Looking back at big dates in Kansas history

A tornado that struck Udall in 1955 caused massive damage.
A tornado that struck Udall in 1955 caused massive damage. Courtesy of Udall Historical Museum

Take a moment this year to look back at the anniversaries of a number of signficant events in Kansas.

2015 marks the 145th anniversary of the incorporation of Wichita and the 160th anniversary of abolitionist John Brown moving to Kansas. It is the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Little Arkansas River Peace Treaty.

It is the 90th anniversary of air service between Wichita and Kansas City, and the 80th anniversary of the National Baseball Congress tournament in Wichita.

And it is the 60th anniversary of the Udall tornado.

190 years ago

▪ Daniel Morgan Boone, son of the Western frontiersman Daniel Boone, brings the first Methodists to Kansas near the Kansas River now in Jefferson County. He is appointed by U.S. government to act as an agricultural adviser to the Indians.

▪ The settlement of Trading Post in Linn County is established by French traders.

160 years ago

▪ Hundreds of Missourians cross into Kansas to cast illegal votes for pro-slavery representatives to the Kansas territorial legislature on March 30.

▪ Abolitionist John Brown moves into the territory, joining his five sons at Osawatomie.

155 years ago

▪ The Leavenworth Daily Times carries a story Jan. 30 about the Pony Express with a headline reading: “Great Express Enterprise! From Leavenworth to Sacramento in Ten Days! Clear the Track and Let the Pony Come Through!”

150 years ago

▪ In October 1865, the Little Arkansas River Peace Treaty was signed near what is now Seneca and 62nd Street. The treaty is one of many the federal government signed with American Indian tribes and spurred white settlement by promising settlers heading west safe passage. Among those attending the signing were Southern Cheyenne Chief Black Kettle, Kiowa Chief Satanta, Kit Carson, William Bent, Jesse Chisholm and one of the Wichita’s first developers, J.R. Mead.

145 years ago

▪ One woman – Catherine McCarty, mother of future outlaw Billy the Kid – and 123 men sign a petition to create the town of Wichita on July 21.

Soon, Wichita is a booming cowtown. The town of Delano occupies a two-and-a-half-block stretch of Douglas just west of the Arkansas River as a “pop-off valve” for the trail-worn cowboys. Prostitutes, cowboys and gunfighters walk the streets.

115 years ago

▪ L. Frank Baum publishes “The Wizard of Oz.”

▪ Prohibitionist Carry A. Nation wrecks the bar at Wichita’s Hotel Carey (now known as Eaton Place) on Dec. 27.

▪ The Wichita Country Club becomes one of the first places in the Midwest to offer people a chance to play golf. It is founded by a Wichita Episcopal minister, J.D. Ritchey, and his choirmaster, Bennett “Cush” Cushman, so they can pursue the sport on a course with six holes and tin cans as cups.

100 years ago

▪ Henry Roe Cloud founds the Roe Institute in Wichita, later named the American Indian Institute, one of the first American Indian high schools in the nation.

▪ The Wichita Natural Gas Co. drills Stapleton Oil Well No. 1, northwest of El Dorado on Oct. 9, opening one of the richest oil fields in the nation. The well becomes the first ever discovered using geologic surveys and geologists. The field becomes a major source of oil for the Allied effort during World War I.

90 years ago

▪ Air passenger service between Kansas City and Wichita begins; flying time is three hours and a one-way ticket is $30.

▪ The Kansas Supreme Court bars the Ku Klux Klan from “doing business” in Kansas.

80 years ago

▪ The inaugural year for the National Baseball Congress tournament. Wichitan Ray “Hap” Dumont brings in a star who is a big draw at the gate: Satchel Paige.

▪ Swirling clouds of dust hit western Kansas on April 14, known as Black Sunday. The dust – topsoil from thousands of farms from Oklahoma, Texas, eastern Colorado and western Kansas – blocks the sun, drifts over roads, covers farm implements and threatens lives.

60 years ago

▪ A tornado three-quarters of a mile wide blindsides the sleeping town of Udall on May 25, killing 77 people, injuring 250 and destroying virtually every building in the small Cowley County town.

▪ Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is established to provide wintering and migration stopover habitat for migratory birds along the Central Flyway of North America.

50 years ago

▪ Richard Hickock and Perry Smith are hanged April 14 at Lansing for the 1959 murder of the Clutter family near Holcomb.

▪ First deer hunting season opens in Kansas in December.

30 years ago

▪ Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Plant, Kansas’ only nuclear power plant, begins operation northeast of Burlington.

20 years ago

▪ The state of Kansas and four resident tribes in Kansas enter into tribal-state gaming compacts to permit gambling at tribal casinos.

15 years ago

▪ Jack Kilby, who grew up in Great Bend with a fascination with electronics, is awarded the 2000 Nobel Prize in physics. Kilby invented the integrated circuit – the forerunner of to the microchip – which helped create the pocket calculator and thus, the modern computer industry.

Reach Beccy Tanner at 316-268-6336 or btanner@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @beccytanner.