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Overbrook, Kansas

  Overbrook was founded in 1886, when the Kansas, Nebraska, & Dakota built through the area. W. T. Coffman and J. B. Fairchild were the founders. They had farms side by side on which they started the town. They gave the railroad half-interest in the town in return for the railroad coming through the townsite.

The earliest description of Overbrook in a newspaper was in the Burlingame Independent, Nov. 11, 1886.

Across this trail [the old Santa Fe Trail] and dipping to the north and south over the "divide" are the farms, side by side, of J. B. Fairchild and W. T. Coffman, a north and south section line dividing them.... Upon either side [of the railroad] are the stakes marking the lots and blocks of the new town, among which the carpenters were busy erecting a handsome store building and at another point a residence.... Another new frame building is owned by a Mr. Thompson, a blacksmith. The railroad track as graded crosses the townsite from east to west, and ample provisions have been made for side tracks, depot grounds, stock yards, etc.
Overbrook was named by a construction engineer for the railroad. He named it after his hometown of Overbrook, Pennsylvania.


The first business was a grocery store owned by William Kincaide. There was no other railroad station or trading point for miles around, so Overbrook attracted a good business from the start. Residents moved in from the surrounding area. Carbondale, which was losing its mining business and some of its population, and the village of Ridgeway both contributed quite a few residents to Overbrook.

By 1888 the town had two general stores, a grange store, a depot, a druggist, a hardware store, two blacksmiths, two carpenters, a confectioner, and a barber.

excerpt used by permission of the author

The Early Years of Osage County
Roger Carswell
(North Newton: The Mennonite Press. 1982)

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February 2, 2006 / Peggy L. Waldman / Overbrook , Kansas / pwaldman@nekls.org
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