William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


[TOC] [part 11] [part 9] [Cutler's History]


City Mills. - in 1867 Messrs. E. K. Blair and W. W. Auld established their present business in their present location. The building is 24X90 feet, fronting on Fourth street, while on the south is a brick elevator of 15,000 bushels capacity. The entire property is valued at $60,000, the machinery which has been improved and renewed several times, costing about $15,000. The mills have four run of stone, their daily manufacture being 150 barrels of flour. The brands of which City Mills makes a specialty are "Alpha" (patent), "City Mills" (fancy), and "White Rose" (family).

Central Mills. - In 1871 Capt. William Bowman and Col. Thomas Murphy erected a large three-story brick building on the corner of Sixth street and Kansas avenue. Col. Murphy dies in 1879, J. S. Kellogg becoming a partner in the business during that year. The Central Mills are now operated by Bowman & Kellogg. The elevator is situated on the south side of the main building. The firm do a large business, there being some $40,000 invested in buildings and machinery. There are seven runs of stone and three sets of rollers, the daily capacity is 200 barrels. Messrs. Bowman & Kellogg employ sixteen hands in their manufactory, and turn out "Ivanhoe Patent," "Central Mills," and "Sterling," as their peculiar brands.

Diamond Mills. - Among the leading manufactories of the city are the Diamond Flour Mills, situated on Main street, between Eighth and Ninth streets. The building is of brick, four stories and basement, and was completed in January, 1879. The main structure is 52X60 feet. Messrs. David Larkins, W. C. North and A. J. North are members of the firm which operates the mills, and although they have been in their present business but a few years, they have so expanded it that their transactions amount to $350,000 per annum. The machinery and arrangements of the building are of the most modern stamp, equipped altogether at an expense of fully $60,000. A large sized Salem engine, six run of stone and three sets of rolls, comprise the most important of their machinery. The building is, moreover, well protected from the dangers of fire. The capacity of the mills is 125 barrels of flour per day, the brands manufactured being "Golden Crown" (patent), "Diamond Gem" (fancy) and " Cyclone" (family). A branch of trade that has been carried on extensively of late is the shipment of corn meal to Texas.

Atchison's Elevators are located in the midst of the finest agricultural region of America; with eight railroads centering here, it is not strange that Atchison has become one of the leading grain markets of the West. From the report of the secretary of the Board of Trade it is learned that the grand total of Atchison's grain trade for the year 1881-82 reached the sum of four million bushels, distributed among the several elevators as follows: Elevator "A," total storage, 1,671,000 bushels; Elevator "B," total storage, 200,000 bushels; Elevator "C," total storage, 175,000 bushels; Atchison Elevator Company, total storage, 1,063,000 bushels; Elevator "D," total storage, 250,000 bushels; Goodell's Elevator, total storage, 1,039,445 bushels; Trimmer's Elevator, total storage, 237,500 bushels. There are two other elevators, from which the figures could not be obtained, but estimating their busness would make the total transactions for the year over 4,000,000 bushels. With fair crops in 1882 and increased railroad facilities a large increase over 1881 may be confidently expected. Sketches of the principal elevators are herewith appended.

Elevator "A," or Atchison Elevator Co., is the pioneer, and was erected by White, Washer & King in the winter of 1875-6. The original firm was Washer & White, and was composed of Sol. R. Washer and George B. White. It was organized in 1868 and commenced business in a little office down near the river. In 1869, C. J. White, son of George B., came in and then the firm became George B. White & Co. In 1870 C. J. White retired, the firm continuing under the name of George B. White & Co. In 1874 S. C. King was admitted and the name was changed to White, Washer & King. In 1878 George B. White retired, and his son C. J. became again a member; in 1879 the firm was again Washer & White. The elevator is located corner of Main and Eleventh streets, north of Central Branch and the A., T. & S. F. tracks, and is easily reached by all the eight railroads centering in Atchison. The storage capacity of the elevator is 80,000 bushels. The engine is thirty-five horse power. It is thoroughly equipped for receiving, cleaning and delivering grain of all kinds rapidly and cheaply. The bulk of the grain handled by this elevator comes from the country tributary to the Central Branch railroad and branches, but they also receive from the A. & N., B. & M., and A., T. & S. F. roads.

