When Saline County was organized in 1859, there was not over one hundred people in the county, and these were all locatced in and adjacent to Salina. What the population of the county was in 1860 is not shown by the census of that year, which, doubtless, is attributable to the fact that the county was not, in reality, organized until July, 1860, when the first county officers were elected; but those residing in the county at that time say that in 1860 Saline County did not contain more than one hundred souls. Settlers to any extent did not commence to locate in the county until after the close of the war, although between 1860 and 1865 there had been it few isolated cases of settlement in different parts of the county. The first authenticated report of the population of the county to be found is the census report of 1870, and by this the county is given a population, at that time, of 4,246.
The City of Salina, as originally surveyed and platted, was located on the southwest quarter of Section 12, and northwest quarter of Section 13, Township 14, south, Range 3, west of the sixth principal meridian. The founder of the town was W. A. Phillips, who succeeded in organizing a Town Company, of which he was president, and composed of the following members: W. A. Phillips, A. M. Campbell, James Muir, Robert Crawford and A. C. Spillman. The survey of the town was commenced in March, 1858, and was continued at intervals, until March, 1862, when it was completed. On March 30, 1859, the company was granted a charter by the Sixth Territorial Legislature of Kansas. After the company was organized, additonal members were added from time to time, and on the 14th of February, 1862, Robert H. Bishop, Ransom Calkin and Rev. William Bishop were added as members. The plat of the survey was filed for record on the 14th day of April, 1862, and Salina takes its place on the map as one of the towns of Kansas. The town is beautifully located, and stands in the center of a rich and fertile valley, on the banks of the Smoky Hill River, just where, coming from the south, it makes a bend to the east. The town is located on both sides of the river, the greater part, including all the business portion, being on the west side. It is somewhat in doubt as to who built the first house in town, but from the statements of the earliest settlers, it will scarcely admit of a doubt that W. A. Phillips put up the first house ever erected in the city. It was a large log house and stood on what is now Iron avenue, between Santa Fe avenue and the river. Whatever doubt may exist as to who put up the first house, there is none as to who opened the first store; the credit for this being attributed to George Pickard, who opened a kind of general store, on a small scale, in a log house in the summer of 1858, and this was followed a few months after by another which was opened by A. M. Campbell in a small house on what is now Iron avenue. In 1859 another store was opened by H. L. Jones, and these three, Pickard, Campbell and Jones, were the pioneer business men of Salina. At that time the county was almost without settlement; what few settlers there were being located in and about what is now Salina. The chief trading of these stores was with the Indians, who came from all directions to the Smoky Valley to hunt. Robes and skins were the chief articles the red men would bring to trade, and these they would give in exchange for provisions, ammunition, and, occasionally, a little poor whisky. These robes and skins received from the Indians would be loaded up in wagons by the traders and hauled to Leavenworth or Kansas City, where they would be sold, when the merchants would load up again with goods and start back for Salina. About a dozen families included all the settlers in the country prior to 1860, and these were mostly located at Salina. Among these were W. A. Phillips and his brother, D. L., George Pickard, A. M. Campbell, James Muir, Robert Crawford, A. C. Spillman, H. J. Lones, John and Gothart Schipple, Mrs. Link, Israel Markley, Thomas Coonrad, Charles Holtzmail and Simon Garlitz. In 1860, a few additional settlers located in the town, and among these were Rev. William Bishop and his brother Robert, and Ransom Calkins. Settlers came in very slowly, and the war commencing early in 1861, immigration to the county virtually stopped, although a new comer would occasionally drop in at long intervals. The first attempt at anything like manufacturimg in the county was a saw-mill erected at Salina on the Smoky, by W. A. Phillips, which was kept pretty busy for some time sawing the native timber into lumber for building purposes. In 1862, the people of the town were thrown into a state of great consternation by a too well founded report that hostile Indians were approaching from the west, massacreing all the white people they found. Some were inclined to pooh-pooh the idea, but when the ranchmen came into the town, after several of their number had been butchered, and confirmed the report, they discovered that it was a matter that required other action than mere pooh-poohing. The consternation became general, and a regular panic seized the community. Those who had settled east of Salina made for Junction City and Fort Riley, and those west and in the immediate neighborhood of Salina hastened to town. Seeing the danger that threatened them, and knowing the terrible results of an Indian massacre, which was likely to take place, they immediatety set to work and built a stockade 50x150 feet, on the north side of what is now Iron avenue. These preparations were made none too soon; for the Indians, meeting with no opposition on their way, came on with a whoop; but seeing that the people of Salina were prepared to give them a warm reception, they gave the place a wide berth; and thus Salina escaped a massacre.
