Post Civil War in Miami County Kansas
If you’re a railroad buff, you can learn all about Osawatomie’s deep railroad history at the Osawatomie Railroad Museum, which is filled with lots of early artifacts for railroad buffs and newbies alike. The St. Louis-Kansas-Arizona rail line reached town in 1879 and later became Union Pacific. In fact, Union Pacific became a major employer here for years and still operates a large switching operation in Osawatomie.
Excerpts taken from William G. Cutler’s History of the State of Kansas was first published in 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL
Miami County is traversed by two railroads-the Missouri River, Fort Scott & Gulf, and the southwest and runs into Anderson County. The first vote on issuing bonds was cast the capital stock of the Kansas and Neosho Valley Railroad Company, and to pay for the election was held on the proposition to subscribe $100,000 to the capital stock of the Paola & Fall River Railroad, and $125,000 to that of the Paola & State Line Railroad, Miami County is traversed by two railroads-the Missouri River, Fort Scott & Gulf, and the issuing to each road an amount of county bonds equal to the county’s subscription to its Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad. The former runs through the county from north to stock, upon the condition that the roads be constructed by January 1, 1871. The vote southwest and runs into Anderson County. The first vote on issuing bonds was cast Railroad” was subsequently changed to the “Missouri, Kansas & Texas” On July 27, 1870, November 7, 1865, and resulted in favor of the proposition to subscribe for $150,000 of November 7, of the Kansas and Neosho Valley Railroad Company, and to pay for the election was held on the proposition to subscribe $100,000 to the capital stock of the Paola & Fall River Railroad, and $125,000 to that of the Paola & State Line Railroad, issuing to each road an amount of county bonds equal to the county’s subscription to its stock, upon the condition that the roads be constructed by January 1, 1871. The vote Railroad” was subsequently changed to the “Missouri, Kansas & Texas” On July 27, 1870, a contract was made between the county and this company by which $75,000 in stock and bonds were to be exchanged when the railroad should be constructed from the east line of the State to Paola, and $50,000 when the road should reach the west line of the county. On October 4, a vote was taken on extending the time for the completion of the road from January 1, 1871, to October, for its completion to Paola, and to July 1, 1872, for its completion to the west line of the county. On August 1, preceding this election, the $75,000 in the stock of this road issued to the county was sold back to the company for $5. The $150,000 in the stock of the Kansas & Neosho Valley Road (now the Missouri River, Fort Scott, & Gulf), had been previously sold for a like sum, $5. On the 21st of June, 1871, a contract was made with the Paola & Fall River Railroad by which the road was to be completed by July 1, 1872. The company failing to complete its road before the expiration of the time, the $100,000 in bonds, hitherto issued, were called in, canceled and destroyed, July 3, 1872; as were likewise, at the same time, $50,000 issued to the Missouri, Kansas & Texas, that company having failed to complete its proposed extension west of Paola. The sum total of county bonds issued to railroads, and not called in, comprises $150,000 to the Missouri, Fort Scott & Gulf Road and $75,000 to the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Road, in all $225,000. Of this amount $7,200 was paid in July, 1882, leaving outstanding $117,800, the annual interest of which at seven percent, is $15,246. The assessed value of all railroad property, is $450,742, the taxes upon which, at three percent, amount to $13,522.26, nearly enough to pay the interest on the bonds.
This is, however, slightly modified by the fact that Osawatomie Township issued $15,000 in bonds to the St. Louis, Arizona & Texas, the successor of the Paola & Fall River Railroad. The company fulfilling the conditions of the grant by completing its road by January 1, 1880. This road is now a part of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas.
- 1860 – Dr.George Brown, editor of the Lawrence Herald of Freedom, recalled stories about an oil spring in Lykins (renamed Miami County in 1861) County. Brown, who had arrived a few years earlier from the Pennsylvania oil regions, gathered a few partners and drilled three shallow wells one mile east of Paola. After two dry holes, when the third well reached about 100 feet deep on the Wea Baptist Mission grounds owned by Dr. David Lykins, about 200 yards from the actual mission site, it produced a few barrels of oil. But the Civil War ended his quest for oil riches.
Although other exploration companies returned to Miami County after the war, it would be almost two decades before Kansas became a producing state — thanks to a natural gas discovery.
- 1882 – Natural gas was discovered near Paola. Kansas Oil and Mining Company was formed and made borings on the farm of A. Westfall 7 miles east of Paola “Gas was found of sufficient quantities to light a city of one million people.”
- March 3, 1886 – “Paola was lighted with Gas” The pipeline was completed from the Westfall farm to the square and a grand illumination was held.
