SALT CITY BECOMES GEUDA SPRINGS.
In 1872 Earnest A. Reimann and his wife, Sophia, surveyed and platted a town that they called “Remanto,” in Walnut Township, Sumner County, Kansas. It was not filed for record until 1873. In 1874 Todd and Royal, two businessmen from Wichita, bought a quarter section of land close to the nearby springs in an attempt to find coal. Remanto was part of the land they obtained. The name “Remanto” was not liked by those living near the town, many preferring to call it “Salt City,” due to the nearness to the salt springs.
In 1874 Robert Mills and Daniel Foster laid out the town that became Salt City, Sumner County, Kansas. Mills established a hotel. In 1876 Todd & Royal, of Wichita, became the proprietors of Salt City. By December 1878 Thomas Royal, now owner of the townsite of Salt City, had the land surveyed and platted. He began to sell lots. A year later Salt City had one business house, a drug store, a large blacksmith shop, and two hotels and was depending on the nearby salt and mineral springs to increase its growth. The salt marsh, as it was called, covered an area of at least ten acres with Salt Creek running through the marsh, fed by hundreds of small springs. The banks of the marsh were as white as snow, from salt which covered the ground from one to four or five inches. As the city grew, it took in the area known as Remanto.
The Salt Springs.
In March 1867 a party of buffalo hunters were the first white men to come upon some springs, used by a band of nearly five hundred Osage Indians camped near them for medicinal purposes. Discovering that the taste from the water was not pleasant, the buffalo hunters moved on. Before the springs were touched by the white man, they were not separated. They flowed in one common stream into a large circular pool, described by one of the oldest settlers as the “mud hole.”
The Osages, Sac and Fox, Kiowas, Comanches, Cheyennes, Arapahos, Cherokees, and Poncas were frequent visitors to “Geuda Springs,” each tribe having a different name in their own language for the springs, but all meaning the same thing, “healing” or “curing.” In 1870 Robert Mills, by accident, tried the waters and found that they cured him of scrofula and rheumatism.
Being so far from the nearest settlements, the springs were used by Indians only until 1870 when W. J. Walpole, a civil engineer, found several salt-beds and springs in addition to the mineral springs.
On July 29, 1871, the Salt Springs City Company organized, obtaining its charter on August 18, 1871. Its first directors were B. P. Foster, W. J. Walpole, O. J. Ward, and S. W. Wright.
On July 25, 1872, W. J. Walpole was granted by patent from the United States of America 156.75 acres of land located in Cowley County when the Osage lands first came into market, supposing it to be quite valuable on account of a large salt marsh and some very clear water springs that were on the land. His patent was filed on March 8, 1873. As applicants for patents often did, Mr. Walpole sold one-half acre to Brainard Goff, Jr., of Creswell Township, Cowley County, Kansas. This land was near the large salt spring in Cowley County. Somehow a record of this sale was not completed and it was involved in the litigations held of this property in 1916. Following Mr. Goff there were many claims for the land, which was mortgaged in 1872 for $240. I. C. Loomis held the mortgage. W. J. Walpole, who had become a resident of Denison, Texas, issued his power of attorney to H. O. Meigs on February 13, 1873. I. C. Loomis and his wife, Harriet R. Loomis, assigned their power of attorney to Samuel Hoyt. The mortgage was released on March 13, 1873. In 1873-1874 attorneys representing Walpole, Loomis, and others were busy making loans and releasing mortgages. Interest in manufacturing salt soon ended due to the vats being constructed of inferior lumber and a lack of transportation. It was abandoned until 1881, when James Hill, of Arkansas City, formed a company that obtained a ten-year lease and for some time salt was once more produced.
Opposite the salt-producing tract was a quarter section on which the medicinal waters were located. On May 11, 1876, W. J. Walpole, by H. O. Meigs, attorney in fact, sold the mortgage for all of this land to David J. Bright. “Geuda,” the healing waters, became nothing but a nuisance to Bright. He could not keep the Indians away. In March 1878 David Bright sold the land containing the medicinal waters to W. P. Hackney and J. Wade McDonald, law partners located in Winfield. They in turn sold the land in August 1879 to C. R. Mitchell and A. A. Newman of Arkansas City, who began development of the springs.
The efforts of partners Newman and Mitchell at the springs were noted by a frequent correspondent of the Winfield Courier. On September 12, 1879, she commented: “Yesterday Mitchell and Newman came up with shovels, forks, rods, and pipes, to play in the springs, and upon drawing an auger attached to a rod 20 feet long from a spring which had the old pipe, stones were thrown out as large as a goose-egg, which had every appearance of having been melted by extreme heat. What these gentlemen will accomplish they themselves do not know, but it will take a small fortune to employ competent men to put things in order, to make a paying investment. Then look out for a nickel a glass for this medicinal water. Better all come this year, while you can pitch your tent anywhere, wear calico dresses, dispense with cosmetics, shoot birds, and romp to your heart’s content.”
By April 1880 Mitchell and Newman made a number of improvements. Rudolph Hoffmaster was in charge of the Geuda Springs Bath House for about six months. He and his wife boarded people in that establishment, setting as good a table as any hotel in the county. Messrs. McIntire & Davenport of Arkansas City started a hack line to Geuda Springs, which at first traveled on Wednesday and Saturday each week.
On September 13, 1881, A. A. Newman sold his undivided one-half of the property to C. R. Mitchell.
The “Geuda Mineral Springs,” near Salt City, Kansas, soon became quite a popular health resort. The Geuda Springs water was transported to neighboring towns. Seven different kinds of mineral water were offered at Geuda Springs in September 1881 as well as the use of an elegant “Salt Lake” for boating
In 1882 Salt City becomes Geuda Springs.
In February 1882 the town of Salt City became Geuda Springs. The first building was erected by an Indian woman of the Sac & Fox tribe. The main street was called Central Avenue. It ran north and south and was the dividing line between Sumner and Cowley counties. All of the business portion of Geuda Springs was located on the west side of Central Avenue in Sumner County. A portion on the west side was incorporated: they had a mayor and city council, with good sidewalks, and other improvements. On the east side of Central Avenue there was merely a village. A post office was established June 19, 1882, with George A. Cutler as the first postmaster.