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The first post office in Atchison opened in a small, one-story, stone building, on the south side of Commercial street, between Second and Third. The room was about 20×26 feet in dimensions, but large enough for the purpose for which it was intended at that time. The location of the post office was removed in 1856 to the store of Messrs. Woolfolk & Cabell, on the levee. 

During the war in Kansas, in August, the headquarters of the United States mail service were removed to the law office of P. P. Wilcox. From there the office was removed to a building on the north side of Commercial street, between Third and Fourth, and it was there that in July 1882, the free delivery system was inaugurated in Atchison, which, with her money order department fully equipped the post office. A number of years later agitation was started for the erection of a new post office, and through the efforts of Senator Ingalls a site at the northeast corner of Seventh and Kansas avenue was purchased from Dr. Cochrane by the Government, and the contract was awarded for the erection of the postoffice June 24, 1892, at a cost of $61,703.17.

The names and terms of the postmasters of Atchison since the founding of the office are as follows: Robert S. Kelly, March 15, 1855; John H. Blasingham, December 20, 1855; Henry Addoms, July 28, 1857; John A. Martin, April 26, 1861; Benjamin B. Gale, March 5, 1874; John M. Price, February 6, 1879; Melleville C. Winegar, March 10, 1882; H. Clay Park, March 30, 1886; Solomon R. Washer, March 20, 1890; Edgar C. Post, June 7, 1894; James M. Chisham, June 3, 1898; William D. Casey, December 14, 1910; Louis C. Orr, December 29, 1914, who is postmaster in 1916.



The present courthouse of this county occupies lots 1, 2, and 3, in block 65, Old Atchison, and the contract for the building was entered into on the twenty-first day of May 1896 and accepted by the board of county commissioners on September 13, 1897. The total cost of building and fixtures was $83,154.48.



The present county hospital for the poor is located on the southeast quarter of section 14, township 6, range 20. The farm was purchased from R. A. Park October 7, 1903, for $9,540, and the hospital was erected January 3, 1905, at a cost of $27,501. The average cost of operating the hospital and farm of 160 acres is approximately $2,109.16 per year, and the average number of inmates is thirty. The present superintendent is J. S. Clingan.



On December 2, 1911, there met in the office of C. S. Hull a small group of men interested in securing a modern Young Men’s Christian Association building for the city of Atchison. Although this is the first formal meeting of which there are any minutes recorded it is known that the idea of an organization and building had long existed in the mind of William Carlisle, and that encouragement was given him by many others. At the meeting held on December 2 the Atchison Y. M. C. A. Promotion Club was formally launched with Claude B. Fisk as president.

At the next meeting, held January 1, 1912, an executive committee, composed of R. W. Ramsay, W. B. Collett, Fred Oliver, and C. S. Hull was elected and the secretary was authorized to invite John E. Manley, State secretary of the Young Men’s Christian Association, to be present at the next meeting of the club.

On March 6, 1912, the club met at the Byram Hotel for luncheon. Mr. Manley was present at this meeting and outlined a plan for a campaign to raise the necessary funds to erect a modern building. The luncheon meeting adjourned to meet at the office of H. H. Hackney at 4 p. m., at which time a business committee of twenty-five men was appointed. The following composed this committee: H. B. Mize, Fred Oliver, Eugene Howe, W. B. Collett, C. S. Hull, George Guerrier, R. W. Ramsay, Sheffield Ingalls, D. M. Cain, F. W. Woodford, A. F. Heck, August Manglesdorf, Jr., T. A. Moxcey, Eugene Pulliam, E. W. Clausen, Clive Hastings, H. H. Hackney, N. T. Veatch, W. P. Waggener, W. J. Bailey, Charles Linley, Roy Seaton, Claude Fisk, J. A. Shoemaker, Holmes Dysinger. This committee was later increased to twenty-seven, and the names of W. A. Carlisle and W. A. Jackson were added.

The first regular meeting of the provisional committee, as it was now called, was held at the Blish, Mize & Silliman offices March 13 and a permanent organization effected. State Secretary Manley was present. R. W. Ramsay, the present incumbent, was made president at this meeting; Charles Linley, vice-president; C. S. Hull, recording secretary, and George Guerrier, treasurer. T. C. Treat at this time tendered the use of a room in the Simpson building for an office for the organization, which was gratefully accepted.

At a meeting of the executive committee, held March 18, 1912. L. V. Starkey was employed as general secretary and took active charge of the building campaign April 15.

