The Founding of Alton, Kansas

The Founding of Alton, Kansas (HM2F72)

Buy flags at!

N 39° 27.94', W 98° 56.863'

  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites
In the fall of 1870 two men, Hiram C. Bull and Lyman T. Earl, set out from Cawker City Kansas to establish a new town in the South Fork Solomon River valley. They were drawn to this location by the 200-foot high bluffs rising above a wide bend in the river and proceeded to lay the first town site in Osborne County. A nickel was tossed and the new town was named Bull City after Bull instead of Earlsville after Earl. In May 1871 the Bull City Post Office opened in Bull's general store with Hiram Bull as its first postmaster.
Bull was commercially and socially the key to the early development of both the town and the entire region. He and two other men were tragically killed by Bull's pet elk in October 1879. This event made national headlines and forever altered the course of the town's future. Bull had been a beloved civic leader, county probate judge, and at the time of his untimely death was in his second term as a Kansas State Representative. Bull's funeral drew nearly 2,000 mourners from across the region - the largest funeral held to date in north-central and northwest Kansas.
About 5 years after Bull's death a movement was initiated by a handful of supporters to change the town's name, for the word bull was an offensive word in polite company and some felt it was detrimental to the town's growth. So after

a legal petition to change the name failed, a fraudulent petition was sent to Washington. D.C., with the signatures cut from a popular road petition and pasted to the name change petition. In February 1885 the U.S. Postal Department changed the name to Alton (after Alton, Illinois, the name-change leader's hometown). On October 1, 1885, Alton was incorporated as a third-class city.
(photo captions)
· Hiram C. Bull's two-room log general store. The store occupied the front room while the back room served as living quarters.
· Sketch of the death of Hiram Bull by his pet elk as depicted in the National Police Gazette magazine of November 1, 1879.
· Sketch of Bull City as it looked in 1884. View is to the south with the railroad tracks in the foreground. Nicholas Avenue runs through the town from left to right at center background.
Erected 2001 by Osborne County Tourism, Inc.Funding provided byOsborne County Transient Guest Tax Board and theKansas Department of Commerce and Housing.
HM NumberHM2F72
Year Placed2001
Placed ByOsborne County Tourism, Inc
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, March 28th, 2019 at 5:01pm PDT -07:00
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)14S E 504497 N 4368455
Decimal Degrees39.46566667, -98.94771667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 27.94', W 98° 56.863'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 27' 56.4" N, 98° 56' 51.78" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. What country is the marker located in?
  2. Is this marker part of a series?
  3. What historical period does the marker represent?
  4. What historical place does the marker represent?
  5. What type of marker is it?
  6. What class is the marker?
  7. What style is the marker?
  8. Does the marker have a number?
  9. This marker needs at least one picture.
  10. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  11. Is the marker in the median?