1867/1868--A great famine in Sweden combined with the discontent bred by repressive government made the American advertisement of land and freedom particularly attractive to Swedes. The third largest foreign-born group in nineteenth-century Kansas came from Sweden. The primary colony from Sweden was at Lindsborg in McPherson County. The settlement at (New) Scandia in Republic County was promoted by the Scandinavian Agricultural Society of Chicago. Swedish influence was also in Osage County and the Blue River parts of Riley and Pottawatomie counties.
Long before white men settled Kansas this region was the home of Pawnee Indians. French traders in the late 1700's named those along this river the Republican Pawnee in the mistaken belief that their form of government was a republic. From them, the Republican river and in turn Republic county and city took their names. Here, along the east side of the river, passed the military road opened in 1857 to connect Fort Riley and Fort Kearny, Neb. White settlements began in this area in the early 1860's, and at this place in 1868 the Scandinavian Agricultural Society of Chicago started a colony, which became Scandia. Fearful of Indian attacks, for several occurred nearby, the settlers constructed a stronghold near the river named Colony House. Jedediah Smith, famed mountain man, explorer mapper of the American West, led 60 men up the Republican valley in January, 1826. He stayed several weeks at a Republican Pawnee village, probably the one four miles west and eight north of this marker. The site of this village has been preserved by the state, and a modern archeological museum was opened there in 1967.
In 1868, a group of Swedes settled here, calling the town, "New Scandinavia". A plaque on the stone monument in the roadside park
on Highway 36 reads:
1868 New Scandinavia 1938
Founded by Scandinavian Agricultural Society 9/15/1868
City of Scandia incorporated 4/1/1879
We dedicate this statue to you, our
Pioneer Fathers & Mothers
The first Colony House was built 200 feet west of this marker.