Elevator "B" was erected by F. P. Halsey and ready for business October 1, 1877. It was located south of Main street near Tenth, and fronting on the A., T.& S. F. and Central Branch railroad tracks - accessible to all the roads. The structure was substantially built with a warehousing capacity of 20,000 bushels a day, and a holding capacity of 50,000 bushels. On January 1, 1880, the building was destroyed by fire, involving a heavy loss in grain in addition to the house, machinery, etc. The site was disposed of to T. J. Templar & Co., who, when the building was nearly completed failed, and the property passed into the hands of Otis & Co. It will probably be leased to a prominent grain firm. The elevator is divided into two parts, the "high" and the "low." The "low" part is 60X78 feet 54 feet high, and the "high" 30X60 and 95 feet high. The elevator contains forty-eight bins and has a total storage capacity of 200,000 bushels. Cost of building, $35,000.

Elevator "C." The following named gentlemen composed the company organized for the erection of the above-named elevator: W. F. Downs, R. M. Pomeroy, of Boston; Henry Day and A. S. Barnes, of New York. Major Downs is president and general manager and the elevator is operated under his personal supervision. The incorporation of the company was effected in 1878, and the elevator has now operated for two years and a half. The building contains twenty-four large bins, and has a storage capacity of 175,000 bushels. It is equipped throughout with all the new and improved machinery known to the business, and wholly constructed with a view to economy and dispatch in handling grain. The cost of the building was $40,000. At the time Elevator "C" was erected it was the largest and finest in the State, and at the present time there are only two of larger dimensions. It contains seven of Fairbanks' standard scales, four of which are improved track scales. The building is 48X85 feet, and stands 101 1/2 feet high.

Elevator "D." - The erection of this mammoth elevator is mainly due to the sagacity and perseverance of Col. M. Quigg, a citizen of Atchison. It is the largest grain-holding building west of the Missouri river. The building is 50X97 feet and stands 127 feet high, with an 18 foot basement beneath. The engine is of the Corliss make, and is of 200 horse power, with two boilers of immense size. In the construction of the building 750,000 feet of lumber was used, and its storage capacity is 250,000 bushels - 50,000 bushels more than any other elevator in the Missouri Valley. Exclusive of ground and side tracks the building cost $50,000. By the use of one of the newly-invented steam shovels two men can unload a car of grain in four minutes. Two years and a half since Col. Quigg made the first move for the erection of this building and his efforts were promptly seconded by capitalists connected with the A., T. & S. F. railroad. The stockholders are: T. Jefferson Coolidge, Thomas Nickerson, Alden Speare, W. B. Strong, E. Wilder and M. Quigg. More than one hundred thousand dollars have been expended by the stockholders.

Atchison Foundry and Machine Works. - The above is the title of Atchison's most important industrial enterprise. Ten years since, induced by a handsome donation from citizens, Capt. John Seaton, of Alton, Id., removed to Atchison and erected on the corner of Thrid and Park streets the foundry, etc., for the manufacture of architectural work, iron and brass fittings, steam engines, boilers, jalis and sheet iron work. The buildings comprise a two-story brick office, 20X30 feet; machine shops two and a half stories in height, 40X60 feet; iron foundry, 35X100 feet; brass foundry, 20X35 feet; two core ovens, one 12X20 feet, and the other 4X6 feet; a boiler and sheet iron shop, 30X50 feet; a fire-proof pattern store room, 30X50 feet and a brick blacksmith shop, 30X55 feet. The cupola capacity is six tons an hour. This establishment furnished the massive iron work for the Union depot in Atchison, the Union depot at Denver, the Ogden block, the Champion building and many other fine buildings both at home and abroad; has shipped store fronts for many western towns in Kansas, Nebraska and other States. As an evidence of the magnitude of this interest it may be stated that during the years 1881 and 1882 the amount of work done foots up $300,000. Two years since Mr. Lea became a member of the firm and during the past year Seaton & Lea have established a branch foundry at Lincoln, Neb.

Atchison Furniture Co. - This firm commenced business in April, 1876, at their present location, on the corner of Third street and Utah avenue, under the name of the Atchison Furniture Company. The factory was built of brick, 40X64 feet, three stories high, with basement. Adjoining is the engine house, 18X40 feet, containing an engine of twenty-five horse power; a drying room 16X40 supplied with one thousand feet of steam pipe, and facilities for producing a temperature of 200 deg. Fahrenheit. A two-story finishing room, 30X40 feet has been added. The best modern machinery is used in the manufacture of bedsteads, bureaus, washstands, tables, etc. The members of the firm are, S. R. Stevenson, G. H. Farwell and L. H. Sahler - all practical men. They give employment to thirty-five workmen. To accommodate the city trade the company have a handsome salesroom No. 318 Commercial street, where a display of their elegant workmanship is at all times open for inspection. The Atchison Furniture Company employ commercial travelers on the road, and have a large and growing trade in central and western Kansas and Nebraska.

