The History of Eudora, Kansas
The History of Eudora, Kansas
What names were proposed for Eudora? “Fish Crossing City” and “South Chicago” are but two names suggested for Eudora. A Kansas City Star 1930s article about Eudora said “Fish” was another name considered for the town site.
Dutch Bill, Eudora’s first German settler? Wilhelm Greiffenstein, also known as “Dutch Bill,” (seen in photograph to right) born in Germany in 1829, first settled in Hermann, Missouri, where he lived with his uncle and worked in a general store. The next year, he moved with his uncle’s family to St. Louis where he worked as a clerk, then went to Westport, Missouri, in another clerk position. There he met Joe Boinett with whom he formed a partnership to open a trading establishment on the Wakarusa River near present Eudora. Accompanied by Shawnee guides, Greiffenstein left the store in his partner's hands in 1852 to profitably trade near the Texas border before returning. In 1854, he sold his store interest, joined traders traveling to New Mexico, and came back to Topeka to trade with the Pottawatomie. After an 1858 visit back to Germany to settle his father’s estate, he resumed trade with the Pottawatomie at St. Marys and set up headquarters for trading expeditions westward to the Cheyenne country around Smoky Hill Valley. He traveled with his wife, Cheyenne Jenny, an invalid, and set up his trading post at Walnut Creek. A few years later, he left and sometime in 1865 he established a trading ranch on Cowskin Creek in present Sedgwick County. That year he cleared $5,000 and continued to amass a substantial fortune. In time, he bought a trading post near the mouth of the Little Arkansas River and, with others, established Wichita, Kansas, and was later its mayor in 1880. Marshall Murdock, editor of the Wichita Eagle and a friend of Greiffenstein, later recalled that "there was a time when nearly every worthy Indian in this part of the country seeking aid or avoiding trouble could pull from the recesses of his blanket a dirty, crumpled letter from Bill Greiffenstein notifying the public that this was a good Indian." Source: Kansas History Quarterly, Vol. 6, pgs. 17-19 and Walnut Creek Ranches on Santa Fe Trail Research Site by Larry and Carolyn Mix, St. John, Kansas.
Was there a Shawnee trail? Georgianna “Anna” Rogers Stanley, born in 1861, the daughter of George and Laura Stanley, often told her children stories of the Shawnee traveling on a trail east of the Hesper Church. In her obituary, the children said the Shawnee used to travel the trail to go to their camps on Captain Creek and the Wakarusa River.
Who else wanted to found a town here? A company in Chicago conceived the idea of locating a place to build a western town for shareholders who would sell town lots for profit. Several land speculators wanted to buy the attractive Eudora townsite area. In 1855, Samuel Clarke Pomeroy, one of the first Kansas senators to Congress, wrote James Blood, the first mayor of Lawrence, about his attempts and those of others to buy the land from the Shawnee. Wrote Samuel James Reader, another who noted Eudora's desirability, to his half-brother, Frank, July 13, 1862: “The Dr [a surgeon in Col. Ritchies Reg. of Indian Home Guards] writes that there is splendid land on the Southern border of this State; in the Shawnee Reserve, also. The place he admired the most is called Eudora. The Indians of this nation have come in as citizens and the land can be sold.” Source: Samuel C. Pomeroy to James Blood, 3 February 1855, Blood Collection (Collection 281), KSHS, Topeka , KS, 1-3; Letters of Samuel James Reader, 1861-1863, Pioneer of Soldier Township, Shawnee County , May, 1940 (Vol. 9, No. 2), pgs. 141-174.
How was the weather in 1859? In 1859, it didn’t rain for 16 months.
Did it snow much in the 1860s? In 1864, snow fell for weeks. Children walked on top of the five-foot high, frozen snow on their way to and from school.
How cold has it been in Eudora? In 1912, the temperature was 24 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. William Schaake, Kaw Valley, lost 25 mules after he took 49 mules north of the river to graze. Twenty-nine decided to return home over the iced-over river that broke when they crossed, which caused death for most.
Where is a good place to seek cover in a tornado? During times of great storms and possible tornadoes, Eudora’s Indian population would gather on the south, never the north, side of the river for safety, wrote Olive Nuttall in her memories of growing up in Eudora.
