As laid out by this company, the town was divided by streets running north and south and east and west. These streets are eighty feet in width, with the exception of First and Main, which are 100 feet each.
The town was located and surveyed. The first building erected was a schoolhouse made of short planks riven from logs and roughly finished. These impromptu boards formed both siding and roof, and though not of the latest pattern, were, in their way, elaborately carved. In this house were held, for several years, all public meetings, religious, scholastic and political, and here the Eureka Debating Society rubbed their wits on the great questions of the day, while the walls were yet ringing with the voice of the singing master.
At this time (1857) no enterprising merchant had established a corner grocery, and stores of all sorts had to be brought by ox team from Kansas City, a distance of 140 miles. The nearest post office was near Burlington, in Osage County, and mail for Eastern friends had to be sent by the chance hand of overland travelers.
Postal Affairs.--The first post office in the county was at Pleasant Grove, and was supplied once a week from Le Roy, Coffey County. Late in 1858, the postal authorities allowed the residents of Eureka an office of their own on condition that they did their own route-carrying. This continued for several months, until supplanted by the official pony-rider.
The post office at Eureka, the first in the county, was opened by Edwin Tucker in 1858. He was followed by James Kenner, S. G. Mead, I. R. Phenis and J. W. Nicholas, the present incumbent, who has held the office for a number of years. Previous officials had made a post office of their places of business, and it was not until Mr. Nicholas took charge that a separate office was established. The room now occupied is in the brick addition to the bank building.
The first store opened in Eureka was the result of a determination on the part of the settlers to combat the reflux tide which was draining the county of settlers, for a natural part of the re-action (sic) after the giant struggle of the war was inimical to new settlements. At this time, James Kenner, who was living on a farm about four miles north of Eureka, was deputed to carry on business for one year, with the understanding that if it interfered too much with farming, the store should, at the end of one year, be turned over to Edwin Tucker.
A stock of goods was procured and brought to town, but it was not until about the 1st of April, 1866, that a cabin could be secured large enough to accommodate them. At the expiration of one year, Judge Kenner turned the stock over to Edwin Tucker, who ran the store about six months, and then sold out to two new comers, Hitchcock & Farris. After a year, these parties sold out to Durkee & Biggs, who at the expiration of two years sold out to G. M. Rizer & Co. This firm continued for five years, when G. M. Rizer became sole proprietor, and so continued until September 1, 1882.
M. L. Ashmore, one of the first settlers in the county, claimed some skill as a physician, but the first regular practitioner in the neighborhood of Eureka was a Dr. Reynolds, who was drowned about 1866, in the Cottonwood. To him succeeded Dr. Tutton, who located here in 1868, and remained a few years. Judge Lillie, one of the first settlers, was an attorney, and coming to Eureka in the spring of 1868, was its first lawyer. Judge Phenis arrived in Eureka in the same year.
Mechanics began to come to Eureka at an early day in its history, a blacksmith named McCartney coming in 1866, and a carpenter named Hawkins in 1867. The first birth in the town was that of Clarence Stoddard, who was born in May, 1869; the first death, Mrs. Mary Stoddard, the mother of this child. The first hotel was built in 1868, at the south of the town, by the Town Company, and was occupied by a Mr. Akers. It was used for hotel purposes until 1882, when it was vacated. The Metropolitan, now the only hotel of the town, was opened by William Green, and after passing through a number of different hands, came, in May, 1882, into those of J. Forrest Hammond, who now keeps it.
Although laid out by the Town Site Company in 1867, Eureka was not incorporated until April 30, 1870, the Trustees being I. R. Phenis, A. F. Nicholas, L. H. Platt, Harley Stoddard and C. A. Wakefield. A year later it assumed the form of a city of the third class, with Ira P. Nye, Mayor, and George H. Lillie, City Clerk. Mayors since that date have been, I. P. Nye, 1872; H. L. Stoddard, 1873; G. H. Lillie, 1874; S. R. Huntington, 1875-76; J. C. Nye and G. H. Lillie, 1877; H. L. Stoddard, 1878-79-80; H. A. Dennis, 1881-82. City Clerks since 1871 are as follows: S. A. Martin, 1872; Z. Harlan, 1873; H. L. Stoddard, 1874; G. F. Dunham, 1875-76; Z. Harlan, 1877; J. W. Kenner, 1878; A. W. Hart, 1879; F. W. Watson, 1880-81-82.
The first term of the District Court convened on the second Tuesday in May, 1867, but adjourned without transacting any business. The second meeting was held in May, 1868, with a good docket. Judge Watson presided, and the bar consisted of Judge G. H. Lillie, of Verdigris, and Judge I. R. Phenis, of Eureka.
