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Susan Swaney
Susan Swaney moved to Derby in 1954, and has been the Executive Director of the Derby Chamber of Commerce since October of 1988. She first joined the Chamber of Commerce in 1978 representing First National Bank, and was the first woman to serve as President of the Derby Chamber of Commerce in 1981, and then again in 1986. Susan and her husband Pat still currently reside in Derby. To contact Susan call (316) 788- 3421 or email at susan@derbyks.com
Derby, Kansas
2004-09-01 10:57:00
What is the history of Derby?
ANSWER:  Houte Minnich and Jon Hufbauer officially incorporated the town of El Paso, Kansas in the winter of 1870. Minnich and Hufbauer came to the township from a small town of El Paso, Illinois, and they decided the new town should bear its name. In 1873, the first bridge was constructed to connect the farmers and the small businesses of El Paso. Prior to the bridge, farmers relied on a ferry to cross the Arkansas River, which would be inoperable during floods. This bridge would help the little town of El Paso grow, which at the time consisted of Waugh's Barber Shop, Simonsen Blacksmith Shop, a sawmill and a brick factory. Tragedy struck the little town of El Paso in 1878, when a fire consumed over half the businesses of this growing town. Many of the town's residents simply packed up and returned to their hometowns, mostly back east. But, George Litzenberg formed the El Paso town company after the fire and saved the little town. A year later, the railroad came through town and El Paso began to prosper. A second bridge was then constructed, and a couple of months later the depot opened in November of 1879. By 1880, the railroad had pushed as far south as El Paso, Texas, and as you can guess, the mail was constantly getting mixed up between the two towns. The railroad began to refer to El Paso, Kansas's mail as "Derby's" mail, referring to railroad employee C.F. Derby who had come to the town in 1870 and lived within the vicinity. In time, people forgot about the old El Paso name. To this day, the El Paso name can still be seen throughout Derby, such as the El Paso Water Company, El Paso Village Shopping Center, and El Paso Elementary School.
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