What laws should I know about? A long-ago Eudora local ordinance read that horse riders could go no faster than three miles an hour on Main Street. The first city ordinance concerned dogs running loose and through the years, this issue has resurfaced repeatedly with 18 ordinances regarding dogs and two additional ordinances for pit bull dogs. Mulberry trees appear to be another subject of city concern as Eudora Ordinance 13-302 states: It shall be unlawful for any person to set out a mulberry tree in the street parking ground or any public park of the city.
Who are some Hesper notables? The son of Quaker parents, Walter Roscoe Stubbs came with his family to Hesper in 1869 and left Hesper in 1881 to attend the University of Kansas, and later to farm and grade roads for railroad companies. His grading company got so large that at one time he employed several thousand men from his headquarters in Chicago. In 1902, Stubbs ran successfully for the Kansas state legislature. Three terms later, in January of 1909, Stubbs was sworn in as the 18th governor of Kansas. Another Hesper “who’s who” was James L. Davis who came with his family in 1860 to settle at Hesper. At age 21, Davis left his many relatives for Iowa and went on to build a wholesale photograph business that was international at the time of his retirement with offices in Berlin, Liverpool, Sidney, and other major cities. He made it a point to hire people who wanted to earn their way through college. In 1899, he bought buildings to house a college he called Friends University and gave them to the Quaker church. The gift came with a request to raise a $50,000 endowment fund. Andrew Carnegie, the philanthropist and business magnate, donated $25,000. Davis’ brother-in-law, Edmund Stanley, served as the college’s president. Another Hesper stand-out was John Outland, a Kansas City surgeon and head coach of the Kansas University football team in 1901, who was born at Hesper. With Phog Allen and Karl Schlademan, Outland founded the Kansas Relays, a top track and field event, according to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.
What movie stars lived around Eudora? Charles “Buddy” Rogers (1904-1999), who starred in 52 movies and television appearance including the 1927 “Wings,” the first film to win an Oscar, and also was known for his bandleading and 42-year marriage to “America’s Sweetheart” actress Mary Pickford, owned a ranch southeast of Eudora. In an interview by Guy Flatley Rogers said, “I was studying journalism at the University of Kansas when Paramount came through looking for 10 boys and 10 girls to put together a Paramount School of Acting out at Astoria [Queens]. They taught us how to roll down a flight of stairs without hurting ourselves, how to wear false beards and how to hold a kiss for three minutes without laughing. That was a beautiful time. Work was fun. Automobiles were fun, there were dances all the time, and every star knew every other star.” Another Eudora-Hollywood connection is through actor Hugh Beaumont. According to common lore, the actor Hugh Beaumont, was said to have been born in the Hesper area February 16, 1909, even though film biographies list his birthplace as Lawrence. Beaumont, best known for playing Ward Cleaver in the television series "Leave It to Beaver," (1957-1963), appeared in more than 80 movies during the 1940s and 1950s. Hugh’s grandmother Kate Stanwick (who married John Henry Whitney) seems to the be the one born in Eudora. His mother, Ethel Adaline Whitney, was born in Lawrence and had only had one child She shows up in the 1880 census with her parents, George and Selinda, and their seven children (including Kate, who is buried in the Deay Cemetery along with her husband and some sisters, including two who married into the Deay Family. This cemetery is south of Hesper.) Ethel married Edward Beaumont, a traveling salesman, Nov. 9, 1909. They only had one child: Hugh, born Feb. 16, 1909. Geneastar and Wikipedia say there is conflicting evidence about Hugh’s birthplace. His obituary says he was born in Lawrence but “Richard Stanwix, a relative,” said Beaumont was actually born to the east, closer to nearby Eudora.” Lawrence is more common birthplace mentioned. Mr. G.W. Cooper, Vinland area, said she knew the Beaumont family for years and still corresponded with the family. Cooper said Hugh was born in Lawrence “when the family lived in the 800 block on Kentucky Street: and moved when he was five months old” and lived in various parts of the country.” (Feb. 9, 1937, Lawrence Journal World). Findagrave says he was born in Eudora but also says he was born in Lawrence in the text narrative.
