Valley Falls, Kansas Location

      History


From a special edititon of the Valley Falls Vindicator
Used by permission
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      ONCE UPON A TIME just after the opening of Kansas territory in 1854, frontier entrepreneurs found a falls on the Grasshopper River that they believed would serve well in powering a mill. Mills would be replaced by elevators and for a century, grinding agricultural produce and serving the farm community was the main commerce.

        Grasshopper Falls would be platted in 1855 and incorporated in 1869. The grasshopper invasion of the 1870s was devastating and not a good promotional tool for a new and aspiring town, Aided by Legislature, the name of the river was changed to the Delaware (American Native tribe most dominant in the region) and the twice more named, became Valley Falls.

        Settled by Free Staters, the town suffered burning by border ruffians and later sent its finest to fight in the Civil War.

        Isaac Cody, father of the famous Buffalo Bill Cody, built a saw mill at Valley Falls. Wild Bill Hickok was noted in the local press as having dance with the ladies on one of his visit through town as an employee of the Majors Freight Company.

        Valley Falls was served by three railroads and two large hotels were the center of the comings and goings in the pre-World War II era. The Meyer Creamery produced powdered milk for the war effort and was the major employer during the first half of this century.

        During more than 14 decades, livery stables and blacksmith shops gave way to gasoline stations and automobile repair shops. Mud streets were replaced by bricks and asphalt,

        Today, when you visit our town of 50 people, you will drive on the brick streets laid during the 1920s. You will find. millstones from those early mills preserved in two public parks. Our community is conveniently located close to the capital city and only 50 miles from Kansas City International Airport.

        Valley Falls, a Tree City USA, boosts two beautiful parks along with two full city blocks along K-16 highway dedicated to trees. One block, Grasshopper Grove, is a horticultural marvel with a wide variety of trees and flowering bushes. Memorial Tree Park across the street to the east is planted with cypress.

        The city park is complete with a shelterhouse, gazebo, tennis court, and playground equipment for your enjoyment. Riverside Park has electrical hookups for campers and is close to a boat dock on the river. A swimming pool is open afternoons and early evenings during the summer months. There are five churches in the community that welcome you. Valley Falls is host to the Jefferson County 4-H Fair the first week of August.

        Visitors will enjoy a number of shops in the downtown business district that feature antiques, crafts, gift items, and quilts. There are, a variety of places to eat and most goods and services are available. There is a bed and breakfast inn on the edge of town and the community's museum is open Saturdays and holidays. Welcome to our town.

 
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February 3, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / towns@kslib.info

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