Atchison Sash, Door and Blind Factory. - In the fall of 1878, Messrs. Doane, Marshall & Park commenced near the corner of Eighth street and Kansas avenue, in a two story building erected for the purpose, the manufacture of sash, doors and blinds, mouldings, brackets, scroll and ornamental work of all kinds. They were successful from the start, and were soon, by the press of business, forced to enlarge their quarters. Their factory is 30X45 feet, three stories in height; engine room of stone, 15X25 feet; and a dry kiln, 20X25 feet. Their engine is forty horse-power. All their work is done on order, and besides Kansas, some of their superior articles are used in Missouri, Nebraska and Colorado. They employ fifteen men. The present style of the firm is Marshall & Park; Mr. Doane withdrew from the firm March, 1882.

The Carriage and Wagon-making interests of the city are represented by J. C. McCully, Sixth street; J. J. Potter, on Main street, carriage makers, and George & J. Ostertag, in the wagon-making line. In the aggregate they employ thirty-six men, and sell wagons and carriages to the amount of $40,000. The pioneer in the wagon, plow and buggy trade was Anton Ostertag, who commenced business in Atchison in 1870. The firm now occupy commodious quarters near the corner of Seventh and Commercial streets.

Atchsion Brewery. - From the effects of the State prohibitory law or some other cause, this branch of trade is not as extensive in Atchsion as the reports show it to have been three or four years since. At the present time there is a capacity for brewing an immense amount of beer, but the sales are mostly confined to the city. Where "prohibition prohibits" the trade has been cut off, and at the present time the brewery is not running to its full capacity. Another fact tends to cause the home manufactured article to meet with obstacles. Large consignments are imported into Atchison from the extensive St. Louis, Quincy and Milwaukee breweries. The establishment now in operation is located in the southwest part of the city near Tenth street.

Linseed Oil Works. - This mill was built by Bryning & Sherer (corner of Park and Third streets), in August, 1878. Soon after Mr. Park became a partner by purchasing the interest of Mr. Sherer. The house is built of brick, 30X40 feet, two stories high, with boiler room adjoining, 15X28 feet. They have an engine of twenty-horse power. All the machinery in the mill is first- class. To show the importance of this industry to the farming community it may be stated that when this mill was started four years ago the culture of flax-seed was almost unknown in Atchison County, and at the present time the annual average purchase is seventy thousand bushels. The price paid for the seed is almost one dollar per bushel. From one bushel of seed two gallons of oil are produced. This of course shows the annual production of the mill to be about one hundred and forty thousand gallons of linseed oil, for which a ready sale is found within the borders of Kansas. Messrs. Bryning & Grimes are the present proprietors of the works. And average of fifteen hands are employed. The warehouse of the oil works for the storage and sale of stock is located on Main street, convenient to the railroad tracks.

Cracker Factory. - Nearly four years ago Alfred Welsh commenced the manufacture of crackers on the north side of Kansas avenue between Sixth and Seventh, where he leased a commodious house 60X70 feet. He has gone forward steadily increasing his trade from that time to the present. He gives steady employment to eight men, and makes goods to the amount of $4,500 per month, for which he finds ready sales in Atchison, and on the several lines of railroads centering centering in the commercial metropolis of the State. Wherever introduced his brand of crackers has an excellent reputation.

Flax Mill. - In the fall of 1879, two brothers named Backus purchased nearly a block of ground near the Tenth street bridge, and soon erected a tow factory. Their house is 20X60 feet, and but for the great difficulty in procuring straw, they would long since have had a very large and profitable establishment; but they have never given way to discouragement and every year makes improvements over the preceding year. They have added hemp-breaking to their business, and now manufacture bagging upholsterers' flax and hemp tow. Their product meet ready sale in Atchison, St. Louis and Denver. Backus Brothers have invested $3,000 in machinery, and have purchased since the commencement several hundred tons of flax straw, paying therefore an average of six dollars per ton, and receiving an average of two to three cents per pound.


In September, 1854, the Atchison Town Association assessed each of its one hundred shares of stock $25, that the citizens might be provided with a bona fide hotel. Accordingly during the succeeding spring workmen might have been seen near the corner of Second and Atchsion streets, busily engaged upon a one-story frame structure, with basement. This was christened the National Hotel, and was managed by O. B. Dickerson. In the summer of 1857, the National Hotel was purchased by the New England Aid Society and greatly enlarged. Its sitting room, and the hotel itself, was, all in all, quite a gathering place for politicians. The National Hotel, or the "old National House," as it is now called, still stands on the original site but is occupied as a private dwelling house.

