Delavan

Delavan was founded in 1885 by Henry Kingman, who named the community after his home town of Delavan, Illinois.  By 1886, the Topeka, Salina and Western Railway extended from Council Grove to a point just east of Delavan where it languished four years until Jay Gould’s Missouri-Pacific Railroad took over and completed the rail line on to Colorado.  Delavan, like other small Morris County towns, thrived in the first half of the 20th century having a grade and high school, general store (food and merchandise), a lumber yard, farm machinery dealership, bank and telephone office.  Like the other small Morris County communities, the Delavan Bank failed during the Great Depression of the early ‘30s.  The Delavan High School closed in 1950 with students bussing into Wilsey for classes.  All that remains of Delavan today is the Grandview Township Community Center converted from the original Delavan Grade School.  This community was very busy during World War II as the Herington Army Airfield, a major bomber and eventually, a B-29 base, was constructed just north of the city’s boundaries.

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