|KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS|
The county of Reno was first created by the State Legislature, early as March, 1868 and the name Reno conferred upon it in honor or that gallant soldier, Gen. Reno, who fell in the battle of Gettysburg. The territorial limits were established as follows: "Commencing where the south line of Township 23 south, intersects the east of Range 5 west; thence south with said range line to the southwest corner of Sedgwick County; thence west to the east of Range 11 west; thence north with said range line to the south line of Township 22, thence east to the place of beginning." In 1872 the State Legislature made the following changes: Five Congressional townships were taken from the south end of Rice County, two from the southwest corner of McPherson County, four from the northwest corner of Sedgwick County, and added to Reno County, while three tiers of townships were detached on the south and added to the present county of Kingman.
The provisional organization of the county was effected January 1, 1872, by the appointment, by the Governor, of C. C. Benis, W. H. Bell, Thomas Allen as a Board of County Commissioners, and A. C. Kles, County Clerk. At a special election held January 6, 1872, at which 112 votes were cast, C. C. Hutchinson was erected as a Representative to the State Legislature. On February 3, of the same year the momentous question as to the location of the county seat was effectually settled by a unanimous vote, the result of which gave the honor to Hutchinson. Another special election was held March 12, at which the following County officials were chosen: A. C. Kies, County Clerk; Harry Hodgson, District Clerk; Charles Collins, Sheriff; W. E. Hutchinson, Superintendent of Public Instruction; S. H. Hammond, Register of Deeds; W. W. Updegraff, Probate Judge; Luther Dodge, Surveyor; C S. Martin, Coroner; L. Houk, County Attorney, and C. C. Bemis, W. H. Bell and W. J. Vansickle, County Commissioners.
At this time a sub-division of the county into municipal townships had not been made, and at an election held April 16, 1872, the following township officers were elected, and had jurisdiction over the entire county, as Reno Township: Peter Shafer, Trustee; D. B. Miller, Treasurer; S. N. Parker, Clerk; J. Rhoades and D. D. Olmstead, Justices of the Peace, and John McMurray and J. Brown, Constables. At a meeting of the county Board, October 8, 1872, Valley Township was organized and an election ordered to he held November 14, 1872, but "owing to a disastrous prairie fire and other calamities," it did not take place until January 3, 1873. At a meeting held April 12, 1873, the following named townships were laid off: Nickerson (changed to Grant, May 20, 1873), Little River, Haven, Castleton and Clay. September 1, 1873, Lincoln and Centre townships were organized. Salt Creek, Meford, Westminster, Langdon and Troy townships were organized March 24, 1974. At this time the subdivision of the county was complete, but owing to the increase in population and the size of the townships, changes have been made in the boundaries, and new townships formed, as follows: Grove Township, October 3, 1876; Grant and Reno townships, January 8, 1877; Loda and Sumner townships, July 3, 1877; Hayes Township, October 6, 1877; Albion Township, October 8, 1878; Bell Township, October 17, 1878; Enterprise Township, April 9, 1879; Rosco and Plevna, July 9, 1879; Arlington Township, January 4, 1881.
During the spring of 1872 a petition was circulated among the legal voters of the county asking that an election be ordered held, for the purpose of determining the feasibility of issuing bonds to the amount of $60,000, to be used as follows: $15,000 for a court house; $35,000 for a bridge across the Arkansas at Hutchinson, an iron bridge across the Little Arkansas, and two iron bridges across Cow Creek; and $10,000 to pay the first year's interest on the bonds and current expenses, which could not be provided for by taxation. At an election, held April 25, the three propositions were separately submitted, and the bonds were carried by majorities of eighty-eight, ninety-five and eighty-seven respectively. The contract for building the bridges was let to the King Bridge Company on the 8th day of June, who completed them in the fall of the same year.
