Caldwell - The Border Queen


        In the fertile valley near the confluence of Bluff Creek, Fall Creek, and the Chikaskia River, the town was established in 1871. Named for Senator Alexander T. Caldwell, the town is situated on the Old Chisholm Trail, just north across the border from the Cherokee Outlet. Chisholm Street, on the east side of the present city is a part of the cattle trail and to the east of this marker wagon tracks are still visible. The cowboys who herded the huge droves of Texas longhorns along the cattle trail to the railhead at Abilene soon named the wild and lawless frontier settlement the "Border Queen".

        The first building in the town was a log house erected by Captain C. H. Stone, one of the founders of the town site. It was used as a store and the first post office with Stone serving as the first postmaster. His store and the Red Light Saloon did a thriving business with the cowboys and Indians. In 1879 Caldwell became a third class city and held her first election in 1880. The Santa Fe Railroad built a branch line into Caldwell and immediately began the shipment of cattle. When the Rock Island built into town in 1887, Caldwell became a division point on the railroad and remained so until 1980 when the company went out of business.

        The population of Caldwell reached a high point in the days before the opening of the Cherokee Outlet in the Oklahoma Territory. It is said that 10,000 persons gathered in and around Caldwell waiting for the day of the land run, September 16, 1893. The town continued to prosper until other towns were established in the new territory to supply the settlers' needs. Caldwell then began to settle down and build permanent business houses, many of these are still in operation today although the hustle and bustle of the early day are gone. This marker will help the memories live on forever.

Committee Members
 
Nancy Hope Sober
Fred Strickland
Charles H. Medley

[etching of The Run]
 
See the other side
Erected by the Cher-Ok-Kan Gateway Association, December 8, 1979.

Sumner County  
Pink granite engraved marker
U.S. 81, between MP 0 and MP 1
Roadside rest area, east side
Sumner County
 

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Marker text sent by Robert Walter, Pittsburg, KS


August 29, 2000 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas / history@kslib.info

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