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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Merriam in Johnson County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Incorporation of Merriam

Merriam Historic Plaza Walking Path

 
 
Incorporation of Merriam Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., July 2, 2011
1. Incorporation of Merriam Marker
Inscription.
Although Merriam is one of the oldest communities in the area, it was unincorporated for much of its history. When the county was created, it was divided into several smaller segments called townships. Merriam is placed on the boundary of Shawnee and Mission townships, with Antioch Road as the dividing line. For many years the township form of government served efficiently in Northeast Johnson County. For each township, three elected officials had the responsibility for the building and upkeep of roads and bridges, collection of taxes, and administration of relief to the poor.

As population increased, the need for a different form of government was widely felt. The heavily populated areas began to incorporate until Northeast Johnson County had fourteen separate cities.

In 1950 Merriam petitioned the governor to become a third class incorporated city. The petition was approved by the Board of Johnson County Commissioners on October 23, 1950. The first city council meeting was held at Pflumm Brothers Plumbing Shop on November 24, 1950. Carl R. Engel, Sr. was administered the oath of office as Merriam's first mayor. At that meeting, the city council voted to purchase police badges for council members, designating themselves as law enforcement officials for the city. The elected officials were paid $1.00 per year for
Merriam Historic Plaza Walking Path image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr.
2. Merriam Historic Plaza Walking Path
Looking east
their service.

City services during the early 1950's included police protection, maintenance of city streets, supervision of public health, operation of a modern swimming pool, and fire protection. Fire protection was provided by a loyal group of volunteers. An organization comprised of local businessmen and volunteer firefighters was formed in 1947 and was named the Merriam Better Business Association. The name was later changed to the Merriam Community Association. The Community Association raised funds to purchase land and build the first fire station, which was designated Shawnee Township Fire Department #1. This volunteer fire department provided fire protection for approximately eight square miles. The first fire truck was a 1942 army surplus four wheel drive pumper.

Merriam's population in 1950 was 1640 residents. Merriam achieved second class city status January 13, 1957 when its population grew to 4327 citizens.

About the Images
Downtown Merriam -

Pictured is downtown Merriam, circa 1940-1950

Mayor Carl Engel -
Carl R. Engel Sr. was elected as Merriam's first mayor in 1950. Mayor Engel served from October 1950 to April 1955.

Fire Truck -
1951 Ford Pumper truck and volunteer firefighters. The pump had a 500-gallon per minute capacity.

Did you know?
When the fire alarm
Downtown Mural on Incorporation of Merriam Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Young, circa 1940s/50s
3. Downtown Mural on Incorporation of Merriam Marker
Courtesy of City of Merriam
rang, the volunteers would drop whatever they were doing and respond to the emergency. Joe Weaver, owner of Weaver's Grocery Store, was often waiting on customers when the alarm sounded.
 
Erected 2006 by City of Merriam. (Marker Number 09.)
 
Location. 39° 0.875′ N, 94° 41.401′ W. Marker is in Merriam, Kansas, in Johnson County. Click for map. Marker is at the Merriam Visitors Bureau, near Exit #228B of Interstate 35, and immediately southwest of the intersection of Shawnee Mission Parkway (US 56) and Eby Avenue. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6304 East Frontage Road, Mission KS 66202, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. City of Firsts (here, next to this marker); The South Park Community (here, next to this marker); Community of Excellence (a few steps from this marker); Education in Merriam (a few steps from this marker); Merriam Park (a few steps from this marker); The Bear Pit (within shouting distance of this marker); The Trolley Line & Hocker Grove Amusement Park (within shouting distance of this marker); Merriam Park & George Kessler (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Merriam.
 
Also see . . .
1. About Merriam, Kansas
Engel Photo on Incorporation of Merriam Marker image. Click for full size.
By Unknown, circa 1950s
4. Engel Photo on Incorporation of Merriam Marker
Courtesy of City of Merriam
. (Submitted on December 17, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Merriam, Kansas, City Government. (Submitted on December 17, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Categories. Government
 
Fire Truck Photo on Incorporation of Merriam Marker image. Click for full size.
By Unknown, 1950s
5. Fire Truck Photo on Incorporation of Merriam Marker
Courtesy of City of Merriam Fire Department
Did You Know? on Incorporation of Merriam Marker image. Click for full size.
By Unknown, 1950s
6. Did You Know? on Incorporation of Merriam Marker
Photo courtesy of City of Merriam Fire Department
Merriam Visitors Bureau Sign on Shawnee Mission Parkway image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr.
7. Merriam Visitors Bureau Sign on Shawnee Mission Parkway
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 297 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.   2. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.   3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.   7. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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