La Cygne was incorporated as a village January 14, 1870, with the following Board of Trustees: B. S. Heath, Henry Priser, D. S. Bentley, W. H. Hesser, and Bona Dale, and E. A. Foot, Clerk. In the fall of that year, it being ascertained that La Cygne had inhabitants enough, the town organized as a city of the third class, by electing, August 23, E. A. Foot, Mayor, and the following Councilmen: George W. Moore, Henry Priser, W. E. Moore, H. Dellinger and John Howard; T. W. Williamson was elected Clerk; W. E. Moore, Treasurer; and J. V. Dobson, City Marshal. Since that time, the following gentlemen have been successively elected Mayors of La Cygne: Henry Dellinger, elected in 1871; Henry Briser, in 1872; J. S. Lane, 1873;W. A. Jones, 1874; J. S. Lane, 1875; I. Croxton, 1876; Robert Slater, 1877 and 1878; J. V. Donaldson, 1878 and 1880; S. D. Cady, 1881; J. V. Donaldson, 1882.
Just before the laying-out of the town site, Mr. Chetland built a store, and immediately afterward S. D. Cady erected a building for the purpose of carrying on the dry goods business. The next business house, erected also in the fall of 1869, was by J. J. Starks and Henry Briser. At the end of six months, they dissolved partnership, and Mr. Starks erected, in 1871, the first brick building in the town, designed also for the dry goods business. In 1869, W. A. Jones started a hardware store, Lyman Dearborn a furniture store, and George J. Miller a produce and grocery store. The first hotel was the Walker House, built by J. A. Walker. The second was the La Cygne House, built in 1869-70, by Joseph Goss.
Quite a number of dwelling houses were built in 1869, and a few more pretentious residences in the same year by Henry Briser, Dr. A. Davis, B. S. Heath and others. The first school in La Cygne was taught in 1869, by Miss Webb, in Cady's Hall. This was a subscription school, and was continued until the fall of 1870, when a public schoolhouse was built. In the year 1871, a large, two story brick schoolhouse was built at a cost of $10,000. The school in this building has been graded from the first. The successive Superintendents have been I. N. Moon, Mr. Coates, J. H. G. Weaver, G. W. Botkin and I. D. Elliott.
The first physician was Dr. Seaton, who built a house in 1869-70; the next, Dr. B. S. Heath, a member of the original town company, and then Dr. J. H. Sanford. The first lawyer in La Cygne was J. D. Holden, from Wisconsin, now of Emporia; the next the firm of Watson & McArthur; then J. V. Donaldson, present Mayor, who came in the summer of 1870., and then James D. Snoddy, who came in the spring of 1871.
Churches and Other Local Matters
The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1870, with ten members, by Rev. J. Biddison, who erected the church building and parsonage. The former is a frame building, 24x60 feet, and cost $1,000; the latter cost $600. This church has been somewhat unfortunate in its ministers, most of them having been men whom the patrons of the church could not commend as men. Revs. Biddison, Noah Asher and John Kirby were notable exceptions. The church is now composed of sixty members, and although not in a flourishing condition, is as able as ever to appreciate true worth and Christian manhood in its ministers. The troubles are chargeable to the conference, or are attributable to the lack of proper material in the ranks of the Methodist ministry.
The first Superintendent of the Sunday school which was organized in 1870, was J. I. Foot. The present membership of the school is sixty-five.
The Presbyterian Church was organized in 1870 with five members, by Elder W. H. Vroom, who preached the first sermon and remained until 1874. He was succeeded by Revs. James Mitchell, in 1875; Mr. Mayon in 1877; H. M. Green, in 1879, who remained until 1881. The corner-stone of the building was laid in July, 1871, and the edifice completed in the following fall. It is a frame building, 28x44 feet, seats 400 people, and cost $1,400. The highest membership has been forty, present fifteen.
A Sunday school was organized in 1870, first Superintendent, Benjamin Shuart, present membership of the school, sixty. The Baptist Church was organized in 1870, Rev. Alfred Gore preaching the first sermon. A Catholic Church was organized about the same time, but it has been discontinued.
The La Cygne Flouring Mill was built in 1870 by Chatterson & Hungerford. In 1880, it became the property of D. Coonrad, with Phil Coonrad, manager. The building is three stories high, and with the machinery cost $9,000. It is supplied with "patent process" machinery, put in 1882, at a cost of $3,000. The capacity of the mill is eighty barrels of flour per day.
A bank was started in 1870 by S. D. Cady, called the Farmers' Savings Bank. It was conducted by him until 1871, when a stock company was organized, of which S. D. Cady was elected President, and F. M. Davis, Cashier. This company erected a brick building, and in 1874 S. D. Cady purchased the stock and continued the business under the firm name of S. D. Cady & Co. He afterward sold out to Ellis & Saunders, who now conduct the business under the name of the Linn County Bank.
Shortly after the starting of the Farmers' Savings Bank, Bentley, Pratt & Moore started a private bank and carried on the business until 1877, when a stock company was organized, of which G. F. Hamlin was elected President, and W. E. Moore, Cashier. This company carried on the banking business successfully until March, 1879, when it was discontinued.
In 1879, a building association in the form of a stock company was organized for the purpose of erecting business houses. J. V. Donaldson was elected President, and H. W. Cooper, Secretary. A two-story brick block was erected at a cost of $16,000, which is occupied by excellent stores. In the upper story of one of these buildings is an elegant hall, 40x80 feet, 18 feet high, with a truss roof.
The La Cygne Organ Factory was started in 1880, by Swisher & Shrake. Up to the present time, the business of making organs has been carried on on a small scale, but there is good ground for encouragement. A reed organ of any size, style and price can be obtained at this factory.
