Transcribed from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar.

Kansas City, the county seat of Wyandotte county and the largest city in Kansas, is located at the junction of the Kansas and Missouri rivers, in the extreme eastern part of the county and is separated from Kansas City, Mo., by the Missouri river. The present municipality was created in 1886 by the consolidation of Kansas City with the towns of Wyandotte, Armourdale and Armstrong. The early history of the city is inseparable from that of the Wyandot Indians, who were as civilized as many of the whites when they came to Kansas in 1843 and bought the land upon which the town of Wyandotte was subsequently laid out. J. W. Armstrong, the interpreter, built a log cabin in the fall of 1843 and occupied it in December of that year, the first house erected on the town site.

In the spring of 1857 the town was laid out by John H. Miller, a surveyor from Pennsylvania, who made the following statement upon his map: "The present city company is formed of seven original stockholders, three of whom are Wyandots. They purchased the lands forming the town site from the Wyandot owners, who are to receive patents for these lands as soon as they can be issued. The government commissioners completed the assignment of these Wyandots on the town site only in Feb., 1857."

John McAlpine was to receive conveyances of the land, and on the sale of lots, was to make deeds to the purchasers. The sale was advertised for March 8, 1857, when people came from all directions and bought lots at a good figure. The rush of immigration was rapid and houses could not be erected fast enough to accommodate the settlers. Carpenters were at a premium, lumber was in great demand, so that sawmills sprang up almost over night, to supply building materials. Within six months from the time it was laid out Wyandotte was a city in full blast. A postoffice was established in the spring of 1857 with Thomas J. Barker as the first postmaster. It was located in the old court-house building on Nebraska avenue, where Mr. Barker and Isaiah Walker had a store, On June 8, 1858, a number of the citizens petitioned the probate judge of Leavenworth county, in which Wyandotte was then located, for a town government. The request was granted, Charles W. Glick, William F. Simpson, Daniel Gillen, George Russell and William McKay being appointed trustees. Four days later the trustees held their first meeting, after being sworn into office by William L. McMath, the justice of the peace. William McKay was chosen chairman; Joseph W. Watson, clerk; Charles W. Patterson, assessor; Walter N. Canfield, collector; and Samuel E. Forsythe, constable. On Jan. 29, 1859, Wyandotte was incorporated as a city of the third class and the first election was held in February of that year, when James B. Parr was chosen mayor; W. P. Overton, J. N. White, B. Judd, H. McDowell, Isaiah Walker and D. Killen, councilmen; E. T. Vedder, clerk; David Kirkbride, assessor; J. H. Harris, treasurer; W. L. McMath, attorney; N. A. Kirk, marshal; W. Miller, engineer; and H. Burgard, street commissioner.

The first religious organization in the town was the Methodist mission among the Wyandot Indians, which had been established in 1843 by James Wheeler, a missionary sent out by the North Ohio conference. The mission church was completed in 1844. St. Paul's Episcopal parish of Wyandotte was organized in 1857 by Rodney Nash of Lexington, Mo. It was the pioneer parish of Kansas and was erected under the authority of Bishop Kemper.

In 1859 the convention which framed the constitution under which Kansas was admitted to the Union met at Wyandotte. The building in which the convention was held was known for years as Constitution Hall. When Wyandotte county was created in 1859, Wyandotte became the seat of justice. The county offices were located in Constitution Hall for a time. They were changed several times, but in 1882, a fine court-house was erected on the northwest corner of Minnesota avenue and Seventh street.

While Kansas was still a territory manufacturing industries were established at Wyandotte. In 1870 the Union Pacific railroad shops were located in the southern portion of Wyandotte—known as Armstrong, a town absorbed by Wyandotte.

The first hotel in Wyandotte was kept by Isaac W. Brown as early as 1855. Thomas Eldridge opened a second in 1857. Two banks were started the same year. The Kansas City Town company was organized in 1868 by T. H. Swope, Silas Armstrong, Dr. George B. Wood, David E. James, Luther H. Wood, William Wier, Thomas Ewing, Jr., and N. McAlpine. The town was surveyed by John McGee in April, 1869, and the plat recorded with the register of deeds of Wyandotte county on May 3. Kansas City made rapid progress and in 1872 it had sufficient population to be incorporated. The first election was held in October, when James Boyle was elected mayor; S. W. Day, John McKnight, Charles H. Jones, James Lundell and George Forschler, councilmen: Cornelius Cushin, clerk; James Kennedy, police judge; Samuel McConnell, treasurer; and H. L. Alden, attorney. The fire department of Kansas City, Mo., furnished fire protection for Kansas City, Kan., until 1882, when a building was erected on James street for the accommodation of the police and fire departments.

In 1880 the Weekly Spy, the first newspaper in the town, made its appearance. It was edited and owned by B. M. Brake until 1882, when Charles H. Van Fossen and Felix G. Head bought the Spy and began the publication of the Daily Evening Globe on Sept. 5. Several labor organizations were established in Kansas City early in the '80s.

Soon after the town was founded, Kansas City began manufacturing with the building of flour mills, but Kansas City did not take high rank as a milling center until about 1900. It now occupies second place in the United States, having the largest hard wheat mills in the world, with a capacity of 5,000 barrels a day. The meat packing industry, the most characteristic of Kansas City today, was one of the first to become established. The first packing house was established in 1868 by Pattison & Slavens, and by 1890 Kansas City began to take its place as the second greatest packing center in the country. Associated with this business are the stock yards, soap industries and other manufactures of by-products.

Armourdale, situated on the north bank of the Kansas river, about a mile south of its junction with the Missouri, was named after the Armours, the great Chicago packers. It was laid out in 1880 by the Kaw Valley Town Site and Bridge company, composed of the following Boston capitalists: Charles F. and John Quincy Adams, Charles Merriam, Nathan Thayer, H. H. Hunnewell and John A. Burnham. The company owned a large tract of land not included in the town site, which they sold for manufacturing purposes. In the spring of 1882, Armourdale had a sufficient population to be incorporated, and the first city election was held on May 5, when Frank W. Patterson was chosen the first mayor; Daniel Herbert, Nehemiah Shirrick, E. W. Anderson, Joseph Bradley and S. Snyder, councilmen; William Ross, marshal; Granville Patterson, clerk; and John C. Foore, police judge.

In 1883 the street railway was extended so as to connect Kansas City, Mo., Kansas City, Kan., Armourdale and Wyandotte, which made the towns practically one as far as transportation and business interests were concerned.

Until 1886, the towns west of the Kansas river were a group of independent municipalities. These were all then annexed to Kansas City, which since that time has more than quadrupled in population, added to its manufacturing concerns, multiplied its packing houses, until it now produces more manufactured articles than any other city in the United States according to population, and practically doubles that of Kansas City, Mo. It has large railway repair and construction shops, iron works, factories that turn out hay-presses, creamery supplies, tin ware, agricultural implements, wagons and carriages, gas and gasoline engines, furniture, foundry supplies, wheelbarrows, wooden boxes and barrels, soap, brick, etc. The residences and business houses are lighted and heated by natural gas, but there is also an electric lighting system.

There are 25 public school houses in the city and a high school with manual training department. There are also located here the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Kansas City University—a Methodist institution, the Kansas City Theological Seminary, eight Roman Catholic institutions. Kansas City has an elevation of 763 feet and in 1910 had a population of 82,331 inhabitants.

Pages 50-53 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.