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Our Community and History

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City of Waverly
210 Pearson Ave
PO Box 308
Waverly KS 66871

(785) 733-2461
(785) 733-2395 Fax


Office Hours
9:00 am-3:00 pm
(through lunch)

This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

About Waverly

Waverly is a small and attractive town in northeastern Coffey County, Kansas. At one time, both the Santa Fe and the Missouri Pacific railroads served Waverly. Now, nearby Interstate 35 and US-75 have taken the railroads' place but continue to provide the town with good access to transportation.

City of Waverly Kansas - Public Library - Coffey County Library System Waverly BranchThe community is proud of its parks, schools, and churches. Activities are well attended even by those with no school-age children. The local library, a branch of the Coffey County Library, is modern, well-equipped, and well-staffed. It is jammed with kids after school, and they really seem to enjoy it.

Many of the early settlers were from Ohio, and this heritage is still celebrated in the Ohio Days festival held each summer. Everybody in town turns out for the parade, a carnival, and lots of food and fun.

Waverly is blessed with abundant good water, and electric power is low in cost. Several colleges and a vocational/technical training center are nearby. These assets combined with the good transportation and central location, make it a great location for light industry, as well as a great place to live and raise kids.

 Waverly, Kansas
Waverly is a small community located in the northeast corner of Coffey County, Kansas. The town is situated between Ottawa and Emporia, Kansas on Interstate 35. Like most other small towns, Waverly was a result of a railroad. In 1877, the Ottawa and Burlington Railroad was started by W.H. Schofield and was completed by 1878.

Approximately 600 people currently make up this farming community along with several hundred individuals who live outside the community and call Waverly their home.

Waverly is not considered an old town for the state of Kansas. Some of the town’s first houses were built in 1878, while the town itself was recorded as being chartered in 1880. Among one of the first homes to be built is the house located at 117 Pierson Street by H.P. Donnell.

Waverly was finally decided upon as the name of the new town. After many suggestions such as Pierce City and Jamestown, Mr. Isaac Pierson, original owner of the land and one of the first settlers in the area, recommended the name of his old home town, Waverly, Indiana. The name Waverly was soon accepted and adopted by both the postal department and railroad.

City of Waverly, KansasThe town of Waverly had its first fire in January of 1882 destroying half of the houses and businesses. The fire started in the hardware store of Campbell & McShery after a dog supposedly overturned a lamp in the store. J.J. Campbell lived above the store. He and his baby escaped just before the powder in the store exploded.

Waverly’s first newspaper, The Waverly News, was started by L.E. Smith on March 29, 1883. Then, Dan Swearingen from Burlington, Kansas took over community paper and began the Gazette in the late 1880’s due to the lack of patronage for The Waverly News.

Waverly was incorporated on July 5, 1886, and the first city election was held on July 16, 1886. J. L. Senior was elected as the first mayor of Waverly.
City of Waverly, Kansas - Jr/Sr High School - Waverly Bulldogs
Waverly’s only bank robbery occurred on January 27, 1892. Approximately $600.00 was taken by Lewis and VanOrman. Before the robbers were caught near Lebo, Kansas, they shot A.R. Ingleman in the first alley west of Pierson Street. Lewis was taken to the penitentiary while VanOrman escaped from jail.
CIty of Waverly - Waverly Schools mascot
Waverly High School graduated its first class in 1892. By 1936, a new high school was built behind the old one. This gives us reason for the high school’s large grassy front yard.

Then in 1957, a new grade school was built two blocks west of the high school to accommodate students from the country schools.

Waverly unified as a district with Lebo in 1966. USD #243 Lebo-Waverly district’s office is located on Waverly's Pierson Street.

City of Waverly Kansas - Waverly Elementary SchoolOriginally a Sunday school class and through the encouragement of their teacher M.L. Hays, the "Day Star Daughters" established the first free public library in Waverly in 1895.

Waverly’s first water tower was built in 1903. After the tower was found providing inadequate services for the town’s water supply, citizens voted to replace it in 1963.

City of Waverly Kansas - Water tower erected 1965.

In 1965, the old water tower fell on the Santa Fe Depot crushing it. The water tower that is standing today was built in 1965.

City of Waverly Kansas - Coffey County Fire District #1, Station #7 A tornado did some damage to the Waverly area in 1905. The Waverly Volunteer Fire Department was also organized in 1905 by three sections that included a hose company, a ladder company and chemical company. J.F. Grennan was elected as the first fire chief in Waverly.