At the meeting held April 22 it was decided to raise $100,000 by public subscription, and the following team captains were elected: S. R. Beebe, O. A. Simmons, H. B. Mize, John R. Taylor, F. M. Woodford, L. M. Baker, Charles A. Brown, W. D. Casey, W. W. Hetherington, and W. A. Jackson.

The charter for the organization bears the date of April 6 and was duly acted upon and signed by the committee of twenty-seven at a meeting held April 22.

In a ten days’ campaign conducted May 15–25, 1912, an amount approximating $85,000 was raised by popular subscription. The headquarters of the campaign were in a room furnished by J. C. Killarney at 105–107 North Fifth street.

The latter part of June, 1912. the site at the northeast corner of Fourth and Commercial streets was contracted for and work begun at once on the building. On December 4, 1913, the splendid building which now occupies that corner was formally opened for the regular work of the association. The membership soon reached 450, and has been maintained at about that point ever since.

The entire cost of building, including site and furnishings, amounted to $113,000.

The Y. M. C. A. building contains thirty-four living rooms with a capacity for fifty men. These rooms are now kept filled practically all the time. A restaurant is operated on the ground floor and there are excellent facilities for handling banquets and committee meetings. The building is always at the disposal of church societies and other organizations for gatherings of any kind.

There is a gymnasium, 44×72 feet, thoroughly equipped with all necessary apparatus and a white tile-lined swimming pool, 20×50 feet. With a separate entrance on Fourth street, there is a special game room for boys ten to fifteen years of age.

The present board of directors is composed of R. W. Ramsay as president; B. L. Brockett, vice-president; H. H. Hackney, recording secretary; Charles Lanley, treasurer; Messrs. W. B. Collett, M. T. Dingess, Claud B. Fisk, J. A. Fletcher, C. C. Ham, W. W. Hetherington, Martin Jensen, J. F. Krueger, H. P. Shepherd, and F. M. Woodford.

The present general secretary, Ira J. Beard, came to the association in April, 1914. Emmett T. Ireland is the present physical director, and George Kassabaum is the assistant secretary.

On the fourth of December, 1914, an anniversary banquet was held in the gymnasium, celebrating the first year of the association in its new building, and the reports of the work accomplished at that time dispelled any feeling there may have been on the part of some that such an institution could not be successfully maintained in Atchison. This banquet was attended by 200 enthusiastic friends and members of the association, and Governor Arthur Capper was a guest of honor.

Membership in the Young Men’s Christian Association is open to any boy or man of good character who is over ten years of age. Membership in the Atchison association is accepted and honored in all other Young Men’s Christian associations throughout the country. The dominant purpose of the association is the building up of Christian character.



The legislature of the State of Kansas at the session of 1885 enacted the first law for the establishing of a Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home at Atchison, Kan. For the purpose of erecting the first building the legislature appropriated the sum of $24,300 on condition that the land should be donated to the State.

The act of the legislature provided that said Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home “shall be an institution for the nurture, education and maintenance, without charge, for all indigent children of soldiers who served in the army and navy of the Union during the late rebellion, and who have been disabled from wounds or disease, or who have since died in indigent circumstances, and other indigent orphan children of the State.” The institution was located at Atchison, Kan., on the present site which was purchased from the late J. P. Brown and donated to the State. In pursuance of the act of the legislature a portion of what is now the main building was erected and by a subsequent appropriation was finished, and the first children were admitted on July 1, 1887.

The original building was a four-story brick building with a basement. The fourth story was made into a dormitory, with five rooms for employees. The third story consisted of a smaller dormitory, lavatories, rooms for employees, and sleeping room for the superintendent. The second story had school rooms, superintendent’s office, parlor, lavatories and rooms for employees. The first floor rooms were dining room, kitchen, store room, school rooms. The basement was used for boilers, store rooms, laundry and boys’ lavatory.

The laws regulating the home were amended and enlarged by the legislature at its session of 1889, so that all children sound in mind and body and over two years of age and under fourteen years, belonging to any one of the following named classes shall be eligible for admission to the home: “First, any child dependent upon the public for support; any dependent, neglected and ill-treated child who is an object of public concern, and whom the State may have power to exercise and extend its protection and control.”

This act of the legislature so increased the number of eligible for admission to the home that it soon became necessary to enlarge the building. In 1891 the legislature again appropriated the sum of $7,000 for the erection of the west wing, to be the same width and height as the main building, and to increase the length by thirty feet and this gave playroom, sitting room, school room and sleeping room for the kindergarten children, also a room in which the John A. Martin Memorial Library was placed, and a reading room in the upper story for the larger boys.

