Ottawa was founded in 1864. Located in the Marais des Cygnes River Valley, the area’s rich soil and lush grass made it well suited for growing crops and pasturing livestock. The community’s first cultural center was Ottawa University, which was chartered in 1865 and built on land exchanged by the Ottawa Indians for the promise of an education for their children. Two railroads later arrived, the Lawrence, Leavenworth & Galveston in 1868 and the Missouri Pacific in 1880, spurring industrial development. Images of America: Ottawa highlights early settlers, prominent industries, noteworthy institutions, and devastating natural disasters. Using vintage photographs, this history features local memories and milestones, capturing everything from the famous Ottawa Chautauqua Assemblies, held annually from 1883 to 1914 in Forest Park, to the emerging distribution centers that have shaped the area today.
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