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This is a nice little slice of Americana. After seeing the documentary "Unbeaten", it prompted me to explore more online...
Learn more about Goodland by following the links below:
How Goodland got its name
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About this Exploration:
Some say that a Rock Island Railroad official named Goodland, Kansas, for Goodland, Indiana, his home town. But that is highly unlikely. Goodland was already a town before the Rock Island came. The story accepted as authentic is much more intriguing.
That story involves secret meetings and an alternate name of Fairyland.
The Sherman County Record's July 25, 1909, issue gives the story: In August 1887, "a stranger" came to Sherman Center, a town a bit to the northwest of current Goodland and met a "leading businessman" in that community. The stranger wanted to start a new town between Sherman Center and Eustis, which was northeast of current Goodland. He believed some "leading men of Fort Wallace", near current day Wallace, Kansas, would help found the new town. The stranger and businessman agreed that the stranger should approach the men from Fort Wallace. If everyone was agreeable, they were to meet secretly south of Sherman Center. The meeting was held and those present agreed to start the new town.
Matt Martin attended the meeting. While the new town was definitely in the works, the people at the meeting could not decide upon its name. That issue was tabled. When Martin returned home, a mile south and one west of present-day Ruleton, he talked with his family about a name for the proposed town. In the conversation, various names were proposed, including Fairyland.
Finally, Mrs. Martin suggested "Goodland" as the town's name. He presented her suggestion at the next meeting and it was approved as "a very suitable name for a new town on the fertile lands of Sherman County," The Record said. One of those present. R.M. Nixon, was from Newcastle, Indiana. Perhaps that's where the Goodland, Indiana, story originates.
The group chartered a business, The Sherman County Development Company, to purchase land and lay out the town site. Their business was successful. Goodland eventually won the County Seat Fight over Sherman Center and Eustis, plus Voltaire and Itasca to the south, ensuring Goodland's survival and the other towns' demise.
Goodland, KS 67735