Sunday, April 20, 2014

Today in History, January 1914

By LOUIS REED, local historian | 12/31/2013

• Ottawa is almost 50 years old, only a few months lacking when the 50th anniversary of the organization of the original town company will be celebrated.

Ottawa was not the first settlement in Franklin County. Minneola, Centropolis, Lane, Ohio City and Peoria were all settled before Ottawa was founded. Minneola had reached her zenith and was beginning to crumble away. She had lost the state capitol fight and in time lost the county seat, although it was the seat of justice after St. Bernard had lost it. St. Bernard was a little village founded by J.M. Bernard, a pro-slavery man, and his town was designated as the county seat in 1855 by the legislature which was made up of Missourians.

• Ottawa is almost 50 years old, only a few months lacking when the 50th anniversary of the organization of the original town company will be celebrated.

Ottawa was not the first settlement in Franklin County. Minneola, Centropolis, Lane, Ohio City and Peoria were all settled before Ottawa was founded. Minneola had reached her zenith and was beginning to crumble away. She had lost the state capitol fight and in time lost the county seat, although it was the seat of justice after St. Bernard had lost it. St. Bernard was a little village founded by J.M. Bernard, a pro-slavery man, and his town was designated as the county seat in 1855 by the legislature which was made up of Missourians.

The future site of Ottawa was an Indian village in the early 1860s. It was situated on the old Ohio City road, and the ford across the Marais des Cygnes at Hickory Street was known then as the Ohio City crossing. By treaty and purchase, C.C. Hutchinson, Indian agent, I.S. Kalloch and others secured the town site in the spring of 1864 and soon afterward organized a town company. The town drew its name from the Ottawa Indians who lived on the banks of the river. James Wind, chief of the Ottawa’s was one of the principals in the organization of the town.

The first house was started March 31, 1864. Previous to that, tents spotted the ground. That first house was erected at what is now First and Walnut streets. The present frame residence, just north of and across the Missouri Pacific tracks from the wholesale grocery is the remnant of that first house. In the later 1880s, the original house was remodeled and changed to the present structure.

The town site company maintained the village until June 18, 1866, when Ottawa was incorporated as a town.

Ottawa had become the county seat of Franklin County Aug. 1, 1864, by the popular vote of the people. There had been a long fight between other towns, some of which are now extinct.

The town became a city of the second class Nov. 23, 1867, by a vote of 127 for to 29 against. The city officers were chosen one week later, Nov. 30. Asa S. Lathrop was elected mayor, H.P. Welsh, city attorney; A.H. Baldwin, treasurer; A.M. Blair, city clerk; D.C. Jenness, marshal, and W.D. Walsh, engineer. A total of 225 votes were cast.

• New Years baby. The stork began the glad new year well in Ottawa. While the echoes of the whistles and bells were still sounding last night, a baby girl came to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Shinkle of North Main Street.

• Numerous Ottawans have made inventions and have secured patents on them. One of the most recent is an invention by J.M. Stucker which promises to change affairs materially in the automobile world and to cut down expenses of automobile accessories. This invention is an automatic power jack for automobiles and prevents the wear on tires when the car is standing in the garage.

• A look back at 1913 shows these improvements: A new government building, modern in every way. The paving of South Poplar and South Oak streets. A macadam road to Highland Cemetery. A new $6,000 club house at the Ottawa Country Club. Consolidation of schools in the Salem Hall and Rantoul neighborhoods. A developed oil territory within five miles of Ottawa. Another new Warner factory building. A gymnasium for Ottawa University. A new Catholic church, already under construction. A rejuvenated Chautauqua Assembly. A new Missouri Pacific depot. A natatorium. A reorganized band on a sound basis. And possibly an interurban line connecting us with Olathe and Iola.

• The Semple sanitarium has grown from a 40-room dwelling to a 31-room institution and has been built up and made successful wholly by Mrs. Semple’s management. Her renown has brought thousands of persons here to Ottawa and has added thousands of dollars to the financial income. This magnificent institution, which is fully equipped for the care and cure of sick, has been tendered by Mr. and Mrs. Semple as a gift to Ottawa and Franklin County. In some way, the idea has not taken root in the minds of the taxpayers or someone would begin to study out why Franklin County could not own and control this sanitarium. One proviso should awaken the interest of all humanitariums, namely the care of the sick/poor of Franklin County at no cost to anyone save the institution. Mrs. Semple says the calls have been so many this winter already that she has been compelled to withhold her bounty inasmuch as she is an individual and should not be expected to do alone the work of the whole county.

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