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Lyons City

Lyons City Hall is located at 217 East Avenue South, Lyons, KS 67544; phone: 620-257-2320.

Beginnings [1]

On August 18, 1871, county commissioners Dan M. Bell, T.A. Davis, and Evan C. Jones officially formed Rice County. As part of the county commissioners' responsibility in organizing the county, they ordered an election to determine the location of the county seat. On September 26, 1871, the election determined Atlanta as the county seat; the town of Atlanta received 64 votes and the "Ohio Colony," located three miles southeast of Atlanta, received 48 votes. A wooden frame hotel, owned by Levi Jay, served as the county's first courthouse.

Many of the structures of the original town site of Atlanta were on land owned by the Santa Fe Railroad. On July 30, 1873, the Atlanta Town Company purchased the land from the Santa Fe Railroad for $1,360. A sketch prepared in 1946, based on accounts of early inhabitants of Atlanta, depicts several wood structures standing at the intersection of two dirt roads. These early structures included a grocery store, saloon, hotel, post office, hardware store, blacksmith shop, school, and several residences. In 1873, Atlanta boasted 100 residents. In 1876, an election determined that the county seat should be located in the exact center of the county and the commissioners established the city of Lyons at that location. The townspeople of Atlanta abandoned their original town site and moved several structures, including the courthouse, to the new county seat named for the owner of the property upon which the new town was built. The county commissioners reconstructed the courthouse on a lot to the south of the present Courthouse Square. In June 1880, the branch of the Santa Fe Trail connecting Emporia and Ellinwood reached Lyons and, as a result, the town's prosperity and role of county seat became assured.

  1. Dana Cloud and Sally F. Schwenk, Historic Preservation Services, LLC, Rice County Courthouse, Rice County, KS, nomination document, 2000, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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