- February 4, 1887 – “The city council held a meeting Friday night and among other important matters attended to was one instructing the light committee to purchase 50 lamps to be placed on the main thoroughfares, at the cost of $8.75 apiece, said lamps will be illuminated by natural gas. This is what we have waited for, for some time and we are glad the improvement will be made. It speaks well for the enterprise and push of Paola and is a move in the right direction.”
- March 18, 1887 – “Natural gas is Paola’s Mascot.”
- April 15, 1887 – “T. S. McLachlin adapts a plan for using natural gas as fuel at the Roller Mill, the first mill west of the Mississippi to use natural gas as fuel.”
- April 22, 1887 – “Paola has the cheapest fuel in Kansas. Natural gas is superior to anything for convenience and cheapness, and we have it in immense volume, sufficient to supply all the manufactories that can crowd into the county. We earnestly invite inspection and comparison.”
- April 29, 1887 – “A streetcar line will be built from the Gulf depot to the east limits of the purchase, a boulevard established throughout its entire length.”
- May 6, 1887 – “The abandoned well in the Boon Field still remains a wonder. The well is full of mud and water and the gas flow is so strong as to cause the water to flow out at the top of the pipe, which is ten feet above the surface and when the gas is ignited it will blaze at least forty feet high.”
- May 6, 1887 – “Paola has seven hotels, seven churches, gas street lamps, seven miles of water mains, and sixty hydrants.”
- May 13, 1887 -“A GUSHER- The Paola Gas Company strikes a phenomenal supply of natural gas in the Boon Field. The most remarkable flow of natural gas ever found in the west was struck in well No. 2 in the Boon Field.”
- May 20, 1887 – “Paola is known as the great gas center of the west. Our friends up at the Gate City are realizing the fact Paola is a good substantial place in which to invest capital.”
- May 27, 1887 – “The Paola Gas Company furnishes their gas to Paola and run it seven miles into town. They have the whole town lighted with it, and now furnish two hundred stoves in the city with fuel, and also a large flouring mill, which is supplied by six half-inch burners. The capacity of this mill is one hundred barrels of flour a day. This Paola business seems to be one of the most wonderful achievements made with natural gas west of the Mississippi River.”- Missouri & Kansas Farmer
- May 30, 1887 – Quote: What?! A City of 10,000; Yes, Paola will be a city of 10,000 in less than five years!”
- June 20, 1887 – “Bond elections for the Paola Glass Company passes with virtually no opposition. Building to commence immediately.”
- June 24, 1887 – “NATURAL GAS JUBILEE: Grand preparations being made to celebrate on Tuesday, June 28, 1887. The first natural gas celebration ever held in the west will take place in Paola next week.”
- June 24, 1887 – “Natural gas arches will be built across the four corners of the square, which will be illuminated with natural gas.”
- June 24, 1887 – “The Paola Gas Company makes a liberal offer to manufactories that cannot fail of good results. They will give natural gas free for one year to any manufactories locating in Paola that will employee one hundred hands.”
- June 28, 1887 – Paola celebrated its first Natural Gas Jubilee. Excursion trains brought nearly 2,000 people to town to witness the wonders of natural gas by visiting the Boon gas wells just east of town, attending an auction of new town lots, feasting on a free lunch provided by the townspeople, and enjoying an evening “grand illumination” of gas street lights, specially-built gas arches and home displays, like the one of S. D. Condon.. the gas was attached to a yard sprinkler by a rubber hose, and when it was ignited there appeared nests of small blazes which were beautiful and attractive.
- July 8, 1887 – “A Grand celebration was given in Paola last Tuesday. It was a general jollification of the grand achievement that has been accomplished in the city with natural gas. The streets were greatly illuminated and the great day was one that will remain in history as the acme of a great demonstration. Paola has many enterprising and wealthy citizens and she is bound to build up.”- LaCygne Leader.
- June 25, 2005 – The Citizens of Paola will again celebrate a Natural Gas Jubilee as part of its four Sesquicentennial events. The one-day festival, located on Paola’s Historic Park Square, will focus on the events surrounding the natural gas fever of 1887, including re-enactment of the town tour through free carriage rides, visiting dignitaries, 500 free box lunches, and a walking tour of displays that tell the story of
- Paola’s Natural Gas heritage from 1882-1887 – The day concludes with a free performance by the 35th Military Band, also celebrating their 150th year of National Guard Service, dressed in military uniforms ranging from the Civil War to Iraqi Freedom and playing music and sharing love letters from the same period. Additional highlights include a display of early gas artifacts (courtesy of Kansas Gas Service) held at the Miami County Historical Museum, tours of the Washburn designed 1898 Miami County Courthouse, a display at the Sheriff’s Office of 150 Years of Miami County Law Enforcement, and including period demonstrators and vendors.