History of Mound Valley
Mound Valley is located in the western part of Labette County about the center of the county from north to south and in the valley of Pumpkin Creek. To the north, east, and south of the town the country is comparatively level, while to the west are found ranges of mound like hills, from which the valley and town are named. On January 9, 1884, an order of the Judge of the District Court was made incorporating the town as a city of the third class.
History records show that J.P. Allen, W.A. Lewis, Charles Beggs, N.L. Hibbard, Charles Lierly, C.H. Lewis and others became incorporated July 13, 1869, with the authority to locate a town on section 2, township 33, range 18. The town was laid out in the spring of 1869 by the Mound Valley Town Company.
The first building on the town site was put up in the summer of 1869 by the town company. The upper story was to be used as the town company’s office and the public hall, and the lower story for a general store.
The first school was a subscription school in 1870. A building was erected in 1871 and was a one story frame 23’ X 30’ at a cost of $1,000 for which bonds were issued. Another building was built in 1882 which was 36’ square. It was 2 stories high and contained 3 rooms. The Mound Valley School was organized as a high school in 1885. It was a 4 year high school until its closing in May, 1961. Since that time the school has served as a grade school as part of USD 506.
According to A.T. Dickerman who wrote historical articles for the Oswego Democrat
this is how Pumpkin Creek got its name. Pumpkin Creek was called Neosho
Kihoshinkah Wahoostha or Little Neosho by the Osages. Late one fall when most of the Osages had gone on their fall buffalo hunt, a party of Cherokees came to visit a band of Osages that lived on that stream. These Osages were very poor, most of the hunters were on the hunt and those that remained had nothing to eat but pumpkins, of which they had an abundance of, so the Cherokees feasted on stewed pumpkins until they left. When they did so, they gave the creek the name of Pumpkin Creek which still holds today.
In 1922, it was decided: Why not have a flagpole? There was a movement on foot to have a flagpole erected in the center of the business district. It was the intention to put it in by popular subscription. If every citizen would contribute a small amount the expense would not be great and a 50’ flagstaff could be erected. Apparently, this happened because there is still a flagpole in the center of Hickory Street. There is a group of young adults who have started “The Flagpole Festival”. This is held the weekend before July 4 and is a time of fun and fellowship for all.
A post office was established in 1870 in a room of the general store of A. Honrath. The mail was obtained from Oswego by the post-horse route. In 1876 a stage line was run from Oswego by which the mail was brought.
On May 24, 1941, the Mound Valley Township Community Center was dedicated. In 2004, this building was sold and a new Community Center was built on Hickory Street, using a CDBG grant and mainly under the supervision of Robert Forbes, councilman, and the council at that time. This has been such a blessing to Mound Valley giving residents and anyone who wants to rent the building a nice building equipped with both heat and air! Each year on Memorial Weekend, there is an alumni banquet held at our new Community Center. People come from all around to this banquet.
In 1973 Mound Valley had no library. Over coffee one morning, two ladies came up with the idea of starting a library in Mound Valley. These ladies were Patricia Ibbetson and Elaine Middleton (Housley). A room was set up in the community center with 350 books provided by the SEK Library System and kept open with volunteers. Raymond Kline, Mound Valley resident, offered use of a building for a library. Upon remodeling, the library moved into its new building in March, 1974 with hundreds of its own books. In 1984, a grant was obtained and a new library building erected at 411 Hickory Street, mainly under the direction of Keith Billingsly. Since then, the Fire Department has been added to the South side and City Hall also built a room inside to house the City offices.
Mound Valley may not be the thriving town it was years ago, but it is still a good place to raise a family or just come to visit. The Coleman Industries, the Western Auto Stores and Pepperdine University in California had their roots in the community and each had an impact in this country and also in the world. We have produced educators, doctors, lawyers, politicians and many other professional people that have gone out into the world to make their mark. At the same time many families have remained in the area for generations to farm and carry on business activities which their ancestors started and without which the community could not have survived.
Billingsley, S., & Ibbetson, P. A. (1979), Mound Valley, Kansas, 1868-1979: A Mound of Memories, A Valley of Hope,
Mound Valley: Mound Valley Historical Society.