Ron Senior closed the Waverly skating rink in 1909. On November 14, 1913, the new Gem Theatre opened in Waverly. About 15 years later, the first talking motion picture was shown at Waverly’s Bailey Theatre on March 3, 1930.

One of town’s annual traditions that everyone in Waverly and the surrounding area looks forward is the Ohio Days celebration.

Ohio Days started in 1896 when the citizens of Waverly decided to host a reunion for the Ohio settlers that had made Waverly their home. It was a picnic held at James Grove, 1½ miles east of Waverly. This event was soon referred to as either “Ohio Day” or “Ohio Picnic.”

City of Waverly Kansas - Ohio Days mural - See Things to Do for event infoOhio Days was originally held on the third Thursday in August, but was soon extended to more days. Waverly added the Sunday program to the Monday and Tuesday celebration in 1986. Some of the many annual events that make the Waverly Ohio Days special include the parade, baby show and carnival entertainment.

So as you can see, Waverly is a small friendly community nestled in the heart of eastern Kansas that is full of history. This history makes Waverly what it is today, a place where you can call home.

Written by Stacy L. Williams. Data Sources: Cutler's History of Kansas (1883) and The Waverly History Book (1981). Reprinted with permission from the Coffey County Library System.

 First Baptist Church

City of Waverly Kansas - First Baptist ChurchThe First Baptist Church of Waverly was organized in July 1883 with 10 members. They held meetings in the south school house with occasional preaching for over a year. Reverend A. G. Savin was the first pastor but remained only a short time. Reverend J. A. Armstrong was called in 1886 and remained three years.

Membership grew to forty members by the year 1891 when Dr. P. J. Williams was called and he stayed five years. During his first year the Congregational building was purchased, remodeled and chairs added. In 1896 a baptistery was installed and a belfry was added. In the year 1901 the church building was again remodeled and pews were installed. The membership increased to one hundred.

Church records from 1901 to 1936 were lost but through the years 1937 to 1962 records revealed that the church was served by some outstanding "student" pastors. Even though the church body was small they were strong, serving the Lord faithfully, showing steady growth and in a position to start plans for enlarging the building facilities.

In 1954 the Glenwood Church building located eleven miles southeast of Waverly was purchased for $350.00 and dismantled, the lumber being used to enlarge the two classrooms. In the year 1958, another addition of two bathrooms, a large class or reception room and a kitchen was made. Reverend James Fisher, who was a student at Ottawa University in the year 1909 and the pastor in Waverly, was recalled in 1960 to serve as pastor and faithfully worked until his death in October 1960.

Reverend Dewey Ring was a resident pastor from 1962 until 1963. On July 14, 1963, the church observed its 80th anniversary with a rededication service. Reverend Jim Anderson of Lebo Baptist Church was the speaker.

A church parsonage was purchased in 1964 and Reverend Daryl McNabb was called. Additions to the building and redecorating the sanctuary were accomplished in the years 1965 and 1968. Land, consisting of 138 acres, located two miles north of Waverly, was acquired and dedicated in 1969 for the purpose of constructing a Youth Camp. A large assembly building, two dormitories, bathhouse and many other projects were constructed on the grounds.

In 1972 the church parsonage in Waverly was sold and the money was applied to a camp dormitory. In 1978 the church body "split" and the dissenting group was removed from the church and given the camp acreage and improvements with the church building remaining with the First Baptist members.

From 1978 to 1980 Dr. Charles Anderson, Professor of Religion at Ottawa University and an ordained minister served the church as pastor. In 1980 a parish was formed with the Lebo Baptist Church, sharing their parsonage and with Reverend Irvin L. Bradshaw as interim pastor for the parish.

The Waverly History Book. Compiled by the Waverly City Library; published 1981.

 Waverly United Methodist Church

City of Waverly Kansas - United Methodist ChurchOn March 1, 1882, H. J. Coker was appointed pastor of Mineral Point (known as Amiot) charge, which was comprised of North Reeder, Maple Grove, Glenwood, and Long Creek. Waverly was added that year. The present church location was purchased for $88.00 and the erection of the church began. Early in the spring of 1884 the new Methodist Church was completed at the cost of $2,250.00. It was dedicated in November of 1884 by Dr. Barnes of Kansas City; J. L. Langdon was pastor. John Rickman laid the foundation and George T. Giffin assisted on the building. The church is indebted to Eldridge Robert Colin Griffin for its beautiful artistic ceiling.

