Stylized Sunflower

Towanda - Land of Many Waters

Stylized Sunflower
 
        The town and township lie tucked in the pleasant valley of the Whitewater River, amd take their name from the Osage Indian term "many waters."  First settler was C. L. Chandler, a returning '49er from the Califronia gold fields who built his cabin in 1858.  Towanda township was one of the first four in the makeup of Butler County - the largest in Kansas.
 
        In 1870, Rev. Isaac Mooney, frontier preacher and community builder, platted ten acres for a townsite.  The village quickly became a trade center on the Emporia-Wichita wagon road and a division point for two stage lines.  Towanda gained wide fame in 1917, when giant oil gushers were drilled on rocky Shumway land at the town's eastern doorstep by Gypsy Oil Company and the Trapshooters group.
 
        Close neighbor is El Dorado, the county seat on the east, since pioneer days a prime adjunct to the Flint Hills cattle country and for more than 50 years the focal point of vast petroleum development in south-central Kansas.  Its largest industries are modern oil refineries of Skelly Oil Company and American Petrofina, while the Butler County Community Junior College tops its cultural institutions.
 
Erected by Kansas Turnpike Authority and State Historical Society

 
 
Butler County  
Towanda Rest Stop
Kansas Turnpike
Butler County
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July 24, 2001 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas / history@kslib.info

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