Arkansas City Business & Industry
Arkansas City has always been a town full of businesses and industrialization. In the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, Arkansas City was thriving. It was a self-supporting city even more so than it is today. This was due to the fact that at that time one could not merely “hop in a car” and drive for hundreds of miles to get what they needed, it was more feasible to have it at arms reach.
In 1890,The Arkansas City Daily Traveler placed an article in the paper that listed many of the businesses in town. It included:
“Gas Works, Five banks, Pop factory… Candy factory, Two elevators, Electric lights, Potter’s works, A belt railroad… Large foundry…A fire company… Santa Fe shops…A broom factory, An overall factory, A $100,000 hotel, Jobbing houses, Four flour mills…A board of trade, A packing house, Four newspapers, A fair association…A carriage factory… Fourteen churches…Three planing mills…The Frisco railroad…Two corn meal mills, $10,000 city building…A mattress factory, A telephone exchange, Four telegraph offices, The Santa Fe railroad…One wind mill factory, A $80,000 opera house, A patent chair factory…Four job printing offices…United States depository, The best hotels in Kansas, Three cigar manufactories…A bonus for manufacturers…Best waterpower in the state, $200,000 in railroad property…Eight miles of street railway, The Missouri Pacific railroad, $60,000 depot and eating house…Eleven business houses being erected…The largest and best daily newspaper published, in a town of 10,000 inhabitants.”
As years went by more businesses were added to the list. As times changed so did the businesses…some stayed, new businesses came. Some of our businesses lasted through years of change. Five of Arkansas City’s early businesses that were here in the early development of the city and lasted through years of change were: Newman’s Dry Goods Store, Santa Fe Railroad, Ranney-Davis (Ranney-Alton) Merchantile, New Era Flour Mill, and Rodeo Meat Packing Plant also known as Henneberry, Keefe-LaStourgeon, or Mauer-Neuer.