How did Eudora compare to other early cities in Kansas? In 1886, the Oct. 2 Wichita Eagle reported that Eudora was the wealthiest city in Kansas of its size, according to the "statistical report."
What storm used to occur that doesn't anymore? Sandstorms (also known as duststorms) with visibility of less than a block, plagued Eudora for decades. They often would last at least an hour and send residents into their cellars. Soil conservation practices helped reduce their frequency.
Which Eudora resident died in the Battle of Shiloh but his dog survived? Charles Durr who would live permanently in Eudora came with Louis Pfeif, a Chicago draftsman who plotted the town into individual lots, some of which he purchased. The father of four, he returned to Chicago where in 1862 he enlisted in the 3rd Illinois Infantry and soon was killed in the Battle of Shiloh. According to family histories, Pfeiff took his dog into battle who stayed with him even after death. Wrote Robert Weintraub in No Better Friend: In April 1862, a lone female passenger detrained in the small Tennessee town of Shiloh, the last time Mrs. Louis Pfeiff had heard from her husband he had been about to march into Shiloh, where the Army of the Tennessee under Ulysses S. Grant was invading the western front of the Confederacy. In the bloodiest battle of the war to that point, the Northerners took Shiloh. But Lieutenant Pfeiff of the 3rd Illinois Infantry had disappeared. So his beloved took the train from Chicago down to Tennessee to find out for herself what had happened. She searched among the roughly twenty thousand dead and wounded men, to no avail. She was about to give up and return home when she spotted her husband’s dog trotting toward her. The small pooch had been in combat with her master, and now she led Mrs. Pfeiff away from the town to a remoted field, all the way to the unmarked grave in which Louis was buried. Asking around, Mrs. Pfeiff discovered that the dog had been there when Louis was shot, stayed by his side until he died, and then faithfully kept watch at the grave site for twelve days. The dog then took the train back to Chicago with Mrs. Pfeiff where Louis was later brought for burial in a cemetery.
Which townsiter was hit by a train 50 feet from his house? A native of Heimbuchenthal or Bayern, Bavaria, Peter Hartig donated the land for Holy Family Cemetery in 1865. He was an original townsiter, and first came to New York, before moving on to Ohio, and Chicago. On the tombstone of his wife, Franzisca Streh, who died at age 75 one year before Peter, was written: “Herr gibe ihnen die ewige ruhe.” They had six children: Emil, Theresa “Tessie” (Stumpf), Barbara (McDonald), John, Lother, and Frank. Peter, who was carrying a basket of eggs, was killed by the Santa Fe California Flyer, 50 feet from the rear gate of his home, when he was crossing three tracks on his way to shop. His daughter, Theresa, called to him as she heard the whistles of the train, but Hartig’s hearing was impaired and he did not hear the approaching train, nor his daughter’s shout. Before he could cross the track, he was struck and hurled 100 feet or more. The only witness to the accident was Charles Lothholz, who watched it from the window of his lumber yard. Hartig’s obituary described him as “a most kind man, scrupulously honest, and sincere with all dealers.” It also said he was “eccentric” even “stubborn” if he thought his rights or the rights of his children were being violated.
Where can you see Eudora-related items in a museum? The Kansas State Historical Museum has an item from Eudora: A red and white quilt with four small crosses and one large center cross made during World War I by a group of women making quilts for the Red Cross, according to the October 2001 “During Times of Strife, Kansas Remember” article by Bobbie Athon.
What is the connection between Eudora and the Pentecostal movement? Charles Parham, “the father of the Pentecostal movement,” which has more than 500 million followers today, came to Eudora at age 19, in 1892, to preside over the Methodist Church services. Two years later, he resigned, in part, because of rumors about his personal life, yet he still continued to send letters to the newspaper about his evangelism. In 1901, Parham founded Bethel Bible School in Topeka where the Pentecostal Movement was born and evolved into denominations such as the Church of God in Christ, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel and the Assemblies of God. For the first 20 years of its existence, the Pentecostals held inter-racial services marked by frenzied worship and the practice of “talking in tongues.”
