Caldwell's Early Government
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 37° 01.955 W 097° 36.481
14S E 623803 N 4099392
Still in the same city hall, built 1884. In the beginning there were no elections, each party took turns in power on alternate years.
Waymark Code: WM970W
Location: Kansas, United States
Date Posted: 07/07/2010
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member GEO*Trailblazer 1
Views: 9

Marker Erected by: The Caldwell Historical Society
County of Marker: Sumner County
Marker Sponsor: Through donations of family and friends of
    Max E. Sribner (1923-2003) Chief of Police, Caldwell, Kansas 1949-1985
Date Marker Erected: 2004
Location of Marker: 14 W. Central Ave., city hall, Caldwell
Marker Text:
With the railroad coming in 1880, and permanent buildings going up along Main Street, local folks demanded more services than either the township or county could provide. If Caldwell were a municipality, citizens would benefit from fire and police protection, health codes, a water system, sidewalks, streets and a cemetery. In July 1879, the county's district court approved Caldwell to join the growing list of official Kansas cities. A mayor and 5 councilmen were quickly elected, and new city employees were paid an average of $20 a month.

However, factionalism dominated local politics. The "southerners" supported the cattle trade, and enjoyed the policy of little city interference with the influx of Texas cowboys and their money. The "northerners," however, tended to be general retailers who wished less violence and a more stable and socially ~ acceptable population. In 1884, the two groups finally agreed to build this city hall, not to the north or south, but here on Central (then 5th Avenue), the street that geographically divided the political groups. Later, by backroom agreement, city offices began alternating annually between the parties.

The original city offices and women's jail were upstairs. The city's fire wagons and men's jail were housed on the ground floor. The town's bills were paid with a combination of high police court fines, merchant and professional taxes, and a street tax interestingly, though liquor, gambling and prostitution were all illegal; the associated fines appear to have been more a regularly paid tax than a punishment to deter the crimes. Other fines included cussing $5, drunk $5, working on Sunday $1. The street tax required every male resident of the city to either work 2 days a year personally repairing the dirt streets, or to pay the tax in cash.

Marker Name: Caldwell's Early Government

Marker Type: Other (Please identify in marker text)

Marker text:
please see above.

Marker Location: Sumner

Year Marker Placed: 01/01/2004

Name of agency setting marker: Other (Please identify in marker text)

Official Marker Number: Not listed

Marker Web Address: Not listed

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