Saturday, June 15, 2024

A Long Time Ago

The town of Strong City originated in March 1871 when the Santa Fe Railroad was completed to the point then known as Cottonwood Station.

In February 1881, a petition was signed by a majority of citizens and presented to the legislature asking that the body officially change the name to Strong.  It was approved and Cottonwood Station was renamed in honor of William Barstow (W. B.) Strong, general superintendent and later, president of the Santa Fe Railway System.  In 1945 "City" was added to the name "Strong".
A six stall roundhouse employed many workers and was active from 1887 - 1938.

The original depot burned in 1902 and was replaced in 1903.  In 1913, due in part to the very heavy passenger and freight traffic, a new brick depot trimmed in native cut limestone was built for a cost of $20,000.  The new depot was up to date in every way and was one of the best in the Santa Fe System.

The caboose was donated to the city by Santa Fe in 1990.

The Stone Industry
The stone industry was the main factor in upbuilding Strong City, and such men as John Emslie, the Rettiger brothers, Pat Norton, Tweedale and Parker and L.P. Santy were employers of many men. These men began their work in Strong City with the building of the Chase County Courthouse at Cottonwood Falls in 1872.

The Charles and Barney Lantry's firm built many stone bridges for the Santa Fe and other western railroads. In the beginning it built stone-work for certain phases of railroad construction, but later they did build complete railroads, grading, laying the track, building the bridges and stations, the roundhouses and other division buildings. 
The first stone-crushers Kansas ever saw were brought to the state by the Lantrys and were operated on a very large scale on Crusher Hill at Strong City.  Most of the stone for masonry and road-ballast for their jobs all over the west, was taken from their quarries at Strong City.

Big stones for the Capitol of Topeka came from Strong City, each stone weighing 13,000 pounds.  Stone was also used for public and private buildings in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and Colorado.