Connected with this appropriation was $1,000 for a hospital building which is detached from the main building by about 100 feet.

The growth of the institution and the number desiring admission made it necessary to again ask for an appropriation for more buildings. At the session of the legislature of 1895, the legislature appropriated $91,800 for the erection of the east wing and for three cottages, 50×42 feet, and a building for domestic purposes, 40×110 feet, which contains the chapel, children’s dining room, one large school room, kitchen, store room, one employes’ dining room and eight rooms for employees.

At the legislative session of 1907 an appropriation of $25,000 was made for the purpose of erecting a new cottage on the Orphans’ Home grounds, to be used for the purpose of caring for destitute crippled children who were otherwise unprovided for under the various acts of the legislature providing for the Orphans’ Home. The foundation for this building was commenced on the seventeenth day of October, 1909, and the building was completed, and ready for the occupancy of children July 1, 1910. The law providing for only children sound in mind and body between the ages of two and fourteen years shall be admitted. This cottage at the present time is used for the older girls of the institution and it seems very well adapted for that purpose.

The legislature of 1903 very generously appropriated $20,000 to build a brick pavement from the city to the home. This road was completed to the city limits in 1904. Since that time the city has extended its pavement so that now there is a pavement road all the way from the home to the business district of Atchison.

The two latest improvements of great value to the home are, first the connecting up of the home with the Atchison Water Company, so that now we receive a supply of water adequate for all purposes. This was done in 1913 and 1914. Previous to that time water had been obtained from various sources and the supply was always poor in quality and very inadequate in quantity. This apparently settles the question of water, so far as this institution is concerned, and we now have a plentiful supply of the purest of water. Second: From the very first beginning of the home the question of sewage disposal has been one of great difficulty and a source of much annoyance and discomfort to those around about, particularly the neighboring farmers. For years the sewage of the institution flowed out through the pasture land and fields of our neighbors, and various attempts to build sewage disposal plants were made by the board of control and others who had charge of the State institutions, but with little or no success. At the present time we are engaged in connecting up the institution with the city sewer system at a cost of approximately $6,000.

The original cost of the land occupied by the State Orphans’ Home, and purchased from J. P. Brown, as hereinbefore mentioned, was $16,000.

No institution in this State occupies a more beautiful and sightly location. It is situated at an elevation of 275 feet above the Missouri river, and overlooking the winding course of that stream for miles, with the city of Atchison at its feet and with the view north and west unobstructed for miles, it is the wonder and admiration of all who behold it. It is impossible for me to state exactly or to ascertain exactly the cost of the institution, properly known as the State Orphans’ Home, but it is approximately in the neighborhood of $300,000.

The first superintendent was John Pierson; his wife, Mrs. M. A. Pierson, was his matron, and the celebrated Dr. Eva Harding, now a physician, located in Topeka, and running for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the First district, was his physician. Mr. Pierson was not very long in this office. The records do not show just how long, but he was succeeded by Charles E. Faulkner, who is now serving as superintendent of the Washburn Memorial Orphans’ Asylum, at Minneapolis, Minn. It was during Faulkner’s administration that most of the improvements heretofore noted were made. Faulkner was succeeded by C. A. Woodworth in 1898 and served but two years, when H. H. Young was appointed. He served but a short time and was succeeded by E. L. Hillis, who held the office until the time of his resignation, April 1, 1907, because of ill health. Mr. Hillis was succeeded by E. C. Willis, of Newton, Kan., on April 10, 1907, who remained superintendent until he was succeeded by Mrs. E. K. Burnes on the first day of September, 1913. Mrs. Burnes held the place for two years, being succeeded by E. C. Willis on the first of September, 1915, who is still the superintendent at the present time.

More than 6,000 have been inmates of the home at sometime or another, and of the 6,000 only 200 are here at the present time. All of the others who are still living are out in the world and doing for themselves like other people with various degrees of success. Some of them are doing well; others exceedingly well, and are occupying good positions, or are in business for themselves.

Very sincerely,




Major W. W. Downs was the promoter of the association. He was at Kansas in the spring of 1879 and opened its doors to the public on November 17 of that year.

He was at that time superintendent of the Central Branch railroad and realized the need of reading and amusement rooms for the young men in this city. He succeeded in interesting a number of influential Atchison women in the work and promised a generous personal donation and the cooperation of the various railroads centering here.

It was unfortunate that before the doors of the library swung open the Central Branch changed officials. In spite of this discouragement, the Atchison ladies continued to work, and since its organization, it has always been managed by a board of fifteen women.