Although the National Hotel had been enlarged and improved to meet the wants of a really increasing "public," work was continued on the new Massasolt House. The stone for the foundation was taken from the bluff terminating on the north side of C street, and the hotel, a large, four-story structure was opened September 1, 1865. Col. Abell seems to have been the principal mover in this enterprise, as in many other schemes for the good of Atchison, and replied, consequently, when the new hotel was "toasted" at the banquet held on the first of this month. Col. Thomas Murphy was the landlord and a popular one. The Massasolt House was destroyed by fire September 1, 1873.

Otis House. - This hotel, the leading one of Atchison, was opened May, 1873. It was built by Mr. Eldredge, of Lawrence, at a cost, with furnishings of $60,000. The building is of brick, four stories, 105 feet on Commercial, by 120 feet on Second, and contains 113 rooms, or accommadations for about 200 guests. The proprietors of the Otis House have been Savage & McDaniel, Eldredge & Everest, George L. Andrews & Co., C. C. Burnes & Co., Moor & Webb, G. L. Webb and Alexanders & Webb. The hotel has a well-deserved and constantly increasing patronage.

The Lindell Hotel is a fine looking brick structure, three stories in height, located on the corner of Utah avenue and Fourth street. The size of the building is 150X40 feet, and the fifty rooms which it contains are large and well ventilated. It was erected by Jacob Len in 1873, and first managed by Col. J. W. Lapier, formerly of the Massasolt and Otis houses. Col. Lapier retired in November, 1881. Mr. Len and David Lugton, formerly of the Otis House, assuming control. The hotel is conveniently situated, and draws its full share of public patronage. The property is valued at $40,000.

Union Depot Hotel. - This new and elegant house extending from Second to Third streets, on Main was opened by J. H. Gardner, in the fall of 1880, and he continued to manage the house until October, 1881, when it was closed until the present proprietors, H. B. Sails & Co., took charge the beginning of 1882. The Union is first-class in every respect. Having leased the St. James as a lodging house, Sails & Co. can accommodate a large number of guests. Attached to the Union and St. James are sixty-five first-class bed rooms.

Atlantic House. - This is one of the first-class hotels of Atchsion, the main building being erected as a private residence. Its size is 45X80, the house being situated on the corner of Utah avenue and Fifth street. The house contains 30 rooms, and comfortable and home-like accommodations for 60 guests. The property is valued at about $13,000, Mrs. N. K. Wakefield is the proprietess.

The Tremont House, a commodious three-story frame building, corner of Second and Main streets, was erected for a hotel in 1860, and has been occupied as a hotel ever since by Mr. John Reisner, the proprietor. The Tremont contains thirty-six rooms, and its central location has always given it popularity.

The Kansas House is a new two-story and basement brick, build for a hotel in 1881, by Patrick Langan, and contains fifteen rooms. It is located on the northeast corner of Ninth and Main streets.

The Pacific House, corner of Fourth and Main streets, a two-story and basement brick house, located within ten rods of the Union Depot, has been occupied as a hotel for two and a half years by George Iverson, Jr. The Pacific has a large number of day boarders, and ample accommadations for transient guests.

The Avenue House, on Kansas, between Sixth and Seventh streets, was erected for hotel purposes in 1867. The earliest managers were Mrs. Harrison and Mrs. Stokes. J. G. Hutchinson, the present popular proprietor has conducted its affairs for the past three years. The Avenue is noted for its quiet comforts.

In the year 1871, the opera house, known as Corinthian Hall, was erected by Judge C. G. Foster, of Topeka, C. J. Drury and Dr. J. M. Linley, of Atchison. The hall occupies the second story of a block on the west side of Fourth street, between Kansas avenue and Commercial street. Corinthian Hall has seventy-five feet front, is eighty feet deep, and has a seating capacity of six hundred. The stores below are occupied by Frank Howard and Jansen & Co.

Turner Hall, located southeast corner of Kansas avenue and Sixth street, was erected by the Turner Society in 1867. The house is two stories in height, the lower story of which is used as a gymnasium, and the upper floor, 45X70 feet, for concerts, balls, etc. The society employ a teacher of gymnastics, who in addition to members of the Turners' organization, gives instruction to a class of seventy-five pupils. Connected with the premises is a garden, one hundred and fifty feet square, supplied with water and gas, that is a fashionable resort during the summer months.

[TOC] [part 11] [part 9] [Cutler's History]