Wichita's Main Street in 1870, Looking North from Douglas Avenue circa 1870. (Courtesy Wichita State University Libraries' Department of Special Collections.)
Wichita, Kan. -- Monday will mark the 144th anniversary of the incorporation of Wichita as a city.
On July 21, 1870, the city was incorporated as a 3rd class city, meaning it had a permanent population between 10,000 to 20,000. 123 men and one woman signed Wichita's original charter.
That woman was the widow Catherine McCarty, who owned and operated a laundry service. Though her name may not be familiar to most, her son , after changing his name to William Bonney, would become the infamous outlaw, "Billy the Kid."
Along the west bank of the Arkansas River, where cattle were transported across the Chisolm Trail, was the town of Delano. Delano was known for its numerous saloons and brothels that served the cowboys who traveled back and forth through the area. Delano was eventually annexed by Wichita in 1880 as the city continued to grow.
Wichita continued to experience periods of growth and expansion, followed by years of stagnation, until the oil boom brought new industries, including budding aircraft corporations.
The Wichita Chamber of Commerce has a concise history of Wichita located here. You can also see photos from Wichita from the 1870s to the present, by visiting the Wichita Photo Archive, operated by the Wichita Public Library, the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum and the Wichita State University Libraries’ Department of Special Collections.