In the beginning, the spring of 1880, there was a 40 acre wheat field growing in a valley with a river running through it. Out of that 40 acres grew the original town of the City of Excelsior Springs, Missouri. It was in this 40 acres that a natural spring was found, "Old Siloam", discovered by accident, and around which the town was founded. The owner of the spring was Anthony W. Wyman.

Although Mr. Wyman is given credit for owning the land and making it available at low cost for development, my records show that it was his wife, Elizabeth Wyman, who held title to the land. Gibson Gates secured the original patent from President Van Buren, September 7, 1838. Gates sold to Jobe Morris. Morris sold to Asel Wilcox. The Wilcox heirs sold it to Travis Turner. Turner sold to J.L. Mulliken. Mulliken sold to Elizabeth Wyman, September 7, 1875, for a cost of $600.

Anthony Wyman entered a partnership with the Rev. J.V.B. Flack for the land development. It was Rev. Flack who took the initiative for marketing the land and the water, opening the first dry goods store and founding the first church. Not much is actually recorded in the history books about the Wymans, except that they were generous and public spirited and, later, when the first high school was built on the west hill, it was called Wyman in honor of Anthony. One of the streets downtown bears the name Elizabeth, after his wife. Another street in the original 40 acres is named Marietta, after the Rev. Flack's wife.

I've collected historical facts of Excelsior Springs for more than 20 years now. Red, green, blue and gray spriral notebooks, yellow legal pads, typewritten notes, books, photos, drawings, are stacked in corners of the rooms, stuffed in the porch attic, and endangered in my basement. I've chosen for the new home of my notes so that I can recapture my house and better preserve my path through Excelsior Springs history.

My husband, Kevin, has his own collection of Excelsior Springs history, but it relates to our pre-history. He has been an avid Native American artifact collector for years, studied at the Renner site in Kansas City, has provided school presentations in the Excelsior Springs classrooms and for the Boy Scouts of America. He also has a web site to "preserve" this portion of our history --

The Idle Hour is a name that struck me while researching the old boarding homes and second class hotels in Excelsior Springs. The Idle Hour Boarding Home is located a few blocks from my house. I feared that it was lost through several years of vacancy and condenmation, however, it is in the process of being rebuilt, I am happy to say! The Oaks Hotel is also in the early stages of redevelopment and with other improvements in the National Register Historic Districts of Excelsior Springs plus new growth on the west side foretell of a future for Excelsior Springs that will be as exciting to experience as the mineral water heyday of its past. Take a look at Excelsior Springs, yesterday and today...

Sonya Morgan

Click on the following link to begin your path through Excelsior Springs history:
Discovery of Siloam Spring

Return to top