The contract for building the court house was let to W. E. Hutchinson, July 27, 1872. Work was begun on the building and continued until the fall of the same year, when, owing to a change in the original plans, including the addition of an iron jail in the basement, it was claimed that the amount voted, was not sufficient to complete the building. A second bond election was ordered, held December 21st, at which the following propositions were submitted to the voters: Shall bonds to the amount of $7,000 be issued for the completion the court house; $2,000 for a bridge across the Ninnescah; and $9,000 for general expense. The intelligent voters decided that they should, the proportion being carried by majorities of seventy, fifty- three and forty-nine respectively, in a total vote of 252; a falling off more than 100 from the preceding general election. The court house, as completed, is large two-story brick and stone building 40x60 feet, and stands to-day as a monument of Western enterprise and progress. In the basement is located the jail, which Is constructed in a solid and substantial manner.
November 18, 1873, bonds to the amount of $10,000 were voted for the purpose of establishing an asylum for the county poor. Owing to the grasshopper visitation in 1874 it was deemed advisable to use the amount above mentioned in aiding those who had lose all from the ravages made by the afore said 'hopper.
The first division of the county into commissioners' Districts was made August 13, 1874, and included the following: District No. 1 - Grant, Little River, Clay, Valley and Reno townships; District No. 2 - Castleton, Lincoln and Haven; District No. 3 - Balance of the county.
The first term of the District Court for Reno County was opened August 14, 1872, in temporary court house erected by the county, Judge W. R. Brown presiding. There were also present L. Houk, County Attorney; H. Hodgson, District Clerk; Chas. Collins, Sheriff: Jno. McMurray, Under Sheriff. The first case taken up was that of Chas. Meyers, indicted for running a gambling house. Only two or three important cases were tried during the period.
Under the faithful administration of the different sets of county officials, who have up to the present time been careful and efficient in their several capacities, the county of Reno is to be congratulated for the excellent condition of affairs in its official organization. The present county official roster is as follows: Clerk, W. R. Marshall; Treasurer, Wilson Mandless: Register of Deeds, Jno. Payne; Probate Judge, S. B. Zimmerman; Clerk of District Court, E. S. Handy; Attorney, R. A. Campbell; Coroner, A. W. McKinney; Surveyor, J. M. Harsha; Superintendent, E. L. Jewell; Sheriff, J. M. Hedrick; Commissioners, E. W. Elliot, A. M. Switzer, Elmer and Everett.
SCHOOLS AND COUNTY SOCIETIES.
Early In 1872, District No. 1 was organized, and embraced Hutchinson and vicinity, Its territorial limits being at that time similar to its present boundaries. In connection with the district a select school was opened in Hutchinson by Miss Jennie Hodgson, in a frame building on Main street. Other districts were soon organized, principally north of the river. In March, 1873, District No. 2 issued bonds to the amount of $1,000, and a schoolhouse was soon erected. South of the river, District No. 17 was the first to issue bonds and build a schoolhouse. Bonds to the amount of $800 were issued May 17, 1873, for that purpose. At the first county election, held March 12, 1872, W. E. Hutchinson was elected as County Superintendent, but resigned his position July 6, of the same year. D. M. Hunt was appointed his successor, but he too resigned, August 2, 1872. He was succeeded by Alexander Lynch, who officiated the remainder of the year. January 1, 1873, Taylor Flick entered upon his arduous duties as Superintendent. During his official career in that capacity, a large portion of the county was divided into school districts. His labors deserve credit, but his records censure. J. P. Cassidy, the next incumbent, officiated from January 1, 1874, until the summer of 1876, when on account of pressing and urgent business he was suddenly obliged to leave the country. The remainder of his term was filled by L. Hook. The next four years, the office was acceptably filled by J. W. Kanaga. E. L. Jewell, the present Incumbent, was elected November 3, 1880, and is now in his second term. The following statistical information will show that the educational interests in Reno County have kept pace with her prosperity: In the 103 organized school districts in the county there are 109 school houses, four of which were erected in 1882, at a combined cost of $6,188. Out of the 4,267 persons within school age, 3,406 were enrolled as pupils, and 116 teachers are employed, at an average salary of - males, $35.35; females, $29.44. During the year, $6,673 in bonds were issued, making the total bonded indebtedness $45,662. $32,756.47 was received of the school year ending July, 1882 and of this amount $28,389.14 was expended for the laudable purpose - the educational interests in Reno County.
Reno County Agricultural and Joint Stock Association. - The first attempt towards organizing a Fair Association was made as early as January 18, 1873, when an organization was effected and the following officers elected: B. F. Evarts, president; M. Hoagland, vice-president; James M. Leidigh, recording secretary; J. H. Lawson, corresponding secretary; C. W. Clapp, treasurer; F. Amens, librarian. Neither records nor traditions state whether this organization ever held a fair or exhibition of any kind. It is averred, however, that agricultural exhibitions were held during the years 1876 and 1877. A society known as the "Reno County Agricultural and Joint Stock Association" was incorporated September 2, 1878, with a capital stock of $2,000. Following were the first officers and directors: W. McCandless, president; B. J. Cole, vice-president; H. Raff, treasurer; E. S. Handy, secretary; (no librarian); and Z. Tharp, S. A. Atwood, Charles Collins, A. S. Dimock, A. L Kellogg, directors. During the same year the society purchased a tract of twenty acres adjoining the city on the east, and since that time have expended about $1,000 on improvements. The present officers are A. S. Dimcock, president; A. M. Switzer, vice- president; W. R. Marshall, treasurer; R. M. Easley, secretary; J. W. Kanaga, corresponding secretary; directors, William Astile, E. W. Elliott, C. L. Easley, S. A. Atwood, G. L. Dye.
The city of Hutchinson, sometimes known at the "gate city," and the metropolis and county seat of Reno County, is pleasantly located at a point where the A., T. & S. F. Railway strikes the Arkansas River. The city proper is located on both sides of Cow Creek, a stream that is utilized for its water power. The appellation of the "Belle of the Arkansas Valley," has often been given to this place, situated as it is, in a country tributary to it, teeming with "milk and honey." But a little over ten years old, Hutchinson, with a population of 3,000, shows to-day convicting evidence of prosperity, in its magnificent business blocks, school buildings, court house, manufacturing establishments and private residences.
EARLY AND GENERAL HISTORY.
Twenty-five years ago, C. C. Hutchinson, came to Kansas and identified himself with her early history. He was prominent in the early history of Lawrence, and was the founder of Ottawa, Franklin County. Mr. Hutchinson was also author of "The Resources of Kansas," a work so valuable that the State Legislature passed a bill authorizing the purchase of 2,500 copies. During the building of the A., T. & S. Fe road westward from Topeka, he watched its progress carefully, and when the grade stakes of the present line were set prior to October, 1871, he closed a contract with the company for the purchase of Section 13, Township 23, Range 6, in Reno County. At that time the terminus of the road was at Newton, and when Mr. Hutchinson came out there was no wagon road, and to reach this site of this embryo city he followed the line of stakes set by the railroad engineers. On his arrival he found a few families in the immediate vicinity of the prospective of the town site. Captain D. Bell was located one mile north, George Laverty on the east, and two young men from Boston, who were occupying a small shanty used as a store, on the claim of A. F. Homer, adjoining the town on the west. Shortly his arrival he was followed by his cousin, W. E. Hutchinson who immediately took charge of the work of surveying off the town site, which up to this time had not been commenced. In all the contracts and deeds, a clause was inserted to the effect, that all lots and improvements there on would revert back to the original owner in case the owner sold or gave away spirituous or malt liquors prior to 1875. At that expiration of that time limited to, it was expected that the moral sentiment of the people would control the liquor traffic. In direct antagonism to this clause, a saloonist from Newton, opened the first business (?) enterprise in the place, by pitching a tent on the town site, and opening a stock of goods, consisting of a barrel of "go-as-you-please whiskey." that time there was no county organization, consequently no county officers, and the founder of the town was perplexed as to what to do in the matter. The affair was suddenly ended by the action of Charles Collins, Deputy United States Marshal, who arrested the parties, took them to Newton and turned them over to a United States Commissioner.
The first lumber arrived on the town site November l2, 1871, and was a part of a building owned by A. F. Hormer, the first building put up in Rossville, on the Kansas Pacific Railroad. It was moved from there to Florence on the A., T. & S. Fe R. R., and was one of the first at that place. Taken to pieces, it was brought to Hutchinson in sections, and on the 13th of November, 1871, its third and last erection was begun. It was 16x60 feet and seven feet high, and the lumber was principally oak and black-walnut. The structure is still standing, occupied by M. J. Ruddy as a furniture store. On its completion Messrs. Tucker & Clapp moved in and opened a stock of goods, a hotel, and run the postoffice, which was established at that time. In one corner of the room C. C. Hutchinson opened a real estate office - the first in the county. In this office were made contracts for the erection of the Commercial House, the drug store of A. Dickey, the old jewelry store built by Jordan & Bemis, etc. The next building of note erected was moved from Newton by A. H. Williams and set up on the southeast corner of Main and First avenue. It was occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Williams, the latter being the first, lady in town, and, being such, was donated a corner lot by the accommodating founder. The building was used as a hotel, store, stage and express office, etc. During the winter the little settlement was increased by the arrival of E. Wilcox, A. B. Dickey, D. Alexander, Messrs. Hallowell and Sanders, and others who came and established themselves in business. In January, 1872, W. Bailey opened a stock of general merchandise in Williams' building, and was shortly followed by T. F. Leidigh with a grocery and provision store. Jordan & Bemis opened the next store, and about the same time E. Wilcox opened a hardware and agricultural implement store, and shortly afterwards J. S. Fay opened the Eagle Hotel. About the same time Messrs. J. & C. McMurray started a livery stable. During that year, 1872, the place grew rapidly, and soon had a population of several hundred souls. As the city progressed schools were established, churches and Sunday schools organized, brick buildings erected, trees planted, manufacturies established, societies organized, and in a few years the future success of Hutchinson was assured. To-day has not proved to the contrary.
Hutchinson was incorporated as a city of the third class, and her first municipal election was held August 26, 1872. The result, according to the News of that date, "was a glorious victory for temperance and improvement over whisky and stagnation." The following named gentlemen composed the first elected officials: Mayor, Taylor Flick; Council, J. McMurray, G. A. Brazee, E. Wilcox, R. C. Balley, D. M. Lewis: police Judge, J. B. Brown. The present (1882) city roster comprises S. H. Sidlinger, Mayor; G. T. Empey, W. R. Marshall, M. J. Ruddy, J. T. Lane, L A. Bigger, Councilman; G. D. Barckley Police Judge; A. R. Scheble, Attorney; D. S. Alexander, Clerk; C. B. Windslow, Treasurer; A. Schafer, Marshal.
SCHOOLS, CHURCHES, AND SOCIETIES.
The first school taught In Hutchinson was a select or subscription school, held in a small frame building on Main street, by Miss Jennie Hodgson, early in 1872. A second term was taught by a Mrs. Malesberry. By this time provision had been made for the erection of a public school building, in which the first term was taught by J. G. Lane, with an enrollment of seventy pupils. A second term was taught by J. R. Lindsey, with eighty pupils.
The next three terms were taught by Miss Hattie Smith, with one hundred and twenty-five pupils. August 13, 1872, a contract was let to D. D. Olmstead for the erection of the present magnificent school building. The building, which was completed in April, 1874 is a substantial brick structure, and cost $15,000. The lower rooms were furnished and school began April 13, 1874, in charge of Prof. Burn, assisted by Miss Frescolm. Since that time other rooms have been built in order to keep pace with the rapid growth and development. From a small gathering of about twenty-five the enrollment has increased to about seven hundred pupils, who are in charge of intelligent and competent instructors.
The first religious services in Hutchinson were held in a two-story frame building, now occupied by W. C. Devier, by Rev. J. S. Saxly, a minister of the Baptist persuasion. About the same time, March, 1872, Rev. T. J. Griffith, of the Methodist denomination, held services. During the same spring Rev. Mr. Woodruff supplied the district for a short period, when he was succeeded, by appointment, by his predecessor, Rev. T. J. Griffith, who remained until August 1, 1872.
