Parks Annals

In 1988, Doris Parks Elder contributed to the Ottawa Library annals drawn from Ottawa newspapers. The initial newspapers included the Ottawa Daily Republican, Ottawa Gazette, and weekly Ottawa Herald. The annals were compiled by her father, Hobart Parks, for the years 1864-1920. These became known as Park's Annals. Later, the Annals were added to by Virginia Loyd and her granddaughter Anna Loyd using the Ottawa Times and Ottawa Herald. The complete Annals are available online for review.

For the sake of convenience in dating photographs and describing events, I am referencing relevant dates and entries here. As new posts are entered the chronology will be updated.

History of Ottawa


Jan. 19. Warranty Deed J. W. Young to C. C. Hutchinson, original Townsite Section.

From William G. Cutler. History of the State of Kansas. Part 5, Ottawa, Part 1.

Land title was obtained in connection with the founding of Ottawa University. The land was purchased from the Ottawa Indians, from whom the town derives its name. The town company included C. C. Hutchinson, then Indian Agent, I. S. Kalloch, James Wind, the Ottawa Chief, and John T. Jones, then minister, Asa S. Lathrop, the company's surveyor and attorney, and a few non-resident politicians and investors.


Downtown Ottawa, 200 block S. Main, circa 1900

May 3. City hires a traction engine at $10 a day to grade its streets, seven blocks were graded in three hours at a cost of $2.70.


June.  A Waverly attracts considerable attention on the street, because of his automobile, a car known as the "Great Smith." The car was the first of this make seen here.

Great Smith from Kansas Memory

July 8. The Marais des Cygnes river rose to 36' 7".this was 11'  higher than 1904, water stood 8' deep at Main & Tecumseh, 6' at Santa Fe Station. A Santa Fe passenger train near Pomona slipped into the floodwaters, one child was killed.

Oct. 22. North Main Street paving reached Keokuk Street.

Dec. 26. Ice cutters on the Marais des Cygnes River above Willow Street.


Apr. 23. Main Street merchants complain of speeding in 300 block of South Main. A stopwatch shows speeds of 15 mph.


July 24. A ordinance set the city speed limit at 12 mph, with no one under 17 years of age allowed to drive.


Apr. 6. The city issues new license tags for automobiles on sale at $1.00 each. The tags were metal and rectangular and painted red and white, "OTTAWA 1912." City receives 150 tags, numbered 10 to 160. the first 10 numbers were for motorcycles.

May 22. The first car driven from Kansas City to Ottawa, a 32-horse power Hupmobile driven by William Romigh of Cottonwood Falls.  At Olathe, the car was pulled from the mud by a team of mules.

1909 Hupmobile Ad from Wikipedia commons
June 12. The number of automobiles registered at City Hall reached 94.

July 30. Williams Jennings Bryan was the opening speaker at the [Chautauqua] Assembly at [Forest Park] scheduled to run from July 30 to August 9.

Sept. 19. Attendance at the Franklin County Fair in Forest Park was 8,000. Teddy Roosevelt spoke on the 21st., and gathered 10,000 people.


Aug. 5  Assembly held in Forest Park, August 5-15. The weather was very dry. It was estimated that there was about one week's normal supply of water; if it does not rain there will be water restrictions.

Howser & Gilliland received a shipment of six Ford Touring cars for Ottawa purchasers.

Model T Ford, image by Sfoskett

Sept. 11. Ottawa's population increases over 1912 from 7650 to 7804.

Sept. 16. Charles Ferrow, a rural mail carrier, became the first person to be arrested for speeding in Franklin Count. While on his route west of Ottawa his car frightened a team of horses.
His fine, five dollars.

Oct. 30  Geo. Delver was arrested for speeding 12 miles an hour at the intersection of Main & Logan, the limit on Main street was six mph.


Apr. 18. the first shallow well east of Ottawa produced 30 to 40 barrels a day.

Aug. 7. War was on in Europe. Germans invaded Belgium, Luxembourg and France. By wars end, 9 million soldiers on all sides would be killed.

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