Coal. - In July, 1881, a few of the citizens of La Cygne raised the sum of $1,000 and gave it as a bonus to Mr. George Morely, a practical miner, to sink a shaft in search for coal. This shaft is located one-half mile north of the town. It was sunk to the depth of one hundred and twenty feet, when a thirty-six inch vein of excellent coal was found. A company for mining organized, consisting of Morely & Son & Cady. This company purchased considerable ground, and in the winter of 1881-82 Mr. Cady became sole proprietor. Another stock company was organized in the south part of the town, and another shaft sunk, with similar results. Both shafts are now leased to a mining company from Illinois, and the coal sold at the mine at about $2.25 per ton.
Silver, etc. - In the year 1872, acting upon the advice of the spirit of an Indian chief, the advice being communicated through a Spiritualistic medium, a company sunk a shaft on "Silver Mound," with the hope of finding silver. The owner of the land was offered $100 per acre for forty acres of land, which offer he refused. About $3,000 was expended in sinking the shaft to the depth of about one hundred feet, without avail, and the project was abandoned. Acting under a similar hallucination, a young man spent $15,000 in a fruitless search for lead in Potosi Township. From these experiences, we may conclude that the "clairvoyance" of the living or the dead is not a much safer guide than enlightened reason.
La Cygne Lodge, No. 61, A., F. & A. M., was originally located at Twin Springs, where it was chartered in 1867. It was chartered at La Cygne, October 20, 1870. Its first officers here were Thomas Preston, W. M.; D. Underhill, Jr., S. W.; A. G. Scaman, J. W.; S. D. Cady, Secretary; I. N. Lemen, Treasurer. The present membership is fifty-three.
La Cygne Lodge, No. 66, I. O. O. F., was chartered October 17, 1870, with seven members. It now has sixty-one, and has lost by death only four. The charter officers were Morris Davidson, N. G.; J. H. Sifers, V. G.; W. H. Ellis, Secretary, and B. F. Smith, Treasurer.
The La Cygne Weekly Journal. - The first number of this paper was issued June 18, 1870, by L. C. Carey and J. P. Kenea. Mr. Carey having died September 17, 1872, it was then published by Mr. Kenea and his sister, Mrs. Carey, until March 22, 1873; then by Mr. Kenea and Rev. Albert Gore until March 14, 1874; then by Kenea & Carey until November 28, 1874; then by Kenea & Gore until March 20, 1875; then by Kenea & Carey until July 17, 1875, and from July 24, 1875, to the present time by Kenea and Ed. C. Lane. The paper was started as a six-column folio; November 26, 1870, it was enlarged to a seven-column, and to an eight-column in September, 1875. The paper has always been Republican.
Ed. C. Lane was born in Kendall County, Ill., August 11, 1855, and lived in Bristol, that county, until 1872; received a common school education; learned the printer's trade in the office of the Kendall County Record; then worked in the Beacon office, Aurora, Ill., and in the Courier office, Lockport, Ill. In 1872, he went into business with his father, L. H. Lane, in Prescott, Linn co., Kan., and in 1875 bought an interest in the La Cygne Journal, which he still retains, and of which paper he is one of the editors; is a Mason, and a Republican; was a delegate to the Kansas Republican State Conventions of 1880 and 1882, and a member of the Second Kansas District Republican Congressional Committee from 1880 to 1882.
Late in the fall of 1882 a destructive fire occurred in La Cygne, burning the following buildings: A. Friedman, unoccupied building; George J. Miller, building rented for real estate office and building occupied by George Eyer, grocer; H. Dellinger & Co., harness shop; D. Coonrad, mill office; William Sharon, partial stock of groceries; Judson & Davis, building and furniture; I. Croxton, billiard hall; B. Seaton, buildings containing Porter's barbershop and Tilgner's meat market; Robert Whisner, billiard hall; F. W. Pollman, meat market; C. C. Atkinson, dental office; Burton & Brothers' restaurant; Darius Ross, barbershop; David Gow, boot and shoe shop; George F. Hamlin, two-story frame building, unoccupied; Nivison & Seymour, billiard hall; D. S. Kelly, three buildings rented for harness shop, carpenter shop and doctor's office. A clean sweep was made on the west side of Broadway, from Market to Walnut. The Gulf depot caught fire on the roof. The roof of the La Cygne House was covered with sparks, and several buildings including the post office adjacent to the scene of the conflagration, had a narrow escape. The losses foot up to about $20,000; insurance, $2,600.
La Cygne is located at 38°20'49N, 94°45'44W (38.346841, -94.762171). The city is situated on the east bank of the Marais des Cygnes River and only a few miles southwest of the city of Linn Valley. It is four miles west of U.S. Route 69 on K-152; La Cygne Lake is east of US-69. A track for BNSF Railway passes through the city. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.6 km² (1.4 mi²), all land.
La Cygne's population was estimated to be 1,146 in the year 2005, an increase of 29, or +2.6%, over the previous five years.
As of the U.S. Census in 2000, there were 1,115 people, 459 households, and 294 families residing in the city. The population density was 309.7/km² (800.4/mi²). There were 507 housing units at an average density of 140.8/km² (363.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.68% White, 1.43% Native American, 0.27% Black or African American, 0.27% Asian, 0.27% from other races, and 1.08% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.72% of the population.
There were 459 households out of which 31.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.4% were married couples living together, 7.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.3% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 89.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $34,479, and the median income for a family was $44,118. Males had a median income of $30,900 versus $19,803 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,880. About 5.0% of families and 9.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.9% of those under age 18 and 23.4% of those age 65 or over.
La Cygne is in the Prairie View school district (USD 362), with five schools, serving more than 1,000 students. The three schools located in the city are: