The History of Eudora, Kansas
The History of Eudora, Kansas
With increasing use of the Internet for news, newspapers faced publication declines with many ceasing publication as did the Eudora News. The Eudora community, in response, relied on Facebook, the Lawrence Journal World, in August 2010, John Schulz, a new resident with a journalism background, started the online EudoraReporter.com. The Eudora Times and Eudora Kansas Community Discussion and Bulletin surfaced a few years later to keep residents informed of community happenings.
After 23 years, Eudora police chief Greg Dahlem retired April 1. Grady Walker, who had been in Douglas County law enforcement for 32 years and with the City of Eudora’s police force since 2007, took over the leadership position.
By school’s opening in August, the 2010 high school stadium was ready to host football, soccer, and track events that was significantly damaged by pranksters within a year.
Regarding city growth and structuring, Eudora became a City of the Second Class in December 2010. This status allows the council and citizens to give more power to the mayor and city administrator and changes taxing. Residents no longer had to pay the Eudora Township tax on their property tax bill, an estimated $50,000 loss for the Eudora Township budget.
New 2010 businesses were the Black Cat Café, 726 Main and Hair, Nail and Tanning Company in the former meat plant site for more than a hundred years at 800 Main. Eudora Auto Parts was remodeled by new owners Carol and Russ Hopping.
The start of 2011 was the end of the school at 10th and Main Street. Representatives from the city of Eudora, Eudora Township Library Board, and Eudora School District agreed to demolish the building so the site could host a new public safety building, a proposed new library, and space for the Eudora School District. The Eudora Area Historical Society, which stored artifacts and publications at the school, moved to the former Nottingham School, 15th and Elm Street.
During 2011, University of Kansas interns with city support obtained grants for exhibits and remodeling funds for two downtown buildings donated by Pam Trefz Staub for a museum.
Because of a March fire resulting from a heat dipping cone machine, the Dairy Queen had to rebuild its interior, and the next month Lawrence Memorial Hospital opened its 10,500-square-foot building housing 11 exam rooms, procedure room, and x-ray equipment. Also in the building were LMH’s outpatient physical therapy services and Byrne’s Pharmacy owned by Deborah Barr.
Those holding elected or appointed positions, included: School board: Joe Pyle, Eric Votaw, Mark Chrislip, Joe Hurla, Mike Kelso, Daniel Dickerson, and Belinda Rehmer; Chamber of Commerce: Susie Pryor, Amanda Hermann, Amy Durkin, Collin Bielser, Angie Miller, Linda Langston, and Kathy Brecheisen; Planning Commission: Kurt von Achen, Ken Adkinson, Glenn Bartlett, Richard Campbell, Grant Martin, Erica Spurling, and Johnny Stewart; and City Council: Scott Hopson, Ruth Hughs, Tim Reazin, John Fiore, Kenny Massey, and Bill Whitten.
The 2011 City Council rolled out 19 restrictive ordinances. Not only were roller skating, skateboards, and bicycling banned from sidewalks, parks, and parking lots in downtown Eudora but so were boats and recreational vehicles from city streets after 48 hours and cars parked on grass.
The three-mile section of Douglas County Route 442— a half-mile east of Noria Road to Wakarusa River Bridge west of Eudora —was repaved by Perry-based Hamm Inc. for $1.1 million dollars. The company removed the top five inches of pavement and replacing it with sealant topped by inches of asphalt. The concrete base of the original K-10 road built in the 1930s was said to be in good shape and the repaving was to accommodate the road’s 4,000 daily vehicles.
New businesses downtown in 2011 were Past and Present Treasures, owned by Kim and Jerry Hunter, which offered antiques, gifts, and collectibles, and Cami’s Cake Company owned by Cami San Romani and open by appointment. Penny Annie’s, a longtime Massachusetts Street business in Lawrence, opened at 704 Main, offering candies, ice cream, fudge, popcorn, and other sweet treats. DC Custom Cycles moved to 714 Main Street and opened Free State Guns & Tactical Weapons.
