History of Anthony Kansas

History of Anthony Kansas

ANTHONY, KANSAS, the county seat of Harper county, takes its name from Gov. George T. Anthony (7th Governor of Kansas), who was in office when the town was named.


Rich in agriculture, Anthony was established on the edge of a beautiful valley on July 18, 1878, with a population of about 275. The petition to incorporate the city of Anthony was circulated on July 9, 1879, and the first election held in Anthony took place on July 19, 1879. Resulting from the election, the first Mayor of Anthony was Henry Holmes. The first Councilmen were: Jacob Hummel, G.W. Vickers, George P. Morgan, Simpson Van Winkle, and David Hinsey. The first Police Judge was Jackson Brock, and the first appointed City Clerk was F.N. Hester.

As a new town, Anthony was known for having a high-quality of water well for public use. From the Anthony Journal, August 22, 1878: "We challenge any town in the state to show a better public well than the one in Anthony. It is located in the center of the crossing of the two principal business streets, and it furnishes hundreds of gallons of pure and sparkling beverage to both man and beast."

Within the first few years of existence, Anthony was able to attract many different types of businesses. By 1880, Anthony had banking institutions, churches, schools, a hardware store, grocery store, drug store, acting physician/surgeon, proprietor, post office, butcher shop, blacksmith shop, court house, county-wide paper, saloon, furniture store, bakery, lawyer office, real estate office, general contractors, carpenter shop, and a masonry shop. Anthony continues to thrive today. 

In August of 1880, the City purchased its first piece of property - an area to build a jail (back then called a calaboose) next to the previously built County Courthouse - for $90. This jail was built of red rock and was located at the corner of Steadman and Bluff.

In 1905, the County Courthouse - built of homemade brick and native soft red sandstone - began to disintegrate. Growing concerns for the building mounted, resulting in a county-wide Special Election on May 21, 1907. The voters approved the issuance of bonds for a new building. The building, which still stands today, was completed in September of 1908. The first marriage to take place in the County Courthouse occurred on September 16, 1908, between Pearl Mishler and Clint Parker, with Judge McPhee presiding.


Through the years, Anthony continued to grow. An Anthony resident stated it best in 1910 when he said, "The center of a great and productive trade territory. The best of municipal services; the finest of schools; amply supplied churches, peopled with the best folks on earth and with a network of railways leading out every direction everywhere, to bring in a constantly increasing business, (Anthony) is the queen city of southern Kansas and the best place on earth to live..." (Anthony publican, 09/30/1910). 

Today, the railroads have been replaced by three major highways and other roadways, but Anthony  is still everything that the founders and first City residents could have hoped for and more.   With a population of 2,240, Anthony has become a stable force in a changing world that has seen the demise of small towns. Anthony is located just 56 miles southwest of Wichita, Kansas.    

Anthony offers great schools, a thriving business district, a public library, active churches, a local hospital and nursing home, assisted living, a municipal airport, public swimming pool, annual hot air balloon fest, a 153 acre lake, 9-hole golf course with driving range, and a feeling of community.


The Anthony Chamber of Commerce and merchants, operating under the slogan, “Anthony: Active, Attractive and Alive,” continually upgrades the downtown business district into one of the most attractive towns around. Anthony, Kansas is a pleasant town, a great place to live and bring up a family or even to retire in.  Anthony, Kansas has services that can fulfill the needs of all ages.