BUTLER COUNTY, KANSAS
HISTORY OF PROVIDENCE CITY
The third Federal postoffice within bounds, was in the early summer of 1883 on section 34, Providence postoffice, the name given the inland mineral water resort. John Dunnell was appointed postmaster, whose son, C. F. Dunnell, pre-empted the land and sunk a well to the depth of 142 feet and struck water of a salty, peculiar taste. He was advised to have it analyzed rather than discarding its use entirely for domestic purposes; which was done. The great beneficial and curative properties were tested by several, for ailments and infirmities. Among those was A. Hide of Wichita, who, after receiving great benefit from the use of water, was instrumental and prime mover in the organizing of a stock company, for improvements of well, comforts and convenience of any who stood in need of the healing balm.
A general supply store was built north of the road by A. A. Hyde, also the fine country dwelling (now owned by K. M. Holcomb). The store building was one of two stories. Norman Hagan acted as proprietor of the store, his family occupying the rooms above. This continued for a time. The stock was later purchased by H. T. Holcomb who continued the store and postoffice for several years. N. M. Hare put up a convenient blacksmith shop on the new town site, Warrender & Beedy a good livery barn; a dwelling of modern architecture was also built nearby and occupied several years by R. Warrender. Copner built on Mineral street and kept a fair stock of merchandise in connection with the postoffice. C. F. Dunnell and another family had their residences on this street, and Rev. Latham later conducted a store on Providence row. Dr. Adams for a time occupied the hotel and conducted a drug store. The north building on Mineral street was a neat cottage built and occupied by the builder, as a residence and confectionary in a small degree. All lines of business enjoyed a profitable patronage so long as the prime movers and patrons, during the Wichita boom days, lent support and advocated the beneficial effects of a few weeks' outing at the Providence mineral resort. Numerous parties during the summer of 1885-6 and later, from Wichita, enjoyed (or endured) a few weeks' stay at Providence, Butler county.
Causing a depression or cessation of business and interest of Providence, on par, with that of the Peerless Princess collapse period. When Wichita lost faith in herself, Providence was sold to the farmers in that vicinity. Following this was the Oklahoma boom and opening, and many of the village residents winged that way. Soon many dwellings of the mineral well village left on wheels. George Osborn has several on his farm which have been twice wrecked by cyclone since moving; he said it was Providentially so ordained and no fault of his. One store and the postoffice was kept alive by various parties until 1898 when it was discontinued and the building moved off, leaving the hotel and K. M. Holcomb's residence of the original Providence, which still remain. The hotel is now by beqeathment the property of Ed Dunnell, son of C. F. Dunnell. With the gradual decline and patronage of the healing qualities of the Providence mineral output, during the eighties, was the incentive for Rose Hill to forge to the front, which it did on completion of the railroad in 1887. Situated in the northwest part of the township, surrounded by a fine agricultural and stock company, it soon became a very prominent shipping point which, like the town, has been on the increase, keeping pace with progress. (Source: History of Butler County Kansas, by Vol P. Mooney, 1916, pages 208 & 209)
Per the 1885 Plat Map, Mr. S. H. Wright owned land in the vicinity of Providence City, which was on T-29, Section s 34, 35, & 36.
Per the 1905 Plat Map: L. W. Dunnell, W. R. Cole & Laura Wright were the land owners in the area.
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