The town made but very little progress during the years of the war, and until the Kansas Pacific Railway was built in 1867 its growth was extremely slow. With the coming of the railroad came a stream of immigration and Salina pushed rapidly ahead. Prior to the advent of the railroad there was neither a schoolhouse nor church edifice in town, although there were several church organizations. A school had been taught, however, since as early as 1862, the first teacher being Miss Thacher, who taught in the small frame house on Iron avenue. Anticipating the railway, which was then being pushed towards Salina as rapidly as possible, W. A. Phillips in December, 1866, had surveyed and laid off into lots "Phillip's Addition to Salina." Ante-dating this by a month, "Jones Addition" was added, and in April, 1867, "Calkins' Addition" was added, followed in May of the same year by the "Depot Addition." In 1867 a two-story frame schoolhouse was built on the corner of Santa Fe avenue and Ash street. The first teacher that taught in this school was Philip Wickersham. Now that a good schoolhouse was erected, churches soon followed, and in the same year, 1867, the Methodists built the first church in town, a small frame on Ash street, between Seventh and Eighth streets. With the coming of the railroad, a better class of buildings commenced to spring up, and instead of the original log cabins and board shanties, neat frame residences were erected. The first frame residence put up in town was by B. J. F. Hanna in 1868. From 1867 to 1869 the town advanced very rapidly. In 1867 C. R. Underwood built a grist and saw mill on the Smoky, at Salina, which was operated by both steam and water power. In 1869 the Baptists erected a very neat frame church, and many comfortable residences were put up, besides several very good stores. In 1870 there was a lull in immigration, but a great many very fine improvements were made in town, among which was the erection of quite a large and handsome Presbyterian Church. The business of the town increased rapidly, and as the country settled up, north, south, east and west, trade was greatly augmented. By 1871, Salina was quite noted as being one of the most flourishing towns in the state. The town was all life and everything in the business line was in the most flourishing condition. The town had grown to considerable proportions and could boast of some very fine buildings. The first building in town that can be said to have been used for hotel purposes was a frame building erected by W. A. Phillips, who occupied it for some time as a residence. when he sold it to H. L. Jones, who used it in the double capacity of a store and hotel for some time, when he in turn sold it to Hamlin & Wooley. The first building erected in town expressly for hotel purposes was the "Planters' House," which was built by T. L. Webster in 1866. As a hotel it has long since ceased to exist. In 1867, after the coming of the railroad, one Mrs. Emma Bickerdyke built a large frame hotel close to the depot. In 1870, the people having previously voted bonds to erect a court house, a very fine stone county building was erected.
The year 1871 had been one of great prosperity for Salina, and on Christmas day of that year everybody was feeling happy over their own individual prosperity and that of the city. In the midst of their felicity, however, just as they were about sitting down to partake of their Christmas turkey, the town was startled by the cry of "Fire!" The cry was taken up by people as they ran, and "Fire! Fire!" passed rapidly from street to street. The bells rang out the alarm, and many a Christmas dinner was left untouched. The fire originated in a saloon on the west side of Santa Fe avenue, and spread rapidly from building to building until it was checked by Geis's bank building, constructed of brick, and which had been erected only a few months previously. Some of the frame buildings south of the bank building were torn away to prevent the spread of the fire, but before it could be extinguished, several business houses, with the greater portion of their contents, were destroyed, entailing a loss of about $20,000, which was quite a blow to the young and prosperous town. Salina was at that time a city of the third class, having been so created in 1870, C. H. Martin being the first mayor.
Besides those buildings already mentioned as having been put up that year, four very elegant churches were erected, the Catholic, Methodist, Christian and Episcopalian. Of these, the two former were brick, and the two latter frame, but all were handsome edifices. The fire of December, 1871, had one good effect, in that it caused many of those who put up business houses afterwards, to use other material in their construction than wood. Thus in 1872, Hamlin & Wooley put up a fine stone building on the southwest corner of Iron avenue and Santa Fe avenue, which was the best improvement to the town up to that time.
In 1872 Salina became a cowboy town, or a cattle trading point. The business men of the place had expended a good deal of money to secure the trade that would be derived from the town being made a trading point for cattle, but having secured it, the people soon discovered that it was not such a desirable thing to have after all. The trade in itself was good enough, and the business of the merchants in town was greatly increased thereby, but the town became infested with such a crowd of disreputable characters, both male and female, that whatever advantage was gained in trade was more than counter-balanced by loss in morals, and when the cattle trade moved westward two years afterwards, the citizens of Salina were more rejoiced at its departure than they were at its coming. The year 1873 was one of rapid advancement, and many good residences were put up, but the chief improvement that year was the erection of a large brick schoolhouse. The town had grown so rapidly that the frame schoolhouse erected in 1867 was totally inadequate to meet the demands of the community, and the people voted to issue $30,000 in bonds to erect a school building that would not only be sufficiently commodious, but would also be an ornament to the town.
