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

Cawker City

Established 1870

 
 
Cawker City Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 6, 2017
1. Cawker City Marker
Inscription.
History
Cawker City was founded in 1870 by four men, who played a poker game to see who the town would be named after. The winner, Colonel E. H. Cawker, built the first house in town. The town was incorporated on March 20, 1874, and grew quickly. Soon Cawker City had mills, banks, churches, an opera house, a city auditorium, and full-time train service. By 1880, the town's population was at its peak, at 2,000. In 1884 a new high school building replaced the one built in 1871. The local women took over the men's library club in 1884 and stored the books in the Hesperian Library, which now houses a museum. After its peak, the population slowly began to fall. Soon, as happened to many Kansas towns, the last passenger train came to Cawker City in 1960. Today, Cawker City is a small town with around 600 people, but still has all of the qualities you would expect in a fine upstanding community.

Architecture
Wisconsin Street, Hands Down
Check out the original and outstanding architecture in Cawker City's downtown area. Strung out along U.S. Highway 24, the Wisconsin Street Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Geography
Springs and Reservoirs
The location of Cawker City on the is 39 degrees
Marker detail: Looking east along Wisconsin Street in 1909 image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: Looking east along Wisconsin Street in 1909
30" 45' North, 98 degrees 26” 00' West. In other words, the town is located in Mitchell County in north central Kansas. It was founded near the legendary Waconda Springs and currently sits at the midpoint of the north shore of Waconda Lake.

Art
Musical Art
Built in 1886, the Cawker City United Methodist Church organ is the oldest church organ in Kansas. Henry Pilcher's Sons of Louisville, Kentucky built the organ for the congregational church in Kinsley, Kansas. In 1931, the Cawker Methodists bought the organ and placed it in their native limestone church. The organ is typically English in construction and features painted pipes with “Victorian stencil” designs. English features include a swell box for the upper manual, two foot levers which add or take off stops on the great for quick dynamic changes, and the use of a 12-note common bass stop for each manual for the stops which begin at tenor C. The organ can be pumped by hand or winded by an electric motor. The case is of ash and oak and the key desk and pedalboard are of walnut.

Cuisine/Commerce
A Little Grillin’, Some Fishin’, and then Shoppin’
Wisconsin Street's shops house everything from antiques to hardware to food, and much more. Check out the local eateries while you spend your weekend fishing and hunting at Waconda
Marker detail: The poker game for the naming of the new town image. Click for full size.
Sketch by Cher Heller Olson
3. Marker detail: The poker game for the naming of the new town
Lake.

Customs
Some Twine and a Dream
Frank Stoeber started this ball of twine on his farm in 1953. By 1957 it weighed 5,000 pounds, stood 8 feet high, and had 1,175,180 feet of twine on it. Stoeher gave the ball to Cawker City in 1961.

The Cawker City Community Club is the official owner caretaker of the Ball of Twine. Each year the Twine-A-Than is held in conjunction with the annual Cawker City Picnic and Parade, so the ball never stops growing. The picnic and parade are on the third Saturday in August, with the twine winding being held the Friday before.

The ball of twine is located in downtown Cawker City on the south side of Wisconsin Street. It is half a block west of Lake Drive, but you shouldn't have any trouble finding it (After all, this is a small town and a BIG ball of twine).

People
Boosting Community Pride
A number of churches and civic organizations make up the human physique of this rural community and serve as town "boosters," providing support and direction to the many people and businesses that call Cawker City home. And the North Central Kansas Genealogical Society has its headquarters in Cawker City; it has worked for over two decades in aiding the public in rediscovering their heritage.
 
Location.
Cawker City Marker Kiosk image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 6, 2017
4. Cawker City Marker Kiosk
39° 30.577′ N, 98° 26.006′ W. Marker is in Cawker City, Kansas, in Mitchell County. Marker is on Wisconsin Street (U.S. 24) west of Lake Drive, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is located beside the sidewalk, on the north side of Wisconsin Street, in a small plaza occupying the northwest corner of the Wisconsin Street / Lake Drive intersection. Marker is in this post office area: Cawker City KS 67430, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Homestead of J. Gledhill (within shouting distance of this marker); World's Largest Ball of Sisal Twine (within shouting distance of this marker); Waconda Springs (approx. 2.7 miles away); Waconda (Great Spirit Spring) (was approx. 2.7 miles away but has been reported missing. ); Waconda Springs / Glen Elder State Park (approx. 4.9 miles away); Sod and Stubble (approx. 5.8 miles away); Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot (approx. 5.9 miles away); The Founding of Downs, Kansas (approx. 5.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cawker City.
 
More about this marker. This is a large "kiosk-style" marker, mounted within a large wooden frame.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. "World's Largest Ball of Sisal Twine"
 
Categories. Churches & ReligionIndustry & CommerceMan-Made FeaturesSettlements & Settlers
 
Cawker City Marker Kiosk (<i>wide view from Wisconsin Street; maker kiosk beside sidewalk</i>) image. Click for full size.
September 6, 2017
5. Cawker City Marker Kiosk (wide view from Wisconsin Street; maker kiosk beside sidewalk)
"World's Largest Ball of Sisal Twine" (<i>located across the street from this marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 6, 2017
6. "World's Largest Ball of Sisal Twine" (located across the street from this marker)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 30, 2018. This page originally submitted on September 24, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 38 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 24, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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