This article contains more information taken from John Jeffries’ Master’s Thesis titled An Early History Of Junction City, Kansas: The First Generation. John was the President of the Geary County Historical Society from 1972-80 when the Museum was located at the Durland Furniture building on West Seventh Street. When the research center was located at that site, it was named after John Jeffries. John died in 1980.
Island City was located near Whiskey Lake north of the present-day Marshall Field and was established in July 1855 and platted and surveyed April 7, 1860 by Davies Wilson and L.B. Perry. Captain Pride, in his book The History of Fort Riley, concludes that Island City, West Point, and Whiskey Point are one and the same and were in proximity.
Riley City had a post office from 1856 to 1862 at which time both the name and location were changed to West Point. There is no record of a post office at Island City. A further indication that West Point and Island City existed concurrently as separate entities was shown in the records of the Davis County commissioners by their action in establishing voting precincts at both locations.
The name Island City was derived from the fact that the town was located on an area of land which was surrounded by the old Kansas River bed. At times during the year it was surrounded by water. The name West Point was applied because the town was located on the point of land at the west end of this some-time island. The derisive name, Whiskey Point, was applied to West Point because of its principal industry, that of dispensing whiskey to the soldiers at Fort Riley. L.B. Perry operated a ferry between Island City and Fort Riley in 1856. On May 6, 1862, a squad of soldiers from Fort Riley, acting under orders, dumped thirteen barrels of whiskey at Island City, and on May 14 closed the gambling and whiskey trade of that place because of a fight in which two soldiers were killed and one wounded.
Riley City was located on the east bank of the Kansas River at a point just below the present-day engineers’ bridge between Marshall Field and Fort Riley. Maps and surveys on file in the Geary County Register of Deeds Office, indicated the location of Riley City and placed it across the river from the Pawnee town site.
After the destruction of Pawnee and the adjustment of the boundaries of Fort Riley, Riley City exhibited signs of growth. It was the leading town in the area for a few years. Ogden, which was founded by former residents of Pawnee who used much of the building materials from the Pawnee site, became an important town due primarily to the fact that it was the county seat of Riley County and had the United States Land Office for the area. Ogden tended to draw away the potential of Riley City. Riley City went out of existence in the late 1860s or early 1870s and the town site is now a part of the Kansas River bed.
Kansas Falls was located approximately seven miles southwest of Junction City at a point near Seven Springs on the Smoky Hill River where small falls or rapids interrupted the course of the river. As the site of an early-day mill. Native timer was sawed and sold as the principal industry at this location, although several cattle drives arrived in the area in early 1867. Shortly after the Kansas Pacific Railroad built through the Kansas Falls area to Salina in 1867, Kansas Falls and Seven Springs went out of existence.
Cedar Pont was established on Clarks Creek near the junction of Humboldt Creek. It was organized by A.J. Baker, Ed Davis and William S. Blakely, who owned farms in the immediate vicinity. There is evidence of the existence of any permanent construction on the Cedar Point town site.
In his Master’s Thesis titled An Early History Of Junction City, Kansas: The First Generation, John Jeffries included information about establishing a business in early Junction City. This is some of what he wrote: “The great majority of men who came to Junction City, like other communities in Kansas, were young, most of them in their twenties. A man forty years of age was considered an old man. This, then, was a community of young people who were vigorous in their actions, but somewhat inexperienced in business matters. It was a place where fortunes were to be made with a small investment of money and a tremendous investment of energy. Invariably, there were those who tried to take advantage of others, for in this new country there were always “tenderfeet” with a small amount of money and a great amount of gullibility. It was in this environment that businesses were established, flourished, and dissolved. One of the more famous establishments in early Junction City was the firm of Streeter and Strickler.
In addition to financing the local newspaper, in August 1860, Streeter and Strickler bought out the stock of William Leamer who had established a store in Junction City in 1859. Streeter and Strickler had a very imposing store for the time and place. They were supposed to be the first to use the slogan: “Dealers in Everything.” In addition to local trade, the firm did a heavy contracting business, freighting and furnishing supplies throughout the plains area as far as the Rocky Mountains and reaching every government post in that region. Hundreds of men living on the plains were employed by the firm.
In 1861, emphasis was placed on bigger and better business buildings (in Junction City) and some of the original frame structures were replaced or remodeled. In November of that year, Streeter and Strickler began work on their building on the southeast corner of Seventh and Washington Streets. Streeter and Strickler moved into their completed building June 16, 1862.
Immediately following the Civil War, Junction City experienced a boom which extended through the years 1866-1867. People came to Junction City during this period to establish business firms. However, business recession following the boom years, caused by poor timing, unwise choices and a soft heart, impacted the dissolution of the firm of Streeter and Strickler in March 1870.”