What costumes might party goers a hundred years wear? One party not too long after the turn of the 20th century took place at Lothholz Hall and brought out the “old folks” in costume. Costumed merry-makers included: L.D. Harris, Chinamen; Henry Hagenbuch, Irishman; S. J. Lawson, Turk; John Dolisi, George Washington; Mrs. Ed Miller, jockey; I. S. McClelland, “Arkansawer;” William Lothholz, a “Negro” lady; Gus Ziesenis, dude; Grace Allen, Martha Washington; Mrs. Charles Daugherty, queen of hearts; Euretta Kraus, Kentucky belle; Mrs. S. V. Carr, Egyptian bride; Jesse Kraybill, devil; and Mrs. H. Landon, schoolgirl. Dressed as clowns were Frank Sommer, B. J. McBride, Henry Oberholtzer, George Schubert, and Ed Miller.
What did people used to hunt in Eudora? Herman Gabriel killed 700 rats when he tore down an old corn crib and barn in 1890. On Memorial Day in 1892, Eudora boys hunted and killed 21 snakes in the cemetery. Brazil Hall caught 60 gophers in the spring of 1900. A 1907 Lawrence Journal story reported: “Frank Schopper relieved the county of $6.70 this morning by bringing in 67 gopher scalps.” Area men also went out in teams in rabbit-killing competitions often shooting 25 each. The "Horse League" (CPA members) used rabbit-killing proceeds to fund their oyster dinners.
What 1903 death of a Eudora area resident made national news? The strangest 1903 death story may be that of Adelia Sharpless. The Associated Press found her funeral interesting and reported on it throughout the country. In 1902, Adelia, a Quaker preacher who preached in Hesper at the Friends Church, left Eudora and married E. V. Sharpless, another preacher. Not too long after the marriage, the wealthy Adelia died in Springdale, Iowa. Her relatives from Pawtuckett, Rhode Island, did not think too much of her new husband but came to the funeral. After the quiet affair, Adelia’s husband took her coffin to the cemetery and it was put into a grave. Or so he thought. Instead, Adelia’s nephew, who had removed her body, with the support of her irate relatives, shipped Adelia’s body back to the family cemetery in Rhode Island.
Did Eudora have gypsies? Gypsies often visited the Eudora area. For example, in 1899 about 30 camped on the north side of the Kansas bridge, and, in 1903, a band of 50 came to Eudora, going to each door “begging” or offering to tell fortunes. The 1909 newspaper mentioned two visits; one was about the covered wagons full of gypsy fortune tellers who came to town, and, in February, the men who were “hard lookers” and the women “chasing all over town.” The north side of the river also attracted “tramps,” according to the Lawrence Daily Journal and Evening Tribune that reported October 25, 1997 that up to two dozen tramps would camp with their wagons at a time.
Why should Eudora be proud of its floodplain? The Kansas River-Wakarusa River confluence is the second widest flood plain west of the Mississippi River.
How many square miles is the city of Eudora? According to the United States Census Bureau, the city of Eudora has a total area of 2.94 square miles of which 2.89 square miles is land and 0.05 square miles is water.
What used to be in every school classroom? The Eudora School Board at one time had a Bible placed in every classroom.
When did Eudora get parking space on Main Street? In 1927, the Main Street curbs were marked for the first time with parking spaces. The principal streets were oiled, and men with teams of horses laid a heavy coat of chat on top of the oil.
Does Eudora have earthquakes? Yes. A light earthquake rattled the dishes of Eudora residents at 5 a.m. during one March day in 1935. A second, lighter tremor followed soon after. USGS recorded quakes by Eudora in 1999 and 2007.
Does Eudora have a ghost? Several Internet websites and books about the supernatural relate the story of the “ghost of Eudora.” This ghost appears in Weaver Bottoms and is said to be the ghost of a woman, who killed herself by jumping in front of a train after she learned her boyfriend was killed in World War II, wrote Haunted USA: Eudora. Another ghost associated with Eudora is Lizza Madden who was thought to have been murdered and thrown off the northwestern railroad bridge. A Lawrence World November 26, 1897 account read: “Those who have seen the ghost say there is little doubt about it being the ghost of the Madden woman. Some have said that spirit acted at times as if it were in pain and at other times as if there was a struggle.” Few traveled the bridge at night to avoid the ghost. The Eudora Cemetery records list a Lizzie Madden, no age given, who was black and drowned February 28, 1897.