In the beginning the church was provided with chairs and in 1896 when the east room was added the chairs were replaced with pews. In 1952 hard wood floors were laid, and a partition was built to provide separate rooms for church school. Mrs. Elizabeth First left $500.00 to start this project. In 1956 the O'Leary country schoolhouse was moved in at the rear of the church and redecorated. It provided extra space for a kitchen, classrooms and social functions. A Hammond organ was purchased in 1959. In 1963 the breezeway was completed between the church and Fellowship Hall and modern restrooms were added. New pews and stained glass windows were donated to the church by various members of the church in 1970.

The Ladies Aid Society, as old as the church itself, assisted in all organization of the church. The name was changed to Busy Maids and Matron in 1924. The first president being Libbie Neighbors. In September 1940 it became the Women’s Society of Christian Service and in 1974 was changed to United Methodist Women.

A parsonage was built in 1882 for $700.00 and was located at 102 Schofield Street. It was sold in 1884 and a new one built at the present location. In 1900 the parsonage was remodeled and enlarged to a ten-room structure. In 1968 it was replaced with a modern three-bedroom home. Reverend Roger Peng was the first occupant.

The church is located in the 300 block of West 4th Street and the parsonage is located one block west of the church on Senior Street.

1990 Directory of Waverly/Melvern/Prairie View United Methodist Charge

 Prairie View United Methodist Church

The Prairie View United Methodist Church’s history dates back to the spring of 1880 when the Long Creek Methodist Episcopal Church class was established under the direction of Reverend H. J. Cooker as the pastor. At that time, there was also a Baptist organization holding church services at the Prairie View Schoolhouse under the pastorate of Dr. Fear. The two churches then decided upon the arrangement of each pastor preaching every other Sunday afternoon with them both joining together at 2:00 p.m. in a Union Sunday School. E. J. Grandstaff acted as the superintendent.

The agreement continued until Reverend A. W. Wilson conducted a revival meeting in the winter of 1888. The meetings then proceeded for several weeks with the schoolhouse being filled every night. Mr. A. J. LaRue and his family were among many of the individuals who attended these revival meetings. The revivals gained numerous worthy results with many pledging their lives for Christ. Class leader, Father Lyon took the class into the church on December 27, 1888, on six month probation. All were united in full church membership on August 4, 1889.

The need for a new church building came about when church membership increased and space became limited in the schoolhouse. The membership of the Long Creek class met on July 2, 1889 at the Prairie View Schoolhouse to chart the plans of a new church building. A vote was taken and its outcome decided that the proposed church would be called Prairie View Methodist Episcopal Church. The new church was to be located on land donated by G. W. Barber. This land, one half mile south of the Prairie View Schoolhouse, was in stipulation that it only be used for religious aspirations.

E. J. Grandstaff, L. Bunge, G. W. Barber, Marcus Meairs, and F. L. Bunge were elected to the board of trustees. They were to decide the size of the new church structure. These five individuals also signed the charter of the Prairie View Methodist Episcopal Church on July 16, 1889, in the presence of Justice of the Peace, H. P. Donnell.

At the time of dedication on November 10, 1889, the Prairie View Methodist Episcopal Church was debt free. The cost of the new church building was estimated around $1538.36. Another $430-$450 would have been additional to the cost if it wasn’t for all the contributed labor help from fellow neighbors. Reverend G. W. Stafford was the pastor at the dedication service.

In 1906, the Ladies Aid organization was founded by Pastor G. H. Gerkin and Mrs. Jennie Watkins. The group’s first president was Mrs. Clara Bunge. It later became known as the W.S.C.S. (Women’s Society of Christian Service) in May of 1939. Mrs. W. A. Thompsen was the first president of the newly reorganized group. This society supported much of the church’s activities. The ladies would host ice cream socials and use that money towards the monthly church budget. They would donate around $30 each month. Then on October 6, 1968, a meeting was held to change the group again to the United Methodist Women.

As the years continued, a progressive transition was beginning to form. The local community parishes were becoming more world-wide. The three branches of Methodism (The Methodist Episcopal, The Methodist Episcopal Church South, and The Methodist Protestant Church) started to acknowledge the necessity of a more united church system. All three divisions were then united at the May 1939 Uniting Conference held at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri. An amendment was then made to the church’s charter. On August 31, 1939, the name change of the Prairie View Methodist Episcopal Church to the Prairie View United Methodist Church was recorded in the Office of the Secretary of State.

The traditional Prairie View Christmas Eve program that began in December of 1889 is still occurring today. The program has been held every single year except for the Christmas Eve of 1983. That night it was extremely icy for people to be out in the cold weather so it was canceled for the night. At this present time, the Prairie View United Methodist Church will celebrate its 111th birthday in November of 2000.

Stacy L. Williams