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Stop #11 on the Scott City Historic Walking Tour: The Women's Christian Temperance Union was the first women’s' organization in our town. Our town founder, Maria DeGeer, was active in organizing the chapter. Officers were: Mrs. M.L. Parsons, President; Mrs. Mary E. Clark, Secretary; and Ida Eastman (Maria's daughter), Treasurer. It was founded early in 1886 and was successful in preventing any saloons from being established in Scott County through prohibition. Maria and two of her daughters went back to Chicago, but frequently visited to encourage the women in their work.

Window, Building, Door, Fixture

Standing, Font, Art, Team

Wheel, Building, Sky, House

Building, Sky, Window, House

Font, Publication, Handwriting, Newspaper

Font, Publication, Newspaper, Paper product

Newspaper, Publication, Font, News

Locating the original building was a feat, but a newspaper article gave the clue: it was across the street from “The Traders Bank.” A record showing Traders Bank on the west side of the 200 block of Main Street on Lots 6 and 7, Block 12 in the Original town. When looking at the records for across the street, the Deed from the Scott City Company to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.

On December 6, 1886, The Scott City Company deeded the WCTU Lot 9 in Block 13 of the Original Town. According to records, the organization built a two-story 24x64' frame building and leased the ground level out to the County for $25.00 per month. This was the site of the County Offices from 1886-1887, until the first court house was built in the Court House Square. The second floor was a reading room and library and was used for the first term of school. This is amazing, as it is well before the Scott County Library was established in 1923 and shows Maria's love of learning and education. 

We have learned a lot about the W.C.T.U. through old newspaper finds. One article shows that the W.C.T.U. reading room received a donation of rare papers and books from Susan B. Anthony! Unfortunately, it's unknown where these are now. We can only guess at what their value would be today!

The organization was active for many years. According to an article on April 10, 1910, "An interesting smashing was held in front of the court house Wednesday morning when about 20 quarts of whiskey were turned over to some ladies, and the whiskey and broken bottles flew for a while." Records showed 16 members still active in 1935.

The building was sold to WC Edwards in October, 1888, then Theo Magil in 1902, at which time it was referred to as "Magill Hall". That same year, Linc Newsom started the first telephone company in the area. His offices were located in the upper level of "Magill Hall". The Newsom family bought the property in 1903, made some changes to the building and it became their home and offices. The property changed hands several more times until 1925, when "The Consolidated Telephone Company purchased it, then "The United Telephone Company" in 1925.

The building was used for a short time by Dr. Palmer for his home and office but it must of been in bad shape as it was torn down in the early 1930's. The First Christian Church at 701 Main Street was in the process of building a larger church, so the lumber of the old W.C.T.U. building was used.


History of Early Scott County. Edition 1. Volume 1. Page 413. Scott City, KS. Scott County Historical Society, 67871.

Scott County Historical Society. History of Early Scott County. Edition 1. Volume 1. Scott City, Kansas. Scott County Historical Society, 1977.