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Atchison, Kansas History

Atchison, seat of Atchison County, began to form when the natural river landing there attracted adventurers enroute to the gold fields of California in 1850. By 1859 as many as 1600 wagons would stop off at Atchison during a single day. During the same year the first telegraph message from the West to the East was dispatched from Atchison and Lincoln addressed a group here using the same speech with which he won the presidency later at Cooper Hall in New York City.

The first recorded expedition into what is now Atchison County was led by M. de Bourgmont in 1724 to establish trade relations with the Indians of the Platte River region. During the winter of 1812 Major Stephen H. Long established the first military outpost in Kansas at Cow Island in the Missouri River six miles South of Atchison.

The Atchison, Topeka, and Sante Fe Railroad was founded at Atchison, and by the end of 1872 the road had progressed to Western Kansas. As Atchison developed into an important railroad center the city developed as a manufacturing and distribution center.

1923 Amelia Earhart, a native of Atchison, became the first woman to be granted a pilot's license by the National Aeronautic Association.

1924 The handkerchief-dress craze hit Kansas. At Atchison over 250 dozen red and blue bandanas were sold to women who made dresses of them.

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