Schools and the Press
The first school in the neighborhood of Eureka was opened by Edwin Tucker in December, 1858, and was taught in an old building near the site of the present school. On the burning of this building in 1861, the school was removed to old Fort Montgomery, where Miss Annie Cutter and others taught at irregular intervals. At the close of the war, a stone school building was erected on the site of the present school. Here I. N. Fancher, H. A. Dales and Miss M. J. Clacomb (sic) taught successively. The new schoolhouse was opened under J. F. Troxell, who was succeeded by G. H. Martz,--Robbins, J. M. Ross and Theodore S. Gallagher, the present Principal.
Perched on the highest point in the town, in full view of the graceful rolling bluffs that line the streams in the far and near distance, Eureka's school building is a landmark for many miles. It seems to stand at once aloof from the town and yet within it, and to point silently to the present results of trained intelligence and the great possibilities of the future. The building is of the limestone of the county, cruciform and surmounted by a belfry-cupola. It contains the four rooms of the original plan, and one recently fitted up in the basement to supply the demand (the ceaseless demand of the whole world) for more room. This building was erected in 1873, at a cost of $20,000 - $15,000 secured by bonds of the district, and $5,000 by direct taxation. It is supplemented by a small frame building on the opposite side of the town and just back of the court house. This was built in 1881, and is occupied by a part of the primary department. It is taught by Mrs. Collyer.
The Eureka Herald was the first journalistic venture in the county, and was published by S. G. Mead. Its first issue bears date August, 1866, and has the motto "Be sure you're right--then go ahead." The sheet was a six-column quarto, and so continued until April 29, 1870, when it became a seven-column folio, and July 20, 1871, to an eight-column paper of the same form--a form it still retains. In the issue of September 10, 1874, the title of the publishers was changed to Mead & Dunham, and on February 1, 1877, it became Dunham & Rizer, and January 1, 1882, to H. C. Rizer, under which head it is still issued. It is published Thursdays, and has a circulation of 816 copies.
The Censorial.--The Censorial was a six-column folio, started in September, 1875, in Howard, Elk County, by W. E. Doud, and published there for nineteen weeks, when it was removed to Eureka, where it was published first as an independent, and later as a Democratic sheet, until February, 1878, when it was sold to Wassam & Co., who re-christened it as the Graphic, and ran it until June, 1882, when it passed into the hands of G. C. Rogers, who published it as the Greenwood County Democrat; under this style it is now published, retaining its original form.
The Sun.--Shortly after disposing of the Censorial, W. E. Doud began the publication of another Democratic paper, called the Sun. This paper was a 26x40 seven-column folio, and made its first appearance in May, 1878. It was after a few weeks enlarged to an eight-column, in which form it completed its existence, not by "suffering a sea change into something rare and strange," but by being converted, November 10, 1880, into the Republican.
The Republican.--Born full grown, with the type, material and form of the Sun, the Republican had a fine start in newspaper life. It was owned by the Republican Publishing Company, consisting of W. E. Doud and Clogston & Martin. At the expiration of three months, Doud bought the interest of the others, and became the sole owner. The Republican now has a fine office on the main street, and is doing well, having a circulation of 700. It is published on Friday.
The Christian Church of Eureka was organized on August 20, 1862, by James Kenner, who became its pastor and up to the fall of 1882 continued so (sic) preach for the society from time to time. C. C. Dewese, the present pastor, was called in October, 1882. This church, starting with an enrollment of about twelve, has now upon its books 170. A church edifice, built in 1870, at a cost of $3,700, has a seating capacity of 400. The Sunday school was not organized until December, 1878, but has now a membership of sixty. It is in charge of J. M. Fowler, as Superintendent.
The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized at Eureka in March, 1868, under Rev. J. E. Cohenour. He was succeeded in 1870 by Rev. S. A. Green, who remained one year. During his pastorate, the church building was erected at a cost of $1,345, and dedicated June 30, 1870. The pastors of the church since Mr. Green are as follows: Matthew Fenimore, 1871-72; Allen Buckner, 1872-74; William Bristow, 1874-75; N. S. Buckner, 1875-77; J. B. Lee, 1877-78; T. J. Griffith, 1878 (appointed but never took charge); F. M. Sisson, 1878-80; E. C. Brooks, 1880-81; C. W. Gullett, 1881, to the present.
The first church building having blown down, a new one, built of the stone common near Eureka, was begun, and after several years of labor completed in 1882, at a cost of $8,000. It is 25x60 feet. A Sunday school, having an average attendance of 105, is held weekly, under the superintendence of J. N. Smith. Its total enrollment is 150.
