Caldwell in Sumner County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Caldwell “The Border Queen” / On This Site
Founded 1871, incorporated 1879 by a town company of investors from Wichita and named for U. S. Sen. Alexander Caldwell. The original townsite was north of Ave. F, the Kansas state line prior to 1876. One of the original cowtowns in Kansas, violence and politics claimed 16 city marshals between 1879 and 1885 and led a Wichita editor to write, "As we go to press hell is again in session in Caldwell." Founded on the Chisholm Trail, which was 200 - 400 yards wide and ran just east of this park in a northerly direction, Caldwell acted as a railroad shipping point for Texas longhorn cattle. By 1886 the cattle shipping had moved west as farmers settled the area and planted their Russian hard winter wheat. In 1893 congress opened to settlement the Cherokee outlet, and thousands of land hungry pioneers staged here before making the last great land rush in America. Caldwell of the past was home to gunslingers, cowboys, prostitutes, Indians, saloon keepers, and criminals; but around this sign today is a proud, quiet, farming community made up of good citizens instilling its small - town values on its youth .... though, as Bill O'Neal wrote of Caldwell in 1980, "In just the right light it is not difficult to imagine the sounds of a frontier saloon, of cattle hooves, and gunfire."
(Continued on other side)
Originally sold as empty lots in 1879 for $125, by 1887 a $45,000, 3 story building stood here. Made of Caldwell brick with St. Louis brick fronts and blue cut limestone accents, the building stood 75' tall and was the highest private building in Sumner County. The first floor contained 4 stores, the second had offices, and the masonic lodge was on the third. Known to recent generations as the J. C. Penney store, the building was home to a variety of professionals, businesses, and families during its 102 year existence, finally succumbing to time, disrepair, and the wrecker's ball in 1989.
Catty - corner to the NW was the "Leland", a legendary 1883 cattlemen's hotel. There is a tunnel running between here and the Leland, under Main Street, built as an exit from the hotel for gamblers when law enforcement took exception to their illegal activities. Such exception rarely occurred in cowtown Caldwell in the 1880's for it might have hurt business in the booming city.
Erected 1993 by The Caldwell Historical Society.
Location. 37° 1.868′ N, 97° 36.406′ W. Marker is in Caldwell, Kansas, in Sumner County. Marker is at the intersection Touch for map. Located with a small park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 102 South Main Street, Caldwell KS 67022, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Chisholm Trail (here, next to this marker); Chisholm (a few steps from this marker); The Stock Exchange Bank (within shouting distance of this marker); Native Stone Building (within shouting distance of this marker); The Railroad Influence (within shouting distance of this marker); The Leland Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker); The Legend of Mount Lookout / Gunfire Kills Lawman (within shouting distance of this marker); The Grand Opera House (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Caldwell.
More about this marker. Funded by donations from the Border Queen Museum Board and Rose Ellen Wood in memory of Dr. L. Curtise Wood Phd. 1911-1991.
Categories. • Animals • Industry & Commerce • Notable Buildings • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on August 6, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 6, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 107 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 6, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.