Who named Eudora streets? In 1946, the Eudora Flower Club named city streets after trees.
What buildings are on the National and State Register of Historic Places? The National Register lists the Pilla (Charles) House, 615 Elm (September 9, 1974); Holy Family Church at 911 East Ninth Street (2020); and 714 Main (2022). As for the State Register, 720 Main Street (2014); 707 Main Street (2012); and John Brender house at 545 W 20th St. (2019) are on it. Eudora also has one of the few cemeteries in the state on the State Register and National Register as well. The B’nai Israel Jewish Cemetery located at the intersection of Winchester Road and 20th Street was added to the National Register in 2013.
How feet above sea level is Eudora? Eudora’s terrain ranges from 800 feet above sea level in its northwest corner to more than 900 feet in its southern boundaries.
How did the city bell get to be where it is? The 1866 school bell in Eudora was used by the school and by City Hall. Joe Hargrave bought the bell and moved to Council Grove. When he decided to sell it, John Landon Sr., of Eudora bought it for $125 and donated it to the city of Eudora. For his Eagle Scout project, Scott Kleinschmidt with the help of fellow Boy Scouts built the brick stand and mounted the bell at Ninth Street and Main Street. In 2002, the bell was moved to the lawn of City Hall.
How many trucks load up daily at a Eudora quarry? When a major project is underway, N. R. Hamm Quarry, Inc., a 72-acre limestone operation southeast of Eudora, may have 100 trucks a day load up 25 tons of gravel each before going to a building site for concrete and asphalt production. The quarry is directly north of another quarry.
Which Eudorans have campaigned to be the governor of Kansas? In 1998, David Miller, then age 48, stepped down from his role as chairman of the state Republican Party to run for the Republican nomination for governor. A member of the Kansas Legislature for nine years and owner of the Miller Agency Insurance in Eudora, Miller used the slogan "Restoring Kansas values." He supported a flat 3.5% state income tax, public prayer, the right to carry concealed weapons, English as the state language, highway building, use of public money for private schools, and the elimination of mill local property tax to fund public schools. He was opposed to homosexual marriages and abortion. When the primary results came in, Graves had 73% of the vote, and Miller 27%. In 2002, another Eudoran campaigned for the governor’s seat. Dan Bloom, a former Eudora school superintendent, made a run but dropped out of the August primary in a race that Democrat Kathleen Sebelius ultimately won. Richard Rodewald, an automotive engineer from Eudora, filed to run as a Republican candidate in the August 2006 gubernatorial election.
Tom Tucker wrote [April 19, 2007]: The following is what I think I know, but like they say, "you don't know what you don't know.” I know that Eudora Fish married Dallas Emmons on May 2nd, 1868. The marriage license indicates that she was age 19 on that date. I have a copy of the marriage license that I obtained from the Wyandotte Historical Society. I know that Eudora died in April, 1877 in LaCygne, KS. The notice of her death appears in the 4/13/1877 issue of the Wyandotte Dispatch and the 4/14/1877 issue of the LaCygne Weekly Journal. (I have copies of both newspapers.) She died on the Tuesday immediately preceding these dates, but I don't know the actual date in 1877. Her body was transported from LaCygne on that Tuesday to Wyandotte where she is buried in the Huron Indian Cemetery in downtown Wyandotte. I have been to her gravesite 3 times. Her grave marker reads "Eudora Emmons ? - 1877" she is buried near her mother, Hester Zane. (This is however, not an original grave marker.) Therefore, based on the assumption since only 1/3 of the year (1868) had passed when she married and 2/3 of the year remained, I'm assuming she had not yet passed her birth date when she married Dallas Emmons and therefore, estimated her birth year to be (ca. 1848).
Was there another Eudora? Another “Eudora” was the daughter of Christian Epple, one of the townsiters, and, after marriage, had the Wilson surname.