In other locations, Auburn Pharmacy, the 15th in a chain by Eudoran Mike Burns, opened at 15th and Church and Java to Go, an 8’ x 8’ building in the C & S Market parking lot owned by Erica Spurling and features coffee, lattes, smoothies, and shaved ice. Casa Agave opened in February of 2012 at 10th Street and Locust Street and obtained a downtown enhancement grant for signage. Once the sign was installed, the Mexican-themed restaurant changed its name to Los Agaves, and then by September, the popular restaurant had closed without explanation. Cardinal Motors, 411 E 10th Street, owned by Dennis Thome also opened in 2012 to sell pre-owned vehicles priced $3993 and lower. And, the voter-approved city government changed from a mayor/city council form of government to a city manager/city commissioner form, thus, ending the power of a public-elected mayor to appoint department heads.
The year 2013 started with installation of Eudora’s first stoplight to flash red during the peak school beginning and ending hours. During the remaining time, the light flashed yellow as a caution. After two days of complaints, the light was turned off. A later engineering study recommended that it would be best to reevaluate the intersection in the future.
In a year of a significant number of house fires, the Eudora Public Safety was built on the northeast corner of Main and Tenth streets. Downtown, Penny Annie’s Sweet Shoppe, 704 Main, closed citing health, inspection issues, and insufficient customer numbers; and His Hands Clothing Closet, 727 Main, operated by Christine and Paul Zimmer, moved across the street to 736B Main Street. Elsewhere, Angel Alvarez, who operated similar restaurants in Lawrence, opened Mexquisito’s Mexican restaurant in February at 10th and Locust streets only to close by September. Eric Long and Jennifer Jones launched Eudora Auto and Tire, 505 W. 10th Street, saying they could work on most any vehicle up to 2012 models. Kent Mulkey also opened up Steelhead Recording and Guitar, 101 W. 10th Street, for guitar lessons and recording. Quoting George Eliot, Mulkey encouragingly advices, “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”
At In-Tech Business Park, the following business were in operation: Glaser Williams (trucking company with seven employees); Kingston Printing (commercial printing company with 30 employees); HP Pelzer (automotive component manufacturer with 150 employees); EuroTec Vertical Flight Solutions (helicopter repair service); Air Filter Plus (air filter supply with 27 employees); and ATA Storage.
In 2014, the Eudora School District sold its 14th and Church Street property to Lawrence developer Mike Flory. This land included baseball diamond, original Nottingham Elementary School ($425,000) and Laws Field ($400,000).
Construction on the newest Holy Family Church began with clearing off trees from the former baseball field and removing the parking lot. The church was completed by fall of 2015.
On another note, the Eudora High School boys’ basketball team won the Class 4A State Championship by defeating Scott Community (71-58). New businesses were D-Dub’s Bar and Grill co-owned by Darick Willis and Travis Turner, 10 W. Ninth St. in November 2014 that took the Anthony’s Diner site; Eudora Prime Martial Arts, 104 W. 20th Street, owned by Ron and Lara Covert of Lawrence; Sweet Acres Inn Bed & Breakfast, 103 E. 7th, owned by Robert and Sue Howig; The Filling Station, 726 1/2 Main, (home décor, furniture, crafts); Indie Olive, 706 Main, personalized stationery and greeting cards; and Red Door Event, 704 Main, (event planning). Moved businesses included Free State Guns and Tactical Weapons (downtown to in between Cutter’s Smokehouse and the State Farm Insurance Agency. Diane Elmer, Heads or Nails Family Salon, moved from 713 Main to 924 Locust. Cami SanRomani, Cami’s Cake Company, moved into the Salon’s 800 Main location.
During 2015, the National Weather Service in Topeka determined an EF-1 tornado traveled at 110 miles an hour along K-10 and then west to 103rd street July 6 causing substantial tree damage. Another natural disaster took place in October when the presence of emerald ash borer, that destroys ash trees, was confirmed in Eudora. Celebrating nature was the September 26 Great Kaw Adventure Race, a 25-mile foot, canoe and bike race through Eudora and De Soto Kansas developed by the City of Eudora and the City of DeSoto to highlight their cities and the Kansas River. [In 2016, the race changed to 30 miles with a five-mile option.] A community highlight and effort was the opening of the Eudora Community Museum maintained by the Eudora Area Historical Society. Nearby, Mary Kirkendoll’s Eudora Yoga Center opened in August 2015 to offer a variety of asana classes as well as 1.5 hour sessions in Sanskrit, yoga philosophy, and meditation with many traveling from Lawrence to attend the classes.