In 1875 also, C. R. Underwood & Co. built a large flouring mill, at a cost of $40,000, which was run by water power. In 1878, F. Goodnow & Co. erected a large steam flouring mill near the depot. at a cost of $75,000; and while these improvements were going on, Whitehead Brothers, John Underwood and John A. Nelson erected a brick block, on the south side of Iron avenue, a little west of the bridge, containing three storerooms below with office rooms above. More money was expended in improvements in 1875 than any year that preceded it. If 1875 was a year of great improvement, it was also one of some disaster. The effects of the grasshopper raid in 1874 were felt in all branches of business, and a great deal of uncertainty existed as to the future. In that year also another disastrous fire visited the town, by which a great deal of property was destroyed. Several buildings on the west side of Santa Fe avenue were wiped out by the conflagration, and likewise a large livery stable, in which thirty horses perished. The loss entailed was about $25,000.
The city, in 1878 advanced a grade being created a city of the second class, of which A. W. Wickham was the first mayor.
Salina is located on the Denver line of the Union Pacific R. R., 184 miles west of Kansas Ciay[sic] and 456 miles east of Denver. Salina is also reached by the Missouri Pacific, the Santa Fe and the Rock Island. The altitude is 1,200 feet. The climate is excellent, the town clean, having no saloons or joints, but a strong moral sentiment.
One's first visit to our forest city is always an unforgetably pleasant incident in that a surprise of an agreeable nature is both absorbingly interesting and lasting, and because Salina is the biggest little town of 12,000 inhabitants on earth.
Residents of this appropriately named "City of Homes" have always been imbued with praiseworthy determination to make of it an attractive place in which to visit "shop" or live.
This year over $500,000 has been invested in Salina for new biuldings,[sic] public improvements, etc. - upwards of $100,000 of which has been spent for labor alone. Our banks have on deposits over $2,250,000. We are building a court house costing $80,000. A $75,000 high school building, with all modern equipments, including - in addition to the usual classical course - manual and vocational training for boy and girl, gymnasium, domestic science, mechanical drawing and industrial laboratory work, is now complete. We have nine miles of paving, extending to the University, and contracts have been let for the paving of three more streets. A $50,000 alfalfa mill, with a capacity of 50 tons per day is one of our new industries. Mr. Andrew Carnegie has built a sightly and serviceable library in our midst, and gave an additional $25,000 to the Kansas Wesleyan University for building a Science Hall, which has a $25,000 endowment chair, the money for same having been subscribed and set aside. Our $30,000 Sacred Heart School has been erected and is now occupied. Electric cars have taken the place of our motor line. A $50,000 Cathedral, with chimes composed of eleven bells, now occupies a beautiful lot, in the very heart of the section noted for its church spires. A new Y. M. C. A. building costing $45,000 is now complete. St. Barnabas Hospital, costing $20,000, is complete. Our flour mills have a capacity of 2,500 barrels per day, and our Vitrified Brick Co. is unable to supply the demand, even with the capacity of 30,000 brick per day. Salina has added a paid Fire Department with new and modern equipment, working a liberal reduction in the cost of fire insurance, more than sufficient to maintain the department. The city has just voted $40,000 toward the erection of a new city building. We have a flourishing planing mill, a factory with a capital of $10,000 manufacturing tubular handle pitchforks, shovels, rakes, etc.; encouraging prospects for an overall factory; a creamery with a weekly output of 50,000 pounds of butter; and there is not a better commercial greenhouse in the state than ours. The packing house, with captial stock of $75,000, is a valuable acquisition. We have fourteen churches, seven public school buildings, an attractive Masonic Temple, finest Elks' Home in the state, a $60,000 Convention Hall; four lines of railroad with their several branches and freight division; 1,500 students annually attend the Kansas Wesleyan University, St. John's Military School and the Kansas Wesleyan Business College, which each year firmly establishes in the business world 400 stenographers.
Years ago Nature made manifest her kindly interest in us by fondly placing her arms (Smoky Hill River) about a quiet little nook, now known throughout the West as picturesque Oakdale Park, the home of our annual Chautauqua Assembly, with its auditorium conveniently arranged to seat 3,200 spectators.
During the evening our streets are truly metropolitan, with countless electric lights radiantly spelling the names of enterprising citizens, and, while many of our arc lights seem to be speeding in all directions, they are in reality but headlights on our automobiles, one hundred of which are almost continually doing their utmost to keep within the drastic speed limit. Salina is the market town of the great middle west. Fortunately, Salina occupies a most important position as a jobbing center, and the years to come will unquestionably develop it to a magnitude second to none. Our wholesale or jobbing, interests, in various lines, represent, in the aggregate, an investment of about $3,000,000, and we distribute annually over $8,000,000 worth of merchandise. The men in charge of these immense interests ambitiously and courteously await the commands and convenience of dealers and consumers. To sum it up in a few words - Salina is a good, clean place in which to live.