The First Congregational Church of Eureka was organized on October 21, 1868, A. Copeland, G. A. Gordon, S. G. Meed, J. L. Benson and others signing the call. The first pastor of the society, Rev. L. H. Platt, received a call on December 4, 1869, and soon afterward entered upon his duties. On his departure, after several years of arduous labor, his place was filled in turn by Revs. A. Hale, E. Rogers, W. C. McCune, and H. C. Scotford, who still ministers to the church. After the usual financial difficulties incident to such societies on the frontier, the church was, in 1881, freed from debt and made self-supporting. The present membership is 107. A church building was erected in 1870, at a cost of $1,200, and is still in use. The Sabbath school of 150 members is making good progress under the superintendence of H. C. Scotford.
The First Presbyterian Church of Eureka was organized in 1872, with a membership of twenty, and was in charge of Rev. A. D. Jacke. Upon his resignation, it was supplied by various occasional preachers, until Rev. A. H. Lackey became its pastor; on his departure in the spring of 1882, the church was left unsupplied for some time, although services were held regularly. It has a membership of forty. A church edifice erected in 1874, at a cost of $3,000, has a seating capacity of 200. It is located on the corner of Main and Fifth streets. A Sunday school, with an average attendance of seventy, is in charge of Robert Loy.
St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church was begun in August, 1881, and dedicated on October 31, of the same year. The building cost $500. For seven years prior to this time, services had been held in the house of Francis Dailey, by priests from Emporia. As this parish has very few of this faith, there is no resident priest, and services are held on Fridays whenever practicable.
Second Congregational (Colored).--The Second Congregational Church of Eureka was organized on November 16, 1881, under Rev. W. W. Weir, who still remains its pastor. The membership which at the time of organization was nine, is now eleven. Shortly after the organization of the society, a subscription was started for the purpose of raising a building fund. Work was begun on the church in July, 1882, and the structure completed the same year at a cost of $1,000. It has a seating capacity of 150. A Sunday school, organized a short time before the church society, has an average attendance of twenty-five. It is in charge of the pastor.
The first bank opened in Greenwood County was started in the summer of 1870 by one Quackenbush, and continued business until about the first of 1871, when it closed its doors.
The Eureka Bank is the only institution of its kind in the county. It was started in November, 1870, by the firm of Martindale, Tucker & Company, who still own it, although the name has been supplanted by that of Eureka Bank. Its first place of business was a small frame building opposite the court house, where business was transacted until 1879, when the present building was erected. This is 25x75 feet, of brick and stone, and cost $6,000. As this is a private concern, no statement of resources is given but they are well known to be ample.
The Greenwood County Building and Loan Association was started in June, 1881, with sixty-five members and a capital stock limited to $120,000. The object of this association is to make loans for the purpose of erecting buildings or making improvements in the county. The first series of $40,000 was full in April, 1882, and as there were numerous applications for membership, a fresh series was started. The stock is divided into shares of $100. The officers of the society are: J. C. Nye, President; A. Wakefield, Vice President; H. F. Rizer, Secretary; Edwin Tucker, Treasurer. Meetings are held every Saturday night.
The Eureka Mills were built in 1972, by a stock company represented by E. Mahan, and cost $18,600. This may seem a large price for a mill of the size, although a fine one, but it must be remembered that this was years before the advent of the railway, and all the heavy machinery had to be hauled a long distance by wagon. After leasing the mills to various parties, the company finally, in 1878, sold them to W. H. H. Barger. In 1879, Mr. Barger disposed of a half-interest to J. E. Lawther, and in 1882 the remaining half to A. H. Smith. These gentlemen form the present firm. The mill building is 45x45 feet and three stories are four run of buhr stones and a set of rollers for making new-process flour-the only kind manufactured. The mill has a capacity of 100 barrels of flour per twenty-four hours' run. The annual product is about 10,000 barrels.
Eureka is located at 37°49'22N, 96°17'22W (37.822745, -96.289583). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.1 km² (2.0 mi²), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,914 people, 1,278 households, and 756 families residing in the city. The population density was 574.0/km² (1,490.1/mi²). There were 1,561 housing units at an average density of 307.5/km² (798.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.26% White, 0.14% African American, 0.79% Native American, 0.14% Asian, 0.96% from other races, and 1.72% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.64% of the population.
There were 1,278 households out of which 26.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.2% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.8% were non-families. 38.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 21.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.85.
In the city the population was spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 22.4% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 27.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 85.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $26,410, and the median income for a family was $36,667. Males had a median income of $27,066 versus $20,870 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,142. About 9.0% of families and 14.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.4% of those under age 18 and 12.3% of those age 65 or over.
Points of Interest
Eureka is known as the "Racing Capital of Kansas," as it is the home of Eureka Downs, a quarter-horse race track.