The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized July 11, 1872, by Rev. T. J. Griffith, with twelve members. The following named pastors have had charge of the society up to the present time: S. B. Presby, one year; J. W. Fox, two years; B. C. Swartz, one year; C. Martindale, one year; N. Asher, one year; D. P. Mitchell, one year; S. W. Richards, one year; and L. O. Mead, the present incumbent, since August, 1882. The first church building used by the denomination was erected in 1872, by popular subscription and used by all denominations. The corner-stone of the present edifice was laid August 22, 1874, and the dedication occurred February 14, 1875. The structure is 32x60 feet, is substantially built of brick, and is one of the finest edifices in the Southwestern Kansas Conference. Present membership, 200.
First Presbyterian Church, was an outgrowth of a union Sunday school, being organized in July, 1872, by Rev. I. T. Whitmore, in a school room on South Main street, with sixteen members. At a meeting of the citizens, held August 10, 1872, $1,500 was raised for the praiseworthy purpose of building a church edifice. The Methodist organization put up the frame, and not being able to complete it, gave it up, and the building was finally completed at a cost of $3,000, by the Presbyterian Society. This church, which was the first and only one in Reno County for a period of two years, was dedicated the fourth Sunday in June, 1873. The first regular pastor, Rev. J. T. Potter, remained in charge until January 1, 1874, when he was succeeded by Rev. D. M. Moore, who remained seven years. He was succeeded July, 1881, by the present pastor, Rev. H. M. Shockey. Present membership, eighty.
First Baptist Church, was organized in December, 1872, by Rev. J. S. Saxby, with seven members. The first services were held in a building used for school purposed, on Main street. Mr. Saxby remained two years; J. C. Post, three years; E. B. Tucker, two years. No regular pastor since 1881. The present church edifice, a frame structure 28x44 feet, was erected in the spring of 1878, at a cost of $1,000. Present membership, twenty-five.
Universalist Parish, was organized in December, 1881, with forty members, by Rev. T. W. Woodrow. Services are held in the Baptist Church. Officers: W. R. Brown, chairman; G. A. Ricksecker, secretary; J. F. Redhead, treasurer; Rev. T. W. Woodrow, pastor. The erection of a church edifice is contemplated in the near future.
Catholic Church - Services of the organization were held as early as 1872-3, by Rev. F. P. Sweinbergh, who had charge of a large diocese in this section of the state. The present church, a frame structure, was completed in 1879. Since 1882, Father Hontman has been in charge of the congregation, which numbers about fifty families.
Reno Chapter, No. 34, R. A. M. was instituted under dispensation February 14, 1876. A charter was granted October 17, 1876, to twelve members, with the following officers: E. A. Smith, H. P.; C. Fisher, H. K.; G. F. Tucker, S. Present officers are: M. T. D. Robinson, M. E. H. P.; A. C. Walker, M. E. H. K.; G. B. Ricksecker, S; F. R. Chintman, Treas.; G. F. Tucker, Sec'y. Regular communications are held the fourth Saturday of each month at Masonic Hall. Present membership thirty-eight.
Reno Lodge, No. 140, A. F. & A. M. was instituted October 10, 1872, and was organized under a charter in November, 1873. First officers were; J. McMurray, W. M.; D. D. Olmstead, S. W.; G. W. Irwin, J. W.; T. M. Cochram, Treas.; S. A. Atwood, Sec'y. Present officers; G. V. Ricksecker, W. M.; A. C. Walker, S. W.; W. J. Harmony, J. W.; J. T. Lane Treas.; William M Ingham, Sec' y. Regular meetings on first and third Thursdays at Masonic Hall. Present membership 121.
Reno Lodge, No. 99, I. O. O. F. was instituted October 11, 1872, with twelve members. First officers were; L. S. Shields, N. G.; J. K. Fical, V. G.; S. Malesberry, Treas.; James Coom, Rec. Sec'y.; H. Chadcayne, Per. Sec'y. Present officers; R. B. Shaddick, N. G.; S. A. Atwood, treas.; I. N. Carter, Rec. Sec'y; J. L. Smith, Per. Sec'y. Meet every Tuesday evening at the I. O. O. F. Hall. Present membership sixty-five.