The location of Salina is ideal. Undulating hills break abruptly to the level river valley. On this level valley is found the beautiful city of Salina. Anyone looking for a place to locate could find no better place than Salina. It is a city of beautiful residences, paved streets, and miles of good sidewalks. A complete water system furnishes the purest water. Electric lights, sewer system, good hotels and many other adjuncts to the metropolitan city life are found here.
Every line of business is represented in substantial blocks. The professions are ably filled by progressive men and women and the Commercial Club will assist all worthy enterprises seeking good location.
Salina is the railroad center of this part of the state. Four great systems enter the city. The Union Pacific, Santa Fe, Missouri Pacific and Rock Island give easy access to all surrounding territory and the outside world.
The two daily and three weekly newspaper's have large circulation, reaching practically every home in the county and many homes beyond its borders.
Nearly all church denominations are represented with organizations and have weekly services in their own beautiful houses of worship. There are about thirty fraternal orders represented here, all with good large membership. The public library contains several thousands of well selected books and periodicals.
The physical environment is well nigh perfect. It has a mild climate, pure air, abundant sunshine, and long seasons. Its rainfall is ample. Vegetation puts forth a rapid growth unknown to the East. The oak, elm, maple, walnut, and other forests trees grow as though native to the climate. Fruits, berries and gardens yield abundantly.
Our people are essentially cosmopolitan. They are the agressive, enterprising, men and women who have come from the East to better their condition, educate their children, and build an empire. They have accomplished their object and are now living in a substantial manner. They have demonstrated the possibilities of Kansas. Its steady progress and fuller development are assured facts. This Souvenir Edition, which has received the support of the leading business interests of the city, is not intended as an individual advertising medium. We will use this space to set forth as concisely as possible the resources of Salina, Kansas, and its unequalled advantages for the manufactureer, investor and homeseeker.
A great many people look upon the cities of our country today as they did fifteen years ago, and take no time to investigate the situation. Salina, for example, will appear to the average invester as a grand place to make safe and profitable investments, as her excellent shipping facilities will command attention, and to the homeseeker and wage-earner steady employment and ideal surroundings for both themselves and their children.
Salina is manifesting a determination to not only hold the position it has already attained among the West's important cities, but with indomitable spirit she is constantly forging ahead. Her growth is not the result of a boom, but the outcome of natural advantages and the homeseeker, if he be an honest, industrious man (and Salina has no room for village loafers), can find employment in almost any line, with the assurance that he is growing up with one of the best towns in this or any other country. The city has a population of about 12,000, handsome residences and private grounds, beautiful parks, fine churches and school buildings, and all else that goes to make up a metropolitan city.
Salina has 12,000 as wide-awake, intelligent, generous and hospitable people as can be found anywhere; a city without a rival in the vest undeveloped resources of the surrounding country.
We have banking facilities sufficient to meet all reasonable demands, and our bankers are thorough, up-to-date, and imbued with the spirit of progress and ready to lend legitimate assistance to all worthy enterprises.
The rapid growth and progress of Salina in recent years would not have been possible without and administration of public affairs conducted on broad-gauge principles. There has not been a time since first incorporated as a city when our public officials have not stood as a unit for a better and greater Salina. Politics have been thrown aside when the interests of the city have been at stake, and the result is a city whose municipal departments can show a most enviable record, one that will bear comparison with the best governed cities in the land. The city has been prosperous, the taxpayers generous, and the municipal management judicious.
The police department of any city is an important one. We feel that we are conservative when we claim that our police force is wide awake, and up-to-date in every particular, consisting of brave, fearless and public spirited officials. The remarkably low percentage of crime, and the promptness with which violators of the law are brought to justice in this city must be attributed to a very great extent to the efficiency of our police department.
The Salina fire departmeut is the pride of her people. It is fully manned with skillful, experienced and well paid fire fighters and is equipped with the most modern apparatus necessary to the protection of property.
The industry, enterprise and wealth combined make Salina's growth and importance established facts. One of the assuring signs is the spread of the city - notably in the new manufacturing interests, pavement, underground wire system, extension of water and sewers, fine dwellings, excellent schools and churches, which give the suburban residents every advantage enjoyed by the centrally located resident of the modern city.
Much could be said, would space permit, concerning the various departments, but as before stated they will compare favorably with the most up-to-date metropolitan cities, all apparently working towards the one common end - a grander and more perfect municipality.
In the pages following, will be found accurate and interesting sketches of various industrial and business concerns, representative merchants, those who stand foremost in thought and action in Salina.
Transcribed from Salina, Kansas - past and present, progress and prosperity - Souvenir [Kansas City, Mo.]. Freeman Publishing Company, [191?]. 48p. ill.; 28 cm.
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