Twenty years in the making, the six-mile, four-lane Kansas 10 South Lawrence Trafficway looping around Lawrence to the south was completed in 2016 three years after construction began. Also in 2016, the Eudora City Commission started negotiations with CBC Real Estate Group LLC for the former Nottingham Elementary school 15-acre site to be developed with tax increment financing district designation into more than 90,000 square feet of retail space with second-floor apartments. A row of trees was to be planted to separate the proposed anchor from the Eudora recreation center and Elm Street residents. Unable to meet city’s residency requirement, Gary Ortiz was replaced as city manager by Kenyan-born Barack Matite, who started as an unpaid intern four years ago. On the technology front, Eudora High School students were given laptops, and the city installed smart wireless water meters that no longer necessitate on-site meter readers.
After a $6,000 remodel with half of that provided by a city grant to tile the floor, install a new ceiling, paint, line walls with corrugated sheet metal, Mellissa Dake and Matthew Houser opened The Fork in March 15 that seats 16 at 826 Main. The menu featured hot sandwiches and side orders. Lulu's Bakery relocated from that location to 1004 Locust Street, continuing to be open Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon with cinnamon rolls, croissants, and other pastries made by Cara Austen. At that same location, Amanda Kleine opened Areté Community Fitness. Across the street, Hector Juarez opened Charritos Plaza, 202 E. 10th St., site of the former Salt n’ Pepper Mexican restaurant, in November with traditional Mexican fare, hamburgers, Margaritas, and bottled beer. On Dec. 23, Susan Rider Pelzel and Joe Pelzel hosted an open house for The Lodge, 726 Main, an event venue named in reference to its former site of three fraternal organizations upstairs.
In 2017, Wes Lovett became the new police chief. After Bo Hopson, 32, a security guard at D-Dubs, had offered to find Danny Queen, 39, a ride home when Queen was told to leave the bar, Queen shot Hopson who later died.
The next year, Lois Hamilton placed her 276 acres along the Kansas River near Eudora with the Kansas Land Trust in 2013 and rights to her water and wells to the city of Eudora in 2018. New businesses in 2018 were Frontier Bike, 110 E. 20th St., and Mur’s Tire and Auto, 505 W. 10th. On Nov. 8, groundbreaking on the Homestead of Eudora assisted living and memory care home northwest of Church Street and 28th Street too place.
The year 2019 saw a mile-wide F-4 tornado that blew 31 miles from Lawrence through Eudora and Linwood with winds up to 175 miles per hour. The U.S. Census in 2019 estimated for the 2,114 household the median income was $87,692, and house value at $169,000. Of those household, 93.8 percent had a computer, 33.2 percent had a four-year college degree, and 12.2 percent were below the poverty level.
In 2020, Modern Manufacturing, which makes light systems used at crossings and steel storage for rail electronic equipment, purchased 18 acres and a 50,000-square-foot vacant industrial building in the Intech Business Park. It was the former Sac’s distribution center at 1202 Cardinal Drive. The Canadian company said it would invest about $8.3 million to purchase, renovate and equip the building and employee 80. Steve Splichal, Eudora school superintendent, resigned after seven years and taking job opportunity in Wyoming. The year was dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic that resulted in the closing of the library, schools to operate remotely, and businesses requiring customers to wear facial masks. Curbs and gutters were replaced along Church Street from 10th Street North to Ninth Street.
The Kansas Department of Transportation awarded Eudora $1.1 million in grant to build a new sidewalk that will run along 10th Street, beginning at Church Street and ending at Peach Street to connect to the elementary school. The Eudora City Commission purchased land for new water treatment plant at 2216 N. 1420 Road.
The pandemic continued to impact Eudora in 2021 as did the Nottingham Center construction.