Who was the Miss America from Eudora? Debbie Bryant, a Miss America, (see photograph to right) lived in Eudora at the Grandview Trailer Court for several years with her husband. She also taught school. Debbie had been a college student when she was selected to represent Kansas at the Miss America Pageant. Active in her husband’s church and a piano teacher at Missouri Southern State College, she travels regularly speaking to churches, youth and women's groups, according to http://www.missamerica.org/meet/history/1960/1968.asp
What's up with tunnels in Eudora? Common lore has it that tunnels run under the Charles Pilla’s home and his store. Other Eudora stores, too, were said to have tunnels. Germans in Kansas during the 19th century commonly built tunnels under their stores for storage, to set up other stores “down below,” or to avoid walking in the snow outside. At Wyandotte High School, Paul Heitzman, Eudora, weighed 95 pounds and wanted to do school sports but always got cut from the team because of his size. At age 58, he started running, six miles each day before breakfast and has gone to be a top competitor in the U.S. National Senior Olympics and other top-ranked races.
How has Halloween been celebrated in Eudora? Halloween has long been celebrated, or perhaps, a better word in its earlier years would be “endured.” That’s because Halloween was a night of pranks. Favorite tricks would be putting an undertaker sign in front of the physician’s office, placing gates in trees, and propping a dummy in front of a door so that it would topple on the person who answered the door. As for celebration, in 1910, for example, C.A. James held a “Halloween Carnival of Witches, Warlocks, and Wizards,” lit a bonfire at 8:30 p.m., and had the Belleview Ladies Aid society serve refreshments at his “Order of the Broomstick” at midnight. Traditionally, people went to parties in costumes, played games, and had their fortunes told. Clubs typically held Halloween parties with decorations such as black cats, autumn leaves, and jack-o-lanterns. In the second half of the 20th century, children trick-or-treated in area neighborhoods, and younger students attended a Halloween-inspired event at Nottingham School. Eudora got the national spotlight for Halloween when Mayor Ron Conner with the complete backing of the Eudora City Council decreed that Halloween would be celebrated November 1 in 2002 instead of its traditional date. This change was made because school officials had scheduled high school football game on Halloween and encouraged the council to make the change, arguing that Eudora families would want to see the football games and car traffic would be high. Local and national media, including the David Letterman Show, ran several stories about the town that postponed Halloween for a football game. Audience attendance at the Halloween football game proved to be an average turnout and not the crowd anticipated.
How many residents has Eudora had? That depends on the source and the boundaries of Eudora. Here are some reports:
1857: 111 in township (1859 Kansas Territorial Census)
1858: 235 in township (1859 Kansas Territorial Census)
1859: 274 in township (1859 Kansas Territorial Census)
1860: 599 in township (1859 Kansas Territorial Census) and 155 people in city of Eudora (Stefan Klinke thesis, 2003)
1865: 312 (Kansas State Census)
1875: 1,774 (Records of 1875 Eudora Township)
1878: 700 (Polks Directory)
1878: 1,782 in township and city of Eudora (Kansas State Board of Agriculture First Biennial Report, Douglas County)
1880: 572 (Cutler’s History of Kansas)
1884: 800 (Polks Directory)
1894: 650 (Polk Directory)
1890: 1,377 in township; 725 in Eudora (township assessment)
1895: 1,881 (Reed)
1895: 1,374 in Eudora township: 690 white males, 561 white females, 72 black males, 51 colored females; in the city of Eudora, were 259 white males, 307 white females, 53 colored males, and 58 colored females (township assessment)
1896: 1,421 in township; 669 in city of Eudora (township assessment)
1898: 1,489 in Township (township assessment)
1900: 800 (Polk’s Directory)
1900: 2,000 in Township (township assessment
1904: 800 (Polks Directory)
1905: 1,254 in township; 651 in city of Eudora (township assessment)
1907: 1,177 in township; 623 in city of Eudora (township assessment)
1908: 700 (Polks Directory)
1910: 640 (U. S. Census Bureau)
1912: 640 (Polks Directory)
1916: 600 (Will Stadler, Eudora Weekly News editor
1917: 640 (Will Stadler, Eudora Weekly News editor
1920: 627 (U.S. Census)
1922: 650 (Will Stadler, Eudora Weekly News editor
1925: 956 in township; 591 in city of Eudora (township assessment)
1930: 599 (U.S. Census)
1936: 642 (50th anniversary Eudora newspaper issue)
1936: 938 in township; 672 in city of Eudora; (country tax assessors)
1940: 743 (U.S. Census)
1946: 701 (Along Your Way, Santa Fe Railroad, 1946)
1950: 1,488 (U. S. Census)
1955: 1,375 (Kansas Geological Survey)
1960: 1, 532 (U.S. Census)
1966: 807 in township (township assessment)
1967: 794 in township (township assessment)
1968: 770 in township; 2,074 in Eudora (Kansas census)
1968: 725 in township; 2,027 in city of Eudora (Douglas County assessment)
1969: 808 in township; 2,558 in city of Eudora (Douglas County census)
1970: 2,091 (U.S. Census)
1976: 2,689 (Eudora Community Heritage)
1980: 1,752 (Eudora calendar) or 2,934 (U.S. Census)
1990: 4,011 in township; 3,006 in city (U.S. Census)
1996: 928 in township: 3,818 in city of Eudora (League of Women Voters of Douglas County)
2000: 4,307 (U.S. Census Bureau)
2000: 6,000 (Eudora Chamber of Commerce)
2002: 4,829 (U.S. Census)
2004: 5,119 (U.S. Census)
2006: 6,027 (U.S. Census)
2010: 6,136 people, 2,210 households, and 1,600 families. The median age was 31.8 years.
