Kansas April 10, 2016
Here Are The 12 Oldest Towns In Kansas… And They’re Loaded With History
Even though Kansas could be considered one of the “newer” states (it was the 34th state admitted to the Union), several of its towns are still chock-full of fascinating history, including these 12, which are a few of the oldest in the state:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
The city of Leavenworth is important for two main reasons:
1.) The old Fort Leavenworth (which was built in 1827) has an important spot in American history due to its role as a key supply base in the settlement of the Old West.
2.) Leavenworth was founded in 1854, making it the first incorporated city in the newly formed Kansas.
Even though the small Topeka suburb (originally named Osawkee) became Jefferson County's original County Seat in 1855, the town itself wasn't even incorporated until a century later. (The Jefferson County Seat was moved to Oskaloosa in 1858.)
The once-booming coal town, which was founded in 1871, was named after --you guessed it--Scranton, Pennsylvania. Today, the town is home to 700 residents.
Named in honor of Missouri senator David Rice Atchison (who showed interest from the get-go in forming a pro-slavery territory in the newly formed state of Kansas), Atchison has held an important part of history through its involvement in the Civil War and industrialization period.
The "Town Too Tough To Die" was founded in 1869 and, despite losing their post office in 1976, is still home to 80-some residents.
6. Blue Rapids
After the failed attempt to create a town at the junction of the Little Blue and Big Blue rivers, several families from New York moved in and had the town incorporated in 1872 as a city of third class under the statutes of Kansas.
Neodesha, which comes from the Osage Indian word meaning "meeting of the waters," was originally established as a trading post in 1867 (with permission from the Osage Indians, who still owned the land). It was later incorporated in 1871.
We all know the story of Bleeding Kansas... but did you know that before the Civil War, Lawrence was part of the Shawnee Indian Reservation prior to the Kansas Territory being opened for settlement?
Back to Bleeding Kansas... not only was Lawrence a vital part in these deadly confrontations, Lecompton was too, even serving as the Territorial capital of Kansas from 1855 to 1861.
10. Elk City
Much like Neodesha, Elk City got its start as a trading post location in 1868.
Founded in 1877 as the Nicodemus Town Company, the goal of the town was to establish the first all-black settlement on the Great Plains. The town saw a large spike in population during the early 1880s, but quickly declined after difficulties in both finding resources and years of poor harvests.
12. Council Grove
Named after an agreement between European Americans and the Osage Nation, Council Grove was one of the last stops on the Santa Fe Trail heading southwest and saw many pioneers pass through during the mid-1800s.
Do you live in any of these historic towns?