Coffeyville)
Altoona takes pride in being one of the few towns of comparable population to have a weekly newspaper... the Altoona Tribune. It has gained local fame too through the fictitious characters, Mace Liverworst and Kate Bender, created by this paper's able editor, Austin Butcher.
Settled in 1866 by Thomas Geddes, Altoona was first called "Geddesburg" in tribute to its founder. In 1869 two brothers, John and Isaac Spencer, came here and built a saw mill which did a flourishing business. At the same time the Altoona Town Company was organized with Dr. T. F. C. Todd as president. The Spencer brothers and William Vernum gave the Town Company the present site and in 1870 named it "Altoona" in memory of the Spencer's first home, Altoona, Pa. At an attractive location for fishing and boating on the Verdigris River,
Altoona is centered in a rich agricultural region. The Neodesha Bank serves the farmers of the countryside who raise corn, wheat, oats and flax. Oil wells have been drilled in the vicinity too.
ANDALE (19 miles northwest of Wichita)
Founders of this Sedgwick County community were named Anderson and Dale and the two names were combined to form the "Andale." At one time, prior to the long dry era in Kansas, Andale was a distilling center but now serves primarily as a shipping point for grain and other products of the surrounding area.
ANSON (34 miles south of Wichita)
In the days before the first railroad Anson Wallace settled in this Kansas territory which was wild country then. Since he owned the land on which the town was laid out it was named "Anson" in 1886.
Anson is shipping point for the wheat and flax grown by the farmers who till the fertile Sumner County soil here.
ARGONIA (40 miles southwest of Wichita)
There are several interesting items in the historical background of this Sumner County community which claims to be the only town named Argonia in the United States. A young lawyer with a deep interest in Greek mythology is said to have selected the name from the story of "Jason and the Golden Fleece."
The first child born in Argonia was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. L. A. Salter who settled in the town in 1882. When the first election was held there in 1887 Mrs. Salter, an avid temperance worker, was nominated for the office of mayor. The nomination was intended as a joke to embarrass Mrs. Salter but it backfired for she was elected and, according to Kansas Historical Society records, became the first woman mayor in the United States.
A hatchery is prominent among the industries in Argonia which is situated in the southern Kansas wheat belt.
ARKANSAS CITY (99 miles west of Coffeyville)
Located at the confluence of the Arkansas and Walnut Rivers, Arkansas City has had four names since its founding in the 1870's: Walnut City, Delphi, Creswell and the present name. Origins of the various and successive names are obscure but it seems logical to assume the first and the present names derived from the two adjoining rivers.
In its early days Arkansas City was a frontier town surrounded by hostile Indians but seems to have suffered no harmful consequences. Peaceful descendants of the redskin neighbors are often in evidence on the streets and in the shops of the city. Arkansas City enjoyed a steamboating era, a gold rush boom of short duration in the 1880's and a land boom in the next decade when the Cherokee lands in Oklahoma Territory were opened for homesteading.
There is little evidence of its colorful early history in present-day Arkansas City, a substantial and prosperous shipping, refining and market center. Its industries include oil refineries, flour mills, meat packing plants, railroad shops. Oil fields to the north, east and south account for long lines of tank cars and shipments of oil machinery and pipe frequently seen on the railroads. Grain and alfalfa are two of the leading agricultural crops of the vicinity.
Points of interest include the high bluff at the east end of Madison Avenue, a camping place for "Buffalo Bill" Cody and the Natural Bridge at the base of the bluff that bears "Buffalo Bill's" initials carved there in 1869. A colorful Hallowe'en celebration, the Arkalallah Festival, is sponsored annually by Arkansas City businessmen.
ARMA (23 miles south of Ft. Scott)
Southeastern Kansas is an area in which coal is found in abundance and the town of Arma, in Crawford County, is one of the places where it is mined and loaded for transportation to market. The town once went under the name of Rust but Arma Post, who had extensive coal operations in the immediate vicinity, prevailed on the postal authorities and the national geographic board to change the name from the original designation–which seemed to connote decay–to its present one.
