In the 1880s Americans were moving in droves to the Western frontier. Waves of migrants were inspired by the promises of cheap land and riches, Following the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869, the journey west became considerably easier. Many entrepreneurs and private town companies began heavily advertising real estate, investment and tourism opportunities in the West. Indianapolis, Colorado was one of those places.
Sam Konkel, editor of the Boston World 1887-1889 and the Springfield Herald 1913-1930 mentions Indianapolis, Colorado several times in his 1918