Waterville Chamber of Commerce
Brief History of Waterville

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Waterville is located in southwest Marshall County on the Little Blue River. Highways US 77 and K-9 intersect here. Tree-lined streets, nice people, and a rich collection of turn-of-the-century buildings make this a pleasant place to visit.

Waterville was established in 1867 as a pioneer town at the end of the railroad and beside the Little Blue River. When the railroad decided to extend west exactly 100 miles from Atchison, KS, the site for the city was determined. It was named by William Osborne, a railroad superintendent, for his hometown of Waterville, New York.

As an "end of the line" town, Waterville served as a supply center for the area and as a shipping center for livestock, grain and other local products. It also accommodated travelers in several hotels. As churches and schools were built, this rowdy cow town took on a more serene and gracious tone. Soon, many new homes and businesses were established. Through the years, Waterville has cherished and cared for many of these features while keeping pace with the times.

Today, you will find the Victorian homes, the railroad station and many other historic buildings along tree-lined streets. Come discover other secrets of Waterville: A museum, a new community center, a nine-hole golf course, a public swimming pool, lighted tennis courts, beautiful Lake Idlewild one mile north of town, two lighted ball fields, a modern school system and a relaxed place where friendly people still have time to listen to the serenity.

The Opera House was built in 1903 at a cost of $8,000. It's used now as a theater for community and school productions .Tours of Waterville are available. Levels are Chocolate, Red Delight and On the Road. For more Information call (785) 363-2515 or send us an email from the main page.

The Train Depot, built in 1907, has been restored and houses a museum of Waterville collections.The Game Fork one-room schoolhouse has been restored and is now a meeting place for Scouting activities. It is located in the northeast corner of Turner Park.The Weaver Hotel, built in 1905, is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. A bullet hole from a 1910 bank robbery can still be seen. The Weaver Hotel has been completely restored.

Waterville has many fine Victorian Homes; The Powell home on Commercial Street is also on the National Registry. "Banker's Row", the 200 block of East Hazelwood, is especially worth seeing.


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