Besides shipping coal, Arma distributes the products of the nearby dairy, stock, poultry and grain farms.
ARNOLD (139 miles west of Salina)
A comparatively new town founded in 1902, Arnold was named for J. G. Arnold who built its first grain elevator. Other elevators were to follow for this is a wheat belt community shipping many carloads of grain annually. It is also a shipping point for a heavy volume of livestock and for crude oil from surrounding oil fields.
ATCHISON (49 miles northwest of Kansas City)
Here is a substantial Kansas community with an interesting historical background and a promising industrial future.
Territory now comprised in Atchison County–of which this city is the seat – was first traversed by French explorers as early as 1724. The Lewis and Clark expedition celebrated Independence Day nearby in 1804 and in 1818 the first military post in Kansas was established on an island in the Missouri River six miles from site of the present city.
The California gold rush and general western immigration beginning in 1850 provided the impetus for the establishment at a strategic Missouri River landing of the town that was destined to become one of Kansas' principal cities. At its founding in 1854 Missouri settlers were determined to make it a slave-territory community and succeeded in having it named for David R. Atchison, a United States and state senator from Missouri.
Atchison's first two decades were marked by the lawlessness and violence typical of the frontier, aggravated here by the constant fighting between pro- and anti-slavery factions. However, with both a good steamboat landing and the best wagon road leading to the West, the city flourished from the first. Later, dependable railroad transportation became a factor in the city's development to the point where its industrial payrolls rank among the largest in the state.
Industries include the manufacture of iron foundry and steel products, railroad equipment, plumbing supplies, flour and mixed feeds, industrial alcohol, book and stationery supplies, leather products, butter, cheese and ice cream. There also are seed cleaning and processing plants, hatcheries, egg packing and drying plants, lock and limestone quarries, and stock yards. Grain, livestock and fruit are the principal agricultural products of the surrounding areas.
In addition to an excellent public school system Atchison has two senior colleges, St. Benedict's and the Mount Saint Scholastic Academy for Girls. Points of interest include Jackson Park, Amelia Earhart's birthplace and the athletic stadium named for this famous aviatrix, a native of Atchison. A former limestone mine here has been converted
into a huge natural cooler used by the U. S. Department of Agriculture for the storage of surplus commodities.
BARNES (47 miles east of Concordia)
Named for a pioneer settler who built and operated its first lumber yard, Barnes was founded in 1876, just a year before arrival of the Missouri Pacific Railroad that bolstered the town's growth. It is surrounded by farming and cattle-raising country of which wheat is the major crop.
BARTLETT (23 miles east of Coffeyville)
In 1870 Robert A. Bartlett, a native of Delaware County, Indiana, moved west to Labette County, Kansas, where he filed a claim on the southwest quarter of Section 27 of Hackberry township. He perfected his claim by erecting a cabin 12 feet square and later added improvements which made his homestead one of the most valuable pieces of land in the entire county.
Seventeen years after he homesteaded his quarter section, Bartlett gave the northwest 40 acres of his holdings to a new town company. A town was organized and Bartlett was elected president with Charles C. Black as secretary. Then, as was only natural, the newly organized town was named Bartlett, in honor of the Indiana immigrant. It is now the trading center of a farming community.
BELLE PLAINE (23 miles south of Wichita)
Although there are a variety of stories about how this Kansas community got its name, the one that seems to be the most reliable is that it was named in tribute to an early landowner named Belle and because the area was so level Plaine was added to make "Belle Plaine.'
A railroad town in the midst of Sumner County farming areas, Belle Plaine ships the locally grown crops which are mainly grains and hay. It is also a cottonwood timber center.
BELOIT {29 miles west of Concordia)
Pioneers called this section of Kansas "Willow Springs" but two settlers, T. F. Hersey and Aaron A. Bell from Beloit, Wisconsin, helped found the town and had the name changed to Beloit after their home town in 1868.
Beloit, now the seat of Mitchell County, is on the Solomon River and is surrounded by good wheat land, although diversified farming is the general practice. Interest in livestock and poultry in the area has grown in recent years as shown by the establishment of creameries and hatcheries in the town.
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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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