Wichita turns 143 on July 21

Happy birthday, Wichita!

As a city, it turns 143 on Sunday. The Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum, 204 S. Main, plans to host a birthday party from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free to anyone and their small group who brings a birthday card.

On July 21, 1870, one woman and 123 men – mostly businessmen and town leaders – signed a petition to create a town. The lone woman was Catherine McCarty, mother of future outlaw Billy the Kid. She owned a laundry on Main Street.

The petition was presented to Judge Reuben Riggs, who issued the town’s articles of incorporation.

The word “Wichita” was first printed in 1868 on an advertising circular for distribution among Texas cattlemen who were bringing their herds north to Kansas to sell. It was town developer J.R. Mead who suggested the town be named Wichita after the American Indians who once lived here.