History of El Dorado

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  1. El Dorado Fun Facts
  2.  El Dorado History

Fun Facts of El Dorado

Fact #1:
Settlers began arriving in the area in the 1850s and trading posts were established along the Walnut River. El Dorado was platted in 1868 and incorporated September 12, 1871. Following the Civil War, El Dorado established itself as the county seat and grew to a city of nearly 3,500 by 1900.

Fact #2:
William Allen White lived most of his childhood in El Dorado near Central and Vine. He was a voice for the people of the Plains and those who were oppressed. He was a voice for progressive change in Kansas and the nation.

Fact #3:
In 1912, El Dorado had the first woman bailiff in Kansas and the United States, Eva Rider. Mrs. Rider assembled the first women’s jury of Kansas, which was composed entirely of El Dorado women and served in the District Court of Butler County in November 1912. It was a dispute over real estate valuation that a male jury failed to resolve a year earlier. It was said no jury ever showed keener appreciation of its responsibility. The women were praised for their unusual attention to the evidence.

Fact #4:
Oil and gas exploration existed in Kansas prior to 1900. In the 1910s, the Wichita Natural Gas Company became a major player in Butler County. El Dorado grew from 3,000 to over 10,000 within three years after the Stapleton discovery. As oil was discovered in Butler County, the U.S. entered WWI in 1917. WWI accelerated the process of oil production. The El Dorado oilfield produced 29-36 million barrels a day, equating to 64% of Kansas output and up to 9% of the national output.

(Facts #1-4 came from the Rural Crossroads presentation on El Dorado by Butler County Historical Society Home of the Kansas Oil Museum. Visit their YouTube page to see the complete presentation)

Fact #5
While the pronunciation of El Dorado is often questioned by those from out of town, even the spelling of the city’s name was in question in the early days. When the Walnut Valley Times began, the editor adopted the spelling of Eldorado, which became the common use, but with a change in management at the newspaper, it was changed to El Dorado, causing considerable discussion. A letter from Captain J. Cracklin, who was among those who started the town, offered a solution. “Dear Sir: - In reply to yours of the 7th inst., I would say the name El Dorado is two Spanish words, and signifies 'The golden land.' The beautiful appearance of the country upon our arrival at the Walnut, suggested the name, and I exclaimed, 'El Dorado,' and when the town site was selected, the name was unanimously adopted. I proposed the name and Mr. Thomas Cordis seconded it. Yours very truly, J. Cracklin." (From genealogytrails.com)