KECHI HISTORY

Kechi History Timeline

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Kechi History Timeline
constructed by Naomi Fultz.

1860: John Ross, first settler of Kechi area, murdered six months later by Osage Indianans.

1868: Early fall, settlement started by John Allison.

1869: Brothers C.E., William, and George Sullivan join permanent settlement

1871: Kechi Township organized by Charles Sullivan and B.F. Johnson, the first resident agent for the Rock Island.

1883: Population reaches 614. Property evaluation: $226,230.

1884: Wesley Chapel built at 45th and Hillside. Moved in 1901 to NE corner of 61st and Oliver, becoming Kechi United Methodist Episcopal Church.

1888: Lemon family and others grant land to public, effectively founding the town of Kechi. First postmaster. Rock Island completes its line through town.

1889: First hotel, “the guest house” moved from its original location to Main St, along the tracks. The Brown Hotel also built, later called the Cottonwood Place.

1900: Kechi a busy community with stores, creamery, post office, hotel, school house, blacksmith, harness and shoe shop, train depot, grain elevator and stock yards.

1906: First doctor’s office.

1909: Second school house, with two rooms for grades 1-8, finished at corner of 61st and Oliver. Classes were held there for 44 years.

1910: First Lumberyard located on foreman street.

1911: First feed mill located on the east end of Brink (owned by Earl Brink). Old one-room school house moved there and used as the engine room to run the Mill. A large warehouse and loadin dock and granaries were also built alongside a scale and weigh house.

1911: Post office located at foreman and Main. Across the street a general store run by a man named Young sat next to the bank (these buildings later burned). A man named Nader, a man of many trades, ran in Ice Parlor in the Old Hartman Place, as well as the blacksmith’s shop. The same building housed a grocery, filling station and café.

1912: Mr. Rice ran the Livery just west of the Brown Hotel. Salesmen would ride the train from Wichita to Kechi to sell their wares. They would sleep at the Brown, and Mr. Rice would take them around by horse and buggy to the outlying communities. Mr. Rice would also take the doctor on calls; he was the first one in town to have a motor car.

1912: Post Office moves to front of General Store on Foreman and Main. Doctor’s office in back, and the upstairs was used as Public Place for meetings, dances and the Methodist Church’s services.

1913: Two years after Young’s Grocery burnt, a new two-story block house was built. The main floor was a grocery run by Karl Kesterson, the upstairs used as a hall for the Rebecca Lodge and the Old Fellows Club. This structure burned in 1930 and was not replaced.

1916: Gas street lights installed. Dr. Madden opens his office in the Crider house.

1920: Ossie Lygrisse’s General Store burns on N. Main, and thre croquet courts were built on the ground. These were lit at night and open to the public. Competitive play-offs were held against other communities. A brick road was hand-laid north out of Wichita to Newton—Highway 81. This improved road for the motor car was a turning of the tide for Kechi, ensuring it would never grow to become a larger city, and begain its decline.

1920: Brick United Methodist Church dedicated. Now Kechi PlayHouse.

1922: Harry Matson’s Chevrolet garage is running, with Chet Baird as a mechanic. When Harry moved to Kansas City, Chet ran the garage until 1932.

1923: The Baptist Church is built where the McShea’s live today (SW corner of 61st and Oliver). The first building in town to have a basement.

1928: Harold Hites opens a filling station. He also runs the International Dealership, and in 1931 was sworn in as Postmaster. Great Bank Robbery takes place May 24th.

1929: Electricity reaches Kechi.

1930: Yerton General Store destroyed by fire. The Kechi State Bank (along with many in the community and around the country) closes. The president was L.H. Matson, vice president S.B. Amidon, and cashier E.S. Basore. Unlike many banks, however, SBK did not reopen. The Bank of Kechi reopened a few weeks later and remained so for about two more years.

1933: First Chevrolet Dealership in Kechi, owned by Enis Matson. Farm implements were sold, and the rear of the building was used as a garage. This building had served as well as a Hardware and Appliance store, a Pittsburgh Paint store, and a Plumbing store.

1936: Jim Ocker buys the old Section House and had it moved north of the intersection.

1946: Kechi Automotive and Service Station built by Lee Griffith. Howard’s Electronics opens.

1950: Earl Brink moved a walk-in Locker plant to a location by the old Telephone Office. Clara and Harold White lease the station of Griffith, and run a restaurant there. School kids ate lunch there until the school cafeteria was built.

1953: New grade school opens. The new Dial system brings an end to the telephone operator, and the new Telephone building is built on W. Kechi Rd. Gladys Ocker was the last telephone operator in the City of Kechi.

1954: Lee Anderson builds the Vickers Service Station on the S. side of Kechi Rd.

1957: Kechi incorporated as a third-class City. First mayor, Robert Stephens, elected.

1958: Municipal Gas System voted in (started billing Oct. 1958).

1960: Kechi Water Lines installed (started billing Dec. 1960).

1963: New Methodist Church built.

1964: Buck Alley opens the Lumber Yard (Current F&H;).

1967: Sewer System (started billing July 1967).

1968: Sonny Thomison moves his horse business to Kechi.

1969: New City Building opens.

1972: Jan Le Dou opens Kechi’s first Antique Store, in the old General Store building.

1975: New Maintenance Building.

1977: Open House celebrating 20 years of incorporation.

1983: Kechi Play House opens.

1985: First Kechi fair.

1988: City celebrates its Centennial. Lone Star Industries opens operations on the old Train Depot site.

1993: Karg Art comes to Kechi.
© Copyright 2004 by City of Kechi, Kansas