2014-2015: 6,136 (male: 3,039; female: 3,097) 5,726 white; 274 Hispanic; mixed race 174. (Suburban Stats)
2017: 6,379 (U.S. Census Bureau)
2020: 6,408 (U.S. Census)
2022: U.S. Census and Eudora city manager office: Pop. 6, 449; percentage of people 65+ (6.4%) and under 18 (27.1%). Total households was 2, 165 with a median household income of $87,392.
Who are some Eudora centenarians? Several people have lived to be age 100 or older in Eudora, including W. W. Oshel of Prairie Center (born 1823), Edmond Anthony (who died at age 101 in 1908, Bertha Roach, Lee Ella Kasberger, E. Antony (died 1908 at age 104), and Stella Schehrer. For example, Grace (Schellack) Musick, born 1884, said about her 100th birthday and longevity: "Work. Work. If you don't work, you don't eat" in a Lawrence Journal-World March 22, 1984 article. Another who passed the century mark was Christena "Tena" (Neustifter) Ziesenis, born 1893, who, at the time of her 100th birthday, did record-keeping for the Douglas County Health Department on a volunteer basis and was a member of the St. Theresa's Club, the Birthday Club, Golden Age Club, and the Pitch Club. In a news article, she said: "I take one day at a time. I never smoke or drank any alcohol. I stayed out of the sun. I eat a nutritious diet and stay away from sweets. I go to mass every morning and say prayers at home in the day." Another centenarian, Fanny "Fern" (Fergus) Irwin born in 1896 lived at Eleventh Street and Oak Street and wrote letters every day to family, friends, politicians, and newspapers. About reaching 100, Irwin said in a news article: “Psalms 103 says he'll renew your youth and I feel like he's renewed mine."
Ever thought of a way to make something a little bit better? Or how about completely different? For at least 150 years, Eudorans have been coming up with ideas for new machinery, gadgets, processes, or other inventions. Online databases attest to how many Eudorans have received patents and exclusive rights for their ideas from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
W.W. Cole and T. McGhee’s 1869 potato digger was the earliest patent granted to a Eudora resident.
“Our invention has for its object to furnish an improved machine for digging potatoes, which shall be simple in construction, easily operated, and effective in operation,” wrote the inventors in describing their device.
The digger featured a shovel-plow in the front, which would break the earth, followed by a series of radial “arms” that would unearth the potatoes, along with blades to cut off any long vines still attached to them.
This invention was followed by William Lindsley’s 1870 patent for a “drop-door animal trap,” primarily targeting rats, according to his description.
Two years later, Paul Rote filed a patent for a washing machine. Rote described the invention as featuring a unique “jockey-stick” and “dasher bar” to agitate the clothes in such a way that “by the floating clothes passing back through the opening of the dash no packing or wadding of the clothes is experienced and all parts are washed alike.”
