Towanda, Kansas

Towanda is a peaceful town nestled in the pleasant valley of the Whitewater River, on the edge of the Flint Hills in between the lights of several larger towns, but out of the rush, and bustle of those large cities. It is a town where you can still sit on the front porch, walk down tree-lined streets and know your neighbors.

People can escape from it all, and come home to the nostalgia of small town living at its best. Towanda maintains the friendliness and attitude which appeals to families and businesses alike. Towanda is reaching back to maintain the charm of our nations past, and reaching forward to offer conveniences that today's families need. As a city of 1700, Towanda has a city Library, Historical Museum, several city parks, swimming pool, and many locally owned restaurants and businesses. Not far away, you can find excellent areas for fishing, hunting, golfing, picnicking, camping, hiking, boating, and biking.

Children can participate in Scouting and a year-round city sponsored recreation program. Events are held at our Community Building and our golden agers can gather at the Senior Citizens Center, or socialize with our very active Lions Club and Pride organizations.

Towanda History

The first settler in the Towanda area was C. L. Chandler. Having little success in his search for gold, he was returning with a wagon train of other gold prospectors by way of the Santa Fe Trail. Near what is now North Butler County, they encountered a party of Indian traders who told them glowing tales of a place to the south along the Whitewater river. After hearing the tales, Chandler and two others headed south in search of the big spring flowing from under the hill, where Towanda now stands. They found lush bluestem; a clear, flowing steam full of fish; lots of green trees along the banks; and an abundance of elk, deer, antelope, and buffalo feeding nearby. Chandler built a cabin in 1858.

In 1863, Chandler sold his buildings and land for $3 an acre to James R. Mead. Towanda was the last settlement on the way west to (Santa Fe) New Mexico. All territory west of the Whitewater River was Indian Territory.

"Mead's Ranch" became a very active trading post. An Indian agency was established in the building in 1864 and operated until the Indians were moved to the new Indian Territory in 1867. The Indians came to exchange furs for food, staples, blankets, and trinkets. They also came to the trading post to receive their scant rations of provisions and clothing issued by the government. It was here that Colonel Leavenworth made his headquarters and negotiated with Satana, Chief of Kiowas, and "Heap of Bears", the great Medicine Chief of the Arapahos. This resulted in the Treaty of Medicine Lodge.

Mr. Mead made many friends in his seven years at Towanda. He was a trusted friend of many Indian tribes and knew such legendary figures of the old west as: Kit Carson, William "Buffalo Bill" Cody, and Jesse Chisholm. In 1870, Mead sold the property and, along with J. S. Munger and William Griffenstein, he moved farther west and laid out a townsite along the Arkansas River. It was called "Wichita."

Isaac Mooney purchased the post and the 200 acres, south of present Main Street, for $2000. Rev. Mooney then filed Homestead papers on the land north of Main and platted the original townsite.

The town's name origin is unknown, but records show the post office was called "Towanda" when established in 1860. The most widely believed is that Towanda is an Osage Indian word meaning "many waters" or "rushing waters" stated in writings by Mrs. Dan Cupp, an early settler.

For many years the great spring which flowed from the mouth of a small cave provided the town's water supply. In 1912, the city built a retaining wall above the spring to keep rock and dirt from filling it up. During the oil boom the water became contaminated with oil and high salt content and unfit for use.

Over the years, the City of Towanda and its residents have faced many perils. They have survived two destructive tornadoes; boomed with the discovery of oil in nearby fields only to shrink as the oil wells diminished; faced flooding conditions and dust storms; and outlasted the depression years. But through it all, the strength of a small rural community of friends and relatives, the city lives on.

Attractions near Towanda, Kansas

Tuttle Creek Lake Fishing Report

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT ACCURATE FISHING REPORTS: This is just to remind you that fishing reports are given with the bes...

Lyon County Museum Research Center and Archives
Lyon County Museum Research Center and Archives

The archives house one of the state's largest collections of letters, diaries, and local newspapers, dating from Lyon County'...

Lee Dam Center for Fine Art
Lee Dam Center for Fine Art

The center for fine art brings cultural events, visual arts, music, and educational programs to the community of Marysville t...

Fountain Park Square
Fountain Park Square

The downtown area is built around a Fountain Park which gives Blue Rapids the distinction of being the only round town square...

The Gas Pump

The Gas Pump displays oil and gas related memorabilia along with other antiques. ...

WaKeeney Municipal Building
WaKeeney Municipal Building

This attractive building, which houses the city administration office, was built in 1937 of native limestone. ...

Sternberg Museum of Natural History
Sternberg Museum of Natural History

Within the four story domed museum, you will find a recreated day 88 million years ago when the mighty Tyrannosaurus haunted ...

Carnegie Library
Carnegie Library

Cherryvale's public library, built in 1913, is one of the few Carnegie Libraries still in use. Early in 1909, the Cherryvale ...

Tioga Hotel
Tioga Hotel

The Tioga was built in 1929 by J.W. Pratt and was leased by the Boss Hotel Chain for most of its life. Designed in the Art D...

Leavenworth Country Club

Course Access: PrivateHoles: 18Reserve Advance Tee Times: Yes...

Towanda Map

Upcoming Events near Towanda, Kansas

Features old tractors, steam and gas engines, along with a parade and other activities for the enthusiasts. Tractor Pull, Threshing, Hay Baling, Saw Milling, Shingle Making, Buzz Sawing, Antique Auction, Arts & Crafts Show. 9am-5pm.
K&O Steam and Gas Engine Show

Start Date: Fri August, 12th
Features old tractors, steam and gas engines, along with a parade and other activities for the enthusiasts. Tractor Pull, Thr...

Eureka Saddle Club PRCA Rodeo

Start Date: Fri August, 12th
A Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association is coming to Eureka, KS!! You will get to watch top cowboys and cowgirls competing f...

Flint Hills Beef Fest

Start Date: Fri August, 19th
Celebrate the cattle industry with BBQ contest, rodeo, steak dinner, and nationally known entertainment....

When Pigs Fly BBQ/Fly-in

Start Date: Fri August, 19th
KC Sanctioned BBQ contest, music, powered parachute, plane rides, simulator rides, pony rides, tractor pull, great food, and ...

Labor Day Celebration

Start Date: Fri August, 26th
4 DAYS - Yard sales, softball tournaments, carnival, street dance, "cowboy polo", flea market, art and crafts, horseshoes, fo...

"Christmas Traditions" Trolley Tours

Start Date: Fri December, 16th
Ride the trolley around town to look at the beautiful Christmas lights, hear stories of local and national Christmas Traditio...


Christmas Morning, December 25, 2015.
Bethany Lutheran Church, 6:00 a.m. (annual)
Evangelical Covenant Church, 6:00 a.m. (odd years only)

Celebrate Christmas Swedish-style with an early morning church service. Julotta in Swedish means Christmas morn, otta is the time which is slightly before dawn.

Start Date: Fri December, 23rd
Julotta Christmas Morning, December 25, 2015. Bethany Lutheran Church, 6:00 a.m. (annual) Evangelical Covenant Church, 6...

Abilene's Victorian Inn Tea Party

Start Date: Fri December, 2nd
Come and enjoy a full tea or a light tea in a Victorian home. If you have questions please call Adrian....

Christmas on Main

Start Date: Fri December, 2nd
Christmas Parade and Special Event Celebration Downtown. ...

Christmas in Towanda Bazaar

Start Date: Fri December, 9th
Community Center. Come get your festivity on. ...

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