Nowhere in America were two colonies more unlike
than those that came here. Scarlet-coated Britishers
who chased antelope on bob-tailed ponies were joined
by frugal and hard-working German-Russian immigrants.
A Scotsman, George Grant, with 69,000 acres purchased
from the railway, offered country estates to aristocrats.
The immigrants came for religious freedom and to escape
the czar's army. Cricket and Hays City dance halls
delighted one colony, homestead rights and the steppe-like
prairie the other. Victoria, established 1873, was
named for a queen and laid out by a London architect.
Herzog, just north, established 1876, was built of sod
and named for a Volga village. By 1880, most of the
aristocrats had moved on, and Herzog took over Victoria.
Achievements here were: introduction of Aberdeen
Angus cattle to the U. S. by Grant; pioneer crops of
hard winter wheat by the immigrants.

Victoria now includes both towns. Its Catholic church,
St. Fidelis, is widely known as the "Cathedral of the
Plains." In a cemetery one-fourth mile west are graves
of track workers
massacred by Cheyennes in 1867.

Erected by the Kansas Historical Society and State Highway Commission

Ellis County
Historical marker on old US40
Ellis County


September 13, 2000 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas /

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