Reno Encampment, No. 32, I. O. O. F. was instituted in October, 1882. Officers: J. P. Theobold, C. P.; B. B. Shaddock, S. W.; D. W. Willchom, J. W.; F. M. Carter, F. S.; F. Ryde, T.; J. Grayson, A. P. Regular meetings are held on second and fourth Wednesdays at I. O. O. F. Hall. Present membership fifteen.
Hutchinson Lodge, No. 77, A. O. U. W. was instituted August 9, 1881, with thirteen members. First officers were: J. L. Penny, M. W.; F. C. Leach, P. M. W.; A. J. Higley, For.; W. J. Boilinger, O.; A.. W. McKinney, Rec.; D. W. Stimmel, Fin.; F. L. Meddy, R. Present officers: A. J. Higley, W. M.; H. W. Dice, For.; I. M. Carter, O.; A. W. McKinney, Rec'd; F. Vincent, Fin.; James Riley, R. Meets on second and fourth Thursdays at I. O. O. F. Hall. Present membership thirty-seven.
Joe Hooker Post, No. 17, G. A. R., was instituted in the summer of 1879, with twenty-five members: S. B. Zimmerman, Post Comr.; S. A. Atwood, Q. M.; and E. S. Hendy, Adjt. Present officers: R. A. Campbell, P. C.; J. J. Carey, S. V. C.; D. Barnes, J. V. C.; William Teeter, Adjt.; S. A. Atwood, Q. M.; H. H. Craig, O. of D.; F. J. Hawkins, O. of G.; J. M. Bean, S. M.; M. B. Cochman, Q. M. S. Regular meetings are held on first and second Fridays, at I. O. O. F. Hall. Present membership 130.
Caley Union, No. 500, E. A. U. was organized November 13, 1882, with forty-three members. Present officers: J. W. Crist, Pres.; Miss B. Aulman, V. P.; George Randolph, A.; I. N. Baughn, Ch.; J. F. St John, Treas.; Charles Clark, Sec.; S. J. Soper, Acct.; I. Douglas, Sen.; J. W. Downs, W.; H. Harpole, Chap.; George Thomas, Aux. Meets on first and third Wednesday, at I. O. O. F. Hall. Present membership 60.
In Hutchinson there are two banks, viz., the private banking institution of James F. Redhead & Co. and the Reno County State Bank. The officers of the latter are T. Hosea, Pres.; E. L. Meyer, Vice-Pres.; and S. W. Campbell, cashier.
THE PRESS AND OTHER BUSINESS INTERESTS.
The first number of the first newspaper published in Reno County was issued at Hutchinson, on July 4, 1872, as the Hutchinson News. It was started under the management of Perry Bros. & Co. It soon passed into the hands of H. Whiteside, who continued its publication until January, 1875, when he sold it to F. Meredith. January 1, 1881. Ralph M. Easley, the present proprietor and publisher, purchased Meredith's interest. The News is now and always has been a strong Republican organ. January 1, 1882, it was enlarged from a six to a seven-column quarto. The News, under its present editor, assisted by an able corps of writers, is recognized as one of the leading papers in Southwestern Kansas.
The Reno Independent, without any political bias, was established in October, 1875, by W. F. Wallace. In the spring of 1876, E. C. Bruffy & Co. took charge and published it as Democratic organ, under the name of the Examiner. Late in 1876 the office passed into the hands of J. W. Turpen, who published it as the Hutchinson Herald, Democratic, until February, 1879, when it was purchased by McKinstry & Scheble. It continued under this management until May, 1880, when A. R. Scheble became sole proprietor. January 1, 1881, the firm name became Scheble & Ely, until March, 1882, when S. Ely became the sole proprietor. In September, 1882, Messrs, Higely & Decker purchased the paper and changed its name to its original appellation, the Independent. The paper, which is an eight-column folio, is devoted to the interest of Hutchinson, Reno County and the Southwest.
