The History of Delano
March 2, 2020
In mid-December 2019, the office of Cassandra Bryan Design moved into a historic building in the Delano district of Wichita. Our beautiful building was originally the home of the West Side Flower Shop, a well-loved and recognized landmark in Delano. The Elsberry-Martin Building, as our building was first called, was built in 1922, but the history of Delano goes back 60 more years to 1862.
We thought we would share a short history of the area we now call home!
It Started In 1862
Named after President Ulysses S. Grant’s Secretary of the Interior, Columbus Delano, the area began as its own city across the Arkansas River from the much larger Wichita. Early settlers utilized the Homestead Act of 1862 to buy 160 acres of land for $50. As Delano grew, it gained a reputation as a rough-and-tumble town full of saloons and brothels not subject to the stricter laws in Wichita.
By 1872, Delano had become an important cattle shipping center on the Chisholm Trail. Many Chisholm Trail landmarks still exist in the Delano area, such as the stone marker in Delano Park and an old mulberry tree on the north edge of the Masonic Home property. Despite this status improvement, Delano maintained its wild reputation. Rival business owners “Rowdy” Joe Lowe and Edward T. “Red” Beard shot at each other on several occasions. Their rivalry only ended in 1873 when “Rowdy” Joe shot and killed “Red” Beard at close range.
A Part of Wichita
The City of Wichita incorporated Delano in 1880. This led to the construction of many brick buildings in the area, including Garfield University, now known as Friends University, in 1887. In the early 1900s, as the aircraft industry was taking root in Wichita, the Delano district became a hotbed of aviation manufacturing. Travel Air Manufacturing Company, a company formed by aviation business pioneers Clyde Cessna, Walter Beech, and Lloyd Stearman, built a facility on West Douglas Avenue. Several other aircraft companies also had locations in Delano, including Wichita Blue Streak Motor Company, Hilton Aircraft Company, Wichita Airplane Manufacturing Company, and Yunker Aircraft Corporation.
Now, Delano boasts a family-friendly atmosphere with many fun and unique shops, restaurants, art galleries, museums, and monuments. It provides the feeling of a small town just outside the hub of downtown Wichita. At Cassandra Bryan Design, we’re happy to be in Delano and humbled to add our name to the long list of businesses that have called the area home!