ALL ABOUT TOWANDA
This page is dedicated to the city of towanda
Published in The Herald on April 7, 1887
It having been the intention from the first in writing this arrival to give Towanda a more extended notice than is given the other towns in the county, it is hoped no "bad blood" will be engendered by such notice being appended.
This place is situated on the Whitewater in the center of the best agricultural region in Butler County, and second to none in the State. The valleys of the main river and its chief tributary the West Branch converge to a point two miles north of town, and combined constitute a large area of the richest and best improved farmland in the southwestern part of the State, and one in which a total failure of crop has never been known: a statement that cannot be made in connection with other portions in the county.
It must in justice also be said that this statement applies to the entire "Whitewater Country" (and it may truthfully be added that the part referred to, is by all odds and in every particular the very best part of county).
The first settlement at this point appears to have ben made in 1858 on what is now the farm of Harrison Stearns.
During that and the following year a company from the eastern part of the state laid out the town of Towanda on the west side of the river, and began building a large hotel, the cellar of which may yet be seen. The supposed discovery of pearls in the shellfish of the Whitewater caused the parties in charge to suspend work for the more congenial business of pearl-fishing of which they aquaired quite a number. Ascertaining however that they were not genuine and of but little value, they abandoned the town and the country considerably disgusted.
Subsequently, a trading post was established on the east side of the Whitewater by J.R. Mead who in the winter of 1868 had the town replatted, when, having transformed his interests, the purchaser I. Mooney, changed the site to the hill adjoining, and on which the town is now built.
The building of the Ft. Scott and Wichita rail-road in 1883 gave new life to the town during which it more than doubled in size and population, and causing the development of a number of its natural resources of the country immediately surrounding.
Aside from the agricultural interest, which as I said before are large, the quarrying and shipping of stone, has for the past year been constantly on the increase until that industry now exceeds all others here. The discovery of immense beds of almost pure lime just east of town has caused considerable excitement, and capitalists from the east are building large works for the purpose of manufacturing lime, the rail-road Co. putting in a switch to facilitate the shipping. This is a good point for the manufacture of brick, the best lay in the State for that purpose existing here in large quantities. There is also an opening for a large grist mill, the river adjoining affording ample power for driving the machinery.
No better point in the State can be found for the investment of capital in the enterprises mentioned. None of them as yet have been fully developed and the demand for their productions has always exceeded the supply. A future market is assured: the settlement of the western part of the stat requiring yearly more of the building materials found here in such large quantities, and which are lacking there to a remarkable extent. No stone of any value being found west of the Whitewater.
The location is healthy, the citizens intelligent enterprising and social; The business part of the town consists of two dry-goods and grocery stores, two drug-stores, one hard-ware and one agriculture store, one harness, one carriage and wagon, two blacksmiths and one butchers shop, and last but not least a newspaper office.
Towanda is doing more business at this time than any place of or near its size in the country, owing to two facts, the first being its location commanding the trade, and the second being the liberality of its business men.
Of the men who have stood by the town from the first with an abiding faith in its future combined with that of the State and the county, it is not out of place to mention its foirst founder, Hon. I. Mooney; H. Stearns, D.H. Cupp, D. Mosier, the Ralson boys, R. Jones, Josh Shriver, R.B. McClure, Davis and the Kapus boys. These men belong to the old pioneer stock, they endured off the privations incident to the settlement of a now country, and their pluck and perseverance has been rewarded by the possession of good homes with a competence for declining years.