Crawford County, Kansas



Founded in 1867 as State Line City by J. L. Davis, one of the early settlers who built his store right up to the Missouri state line. The name was changed to Opolis in 1876 when Joplin & Girard railroad was built through the settlement. Opolis got its first postoffice in 1877 with J. H. Ozbun as postmaster

More About Opolis
" Opolis is situated in the extreme southeastern part of Crawford county, on the Girard Branch of the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad. A town was laid out at this point in 1868, by J. L. Davis and E. B. Hoyt, called State Line. It was so named from the fact that it lay immediately upon the line between the States of Missouri and Kansas. The cause which gave rise to its establishment was the apparent certainty of the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad being constructed along this line, which was not only talked of, but even the preliminary survey was made. The town site was laid off and four houses were built before anything was done toward the construction of the road. J. L. Davis had the honor of building the first two houses, one of which was used for a hotel and store, and the other was a dwelling. Then E. B. Hoyt and J. H. Gould erected a storeroom, in which they put a stock of goods. Following this, G. W. Scott erected a residence building. With this the building of the town ceased, since all the bright prospects were defeated. The railroad, instead of being built on the State line was located and built several miles to the west, thus leaving the town far inland, so far as the road was concerned. In 1876, the Girard & Joplin Railroad was built, passing through the town. This road was afterward sold to the St. Louis & San Francisco Company and is now a branch of that road. This gave a new impetus to the building of the town. The site was re-surveyed in July, 1877, on lands owned by J. L. Davis and E. B. Hoyt. The name Opolis, a Greek word meaning city, was given to the town for the reason of its being a rare and odd name. A rapid growth ensued, so that by the end of the year 1877 the town numbered several business houses and a population of about 200. The post office was established in 1877; J. H. Osborn was the first Postmaster. He was succeeded by T. L. Holden. The first school was taught in the district schoolhouse, which stood about one and one-half miles east of the town. A school building was erected in what is called West Opolis, in 1881, in which the first school was taught by Mrs. Hicox and Mrs. Bishop. A schoolhouse was built in East Opolis in 1882, in which Miss Campbell, of Carthage, Mo., taught the first school. The present school population of the town is about 100. The town contains two church organizations, the Methodist and Quaker; both of which have buildings. There are also two society organizations, the Odd Fellows and Good Templars. A small mill was built in 1880 by __ Stroup. It contains two run of stone, and is operated in the manufacture of flour, meal and feed. In 1881, Dr. C. A. Lynga made an addition on the east side of the town, just across the Missouri line. On this addition are several buildings, among which are one drug and one general store and three saloons. The following is a summary of the business houses of the entire town: Two drug, five general, two grocery and one furniture store, two hotels, one meat market, one harness shop, two lumber yards, two barber shops, two livery barns, three blacksmith shops, one shoe-maker shop, three physicians, one Justice of the Peace and three Notaries. The increase of population has been highly encouraging, now numbering about 500. The town is favorably situated in the midst of a fertile and thrifty farming community, from which is sustained a brisk and flourishing business." - History of the State of Kansas, William G. Cutler, 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL
"The town of Opolis is located in the southeast corner of Crawford county, on the line of the Frisco railroad. It was first started by J. L. Davis, in 1868, and was called Stateline, as the eastern line of the town was the dividing line between Missouri and Kansas. Shortly after, E. B. Hoyt and J. H. could located in Stateline, and opened a store and lumber yard. They handled grain, hay and stock in connection with their merchandise business. In course of time the name was changed to Opolis. J. H. Ozburn was its first postmaster. Several churches are well represented and various secret societies have here a home. Nearly every class of business is carried on, and affords facilities for trade with the farming community in the surrounding country." - A Twentiety Century History and Biographical Record of Crawford County, KS, Home Authors, 1905 by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL
Map of Opolis, "The Official State Atlas of Kansas, " L. H. Everts & Co., Philadelphia, PA, 1887