When Paul E. Havens, the president of Central Town site Company Railroad, wanted to make Onaga the beautiful town it is today it was on land belonging to Mr. E. D. Gillett and Mr. George DeGraw. The railroad ran between their land and Hise Creek. The Depot used to be located at the bottom of Leonard St. or main street. Leonard Street runs the length of town, approximately 8 blocks. The businesses are primarily located on Second, Third, and Forth Streets. In the first year of Onaga's existence there was only two families living there, J.B. Hubbell, and Amos E. Landon, who founded the first business later named Landon House. Landon House was just a 20 by 50 foot frame building that stood a story and a half tall. The cities third business was a saloon that opened in November of 1877 by Mr. David Scott of Elk Creek, and by the time Onaga's first birthday there was at least 18 different businesses plus many residences as well. The first stone building was built soon after by Henry Rolf in the fall of 1878 to become a grocery store, this building is still used as the Onaga Pharmacy today. It is located on the corner of Leonard Street and East 3rd. In the spring of 1878 a hardware store became a new addition to Onaga to be named Rogers Brothers Hardware Company. In 1894 it was torn down and rebuilt as a larger building. It is now the Morrill and Janes Bank building across the street from the Onaga Pharmacy. Another very well known business was the four Thomas brother's hardware and lumber business which was started in 1879. They built a large 2 story building that housed everything from bank services to the largest stock of lumber west of Leavenworth. In 1885 many new businesses were built, but what was in real need was a fire station. Onaga's first major fire started in the saloon's building in February of 1883 destroying that building and the two neighboring buildings as well, and in December 1886 another large fire started, but this time it started in a livery barn. A high wind spread this fire very fast and burnt not only the barn but 2 other business including Onaga's only hotel, the Batson House. In June of the next year the city got together and by City Ordinance No. 34 a new fire station was built. The supplies for this station was a hand engine and two big cisterns coming to a cost of $2,000. In 1889 the Miller Brothers and A. Hyman took the liberty of starting to put street lamps at each of the businesses. This project wasn't finished until January of 1899, and at the beginning of 1911 a new water system was in the works. It was located on a piece of land belonging to J.W. Dunn who donated it for the very purpose of the water system. The small community has prospered very much since then and to read more about our rich history visit the site below.
The History and Genealogy of Onaga, Pottawatomie County, Kansas
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