Funds are raised by the sale of membership and donations and a small monthly stipend from the city. J. P. Pomeroy subsequently made a splendid donation, amounting to $10,000, and later on, A. J. Harwi contributed a like amount for the support of this institution. It now has almost 11,000 books on its shelves besides hundreds of magazines and pamphlets.

Mrs. Leontine Scofield was appointed librarian in January 1883 and has held that position from that time until 1916 uninterruptedly. She has endeared herself to the thousands of patrons who have visited this institution, and her familiarity with the place and her fidelity to the work especially fits her for this important place.

The following Atchison ladies are the officers of the association in 1916: Mrs. W. W. Guthrie, president; Mrs. F. E. Harwi, vice-president; Mrs. W. S. Beitzel, recording secretary; Miss Effie E. Symns, corresponding secretary; Mrs. Fannie W. Linley, treasurer. In addition to these ladies, the following are directresses: Miss Nellie Allen, Mrs. R. F. Clark, Mrs. L. R. Seaton, Mrs. G. W. Glick, Mrs. E. S. Wills, Mrs. W. H. Schulze, Mrs. J. M. Challiss, Mrs. D. C. Newcomb, and Miss Mary Lukens. Mrs. J. J. Ingalls is an honorary directress of the association.



The first attempt to found a hospital in the city of Atchison originated in 1884, and after a general meeting for organization, a board was appointed which purchased and re-constructed a building situated on South Seventh street between U and V, and the institution was open to the public May 20 of that year.

The following named Atchison ladies were prominently identified with the movement that was responsible for the building of the first hospital in Atchison: Mrs. A. A. Carey, who was the first president of the association; Mrs. J. J. Berry, Mrs. W. W. Campbell, Mrs. E. A. Mize, Mrs. D. P. Blish, Mrs. C. B. Singleton, Mrs. J. J. Ingalls, and Mrs. C. S. Osborn.

After five years of activity this building as a hospital was closed through lack of support and the misapprehension of the purpose of a hospital on the part of the community.

From about 1889 until 1912 the hospital necessities of Atchison were provided by private institutions and cases were sent outside of the city, but in the fall of 1912 the need for a hospital within the city had become very apparent, and as a result the following public-spirited citizens of the city associated themselves together for the purpose of building a modern hospital: W. P. Waggener, president; R. W. Ramsay, vice-president; Otis E. Gray, secretary; Joseph M. Schott, treasurer. The directors with the above officers were: Frank Harwi, T. M. Walker and L. R. Seaton. They instituted a campaign for the purpose of raising $50,000 to purchase a site and construct and equip a building for a general hospital.

The campaign was to a very large degree successful, sufficient money being raised in this initial effort to warrant the directors in purchasing a site, the square block situated on North Second street between N and O streets, where a fire-proof building was constructed to accommodate thirty-five patients with a maximum capacity of fifty. The building is equipped with the most modern appliances for hospital activities. The operating room was modeled and equipped after the suggestion of the most celebrated surgeons in the country, and since the opening of the hospital to receive patients in July, 1914, its success has been assured and its need demonstrated. It possesses appliances and equipment conservatively valued at $65,000.

The present board of directors are: W. P. Waggener, president; Frank E. Harwi, vice-president; O. E. Gray, secretary; Joseph M. Schott, treasurer. Directors: R. W. Ramsay, H. E. Muchnic, Eugene Howe and Leo Nusbaum.

The purpose of this institution is to take care of the sick and injured of the community without distinction of race, color or creed. Those who can afford to pay are expected to pay the fees of the institution. No one is refused attendance by reason of his or her inability to pay for such service. The biological and X-Ray laboratories are among the best equipped in the State and these laboratories with their equipment, like most of the furnishings and equipment of the hospital, are memorials of the former residents of Atchison county.



This magnificent new home for the Masonic orders of Atchison is a three-story structure of re-inforced concrete fire-proof construction with basement. It is built of gray Brazil, Indiana, vitrified brick and trimmed with ocean colored terra cotta. The first floor is a store room and on the second floor there are a number of offices and the banquet hall with kitchen facilities. The third floor is used exclusively for Masonic purposes, and in the rear portion of the third floor is a mezzanine floor with fire-proof lockers. The lodge room is embellished with an ornamental plaster cornice and with Scagliola columns and pilasters. The ceiling is circular with a large dome, and the memorial room is finished with ornamental plastering in elaborate Egyptian design. The total cost of this building with furniture and equipment was close to $60,000.