The first number of the Hutchinson Interior was issued in January, 1877, by Henry Inman. In the spring following Major Inman retired and was succeeded by M. M. Lewis, who had charge of the paper a few months, when he gave way to J. W. Kanaga. Mr. Kanaga published the paper until September, 1878, when R. M. Easley assumed control. In November following the firm name became Coutant & Easley, and remained so until May, 1879, when J. W. Kanaga took charge. In January, 1883, J. H. Lawson purchased an interest, and the firm's name became Kanaga & Lawson. The Interior is Republican in politics, progressive in ideas, and is a leading exponent of Hutchinson and vicinity. The first number of the Sunday Democrat was issued as the Independent, in June, 1882, by W. H. Freeman, who continued its publication until January 1, 1883, when S. Ely, its present editor and publisher, assumed control and changed its name to its present appellation. The Democrat is an eight-column folio, and is issued in the interests of local news.
The Hutchinson Postoffice was established late in 1871. John Clapp being appointed first postmaster. He was succeeded by E. Wilcox, in 1872, who officiated until March, 1877, when M. C. Boles was appointed. December 10, 1878 Hiram Ratf was appointed, and during his administration the money-order system was established. Mr. Ratf was succeeded in January, 1883, by Ralph M. Easley, the present incumbent. During the administration of Mr. Ratf, it was made a distributing point for 120 interior offices, and is now an office of the third class.
In 1882, a stock company, composed of the best business men of Hutchinson, was organized for the construction of an opera house. Following are the officers: President-W. T. Atkinson; Secretary-C. B. Winslow; Treasurer-S. W. Campbell; Board of Directors-L. A. Bigger, A. R. Scheble, C. B. Winslow, James Redhead, R. A. Colville, E. L. Meyer, H. Whiteside, W. T. Atkinson, and S. W. Campbell. The building, which was completed and opened in November, 1882, is a three-story brick structure, 50x100 feet, and was erected at a cost of $18,000. The auditorium, with a seating capacity of 800, is divided into a parquetie and dress-circle. The stage, which is 25x50 feet, is provided with 10 sets of scenery, fine commodious dressing rooms and all modern stage appointments.
Hutchinson Water Mills, - The first water-power flouring mill in Reno County was erected at Hutchinson, by the Hutchinson Water Power Company, in 1876. In July, 1878, it passed into the hands of A. M. West, M. E. Allison, C. Bloom, and W. C. Devier, who owned and run it under the firm name of West, Allison & Co. The motive power is furnished by the Arkansas Rive in conjunction with a ninety-horse power turbine wheel which propels five run of buhrs and several sets of rolls. The flour manufacture at this mill is equal to the best Minnesota brands.
City Steam Flouring Mills were completed in October, 1875, by M. Sonders, C. B. Myton, and A. L. Kellogg. W. C. Edwards afterwards purchased it, who, in turn, sold it to Messer, Woods & Brown, since which time it has passed into the hands of B. A. Coville, its present proprietor, C. H. Hobart, lessee. The mill has four run of buhrs, with a capacity of 400 bushels daily, and does an annual business of $40,000.
Kansas Sugar Refining, - The process of manufacturing syrups and sugar from sugar cane, was first introduced into Hutchinson in 1882, when an incorporated stock company, known as the Kansas Sugar Refining Company, was organized with J. Harrison Clark, Pres.; S. E. Temple, Sec., and Prof. W. H. C. Onderdonk, Supt. A large four-story store and brick building, 75x85 feet, was erected, in a style of architecture, suitable for the business, and filled with the latest improved machinery, regardless of cost. The massive machinery is propelled by a 100-horse power engine, with a boiler capacity of 300-horse power. The company's ground, consisting of three and one-half acres, is located in the eastern part of the city. During the year, 1883, the company will cultivate 2,000 acres in sugar cane of their own, besides using all that is raised in the surrounding country. The mill has a capacity of 150 barrels daily, which will be in increased according to the demand.
The manufacturing interest of Hutchinson are yet in their infancy, but besides those above mentioned, it has the usual complement of foundries, feed mills, cigar factories, a windmill manufacturing establishment and a soda and pop bottling works.
Templer & Co. are a heavy shipping firm. Their business gives an idea of the vast amount shipped from this point. They shipped from Hutchinson, from July 1, 1882, to December 6, 170 cars of grain, produce, and cattle - mostly wheat. The firm have buyers at Burrton and Galva, and from those two points shipped 157 cars during the period before mentioned.