Improving farming practices continued to be a focus for Eudora innovators. In 1885, Phil Wagner patented a fence construction that effectively stapled metal rails across fence posts to avoid moisture-rotted wooden fencing. Six years later, William Cole patented his 1891 wired comb, claiming it was more effective than conventional curry combs for “smoothing the horse’s coat and for removing … sweat, and mud.”
Eudora innovators were also broadeneding their scope of inventions. In 1893, Frederick Hinsey, a 23-year-old newspaper sketch artist patented his multipurpose telescoping stake that tinsmiths could use in forming rolled shapes. In 1906, former city marshal Henry Oberholtzer, whose in-laws ran Eudora’s soda fountain at the time, patented his fastener for bottles and “the like.”
The number of patents filed from Eudora began to increase around 1920, especially in regard to clothing. In this time of cufflinks and before widespread use of the button-down collar, B.R. Evans devised a button for both shirt collars and cuffs, a novelty in 1920.
That same year, Albert Schooper decided that some fashion-conscious consumers might not want people to see the tips of their shoelaces, so he patented a new shoe tongue design that concealed the shoelace tips in a pocket behind the tongue. Mike Seiwald also focused on shoelaces with his 1921 one-lace, knotless configuration that could be quickly unfastened.
Describing his invention, Seiwald wrote, “It will thus be seen that only one lace is used for each shoe and that there are no knots to tie or untie to lace or unlace the shoe.” And to match Schooper in his own game, Seiwald noted, “Also there are no unsightly ends or loops hanging from the top of the shoe as is the case [wh]en the laces are tied.”
Two other innovators focused on making automobile driving easier. In 1919, Melville Cole patented his mule-powered Kansas Road Shaver that smoothed dirt road surfaces, and Charles Drake obtained a crankshaft attachment patent in 1924. Drake used his device in the Eudora fan pulleys he built with Herbert Kaegi to more easily start the Ford motors sold by Alfred Eisele and Robert Gabriel on Main Street.
Often, Eudorans patented a device for use at their own companies. One was Albert Von Gunten, who received a 1952 patent (three years after his death at age 88) for a vertical tool support like the one used at his Eudora Beltless Specialty Machine Co., Inc. Leo Lauber, the founder of Orthopedic Casting Laboratory, patented several casting breakthroughs in the 1970s for his company that merged with M-PACT Worldwide, 1040 Ocl Parkway, which still markets Lauber’s patented OCL Splint Roll. Continually improving their product line, Eudora residents Francis D. Richardson and John A. Fox have patented eight ingenious upgrades for their company, Richardson Jumpstarters. One of the patents, Safety Start, is a jumpstart device for large vehicles that offers reverse polarity protection with a remote push button.
Sometimes innovations precede a company or business. That was true for Mathew and Cathy Cain who started a business after emergency responders kept using their customized airboat with a rear-mounted propeller. The Cains further developed their airboat model in 2008, patented its reinforced hull in 2014, and launched Rescue Master Airboats, Inc., now located in Kansas City.
Since 2008, eight additional Eudora residents have designed new patents held by their employers. Lori Coffman, for example, co-invented a 2008 dental tool for animals for Hills Pet Nutrition, Inc. In 2011, Chad Collins created an automated device for telecommunication networking that converts one standard (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) to another (ethernet or internet traffic); the patent is now held by Embarq Holdings Company, LLC. Procter & Gamble now holds the patents for many of Timothy Hubin’s cleaning compositions.
Jesse Montgomery, Eudora High School class of 2004, says companies often file patents to later obtain licensing royalties or other payments. Montgomery himself has a 2021 patent for an automatic supercut generator, which he describes using an example of a device that could “automatically compile all battle scenes in Game of Thrones.” He also holds another patent for a 2021 custom video resource device, and one for sports betting. Montgomery notes that companies frequently harvest patents from employees’ suggestions and describes working at one national company where management will “get a pizza, have employees toss out ideas, and then intellectual property lawyers take the idea from there and do the research.”
The most recent Eudora patent on record came in April 2022 from the management and health resource company Sterling Readiness Rounds, which received a patent for a computerized health screening method for medical facility access.
In all, there are at least two dozen Eudora innovators with patents. There’s also many more who never bothered to obtain a patent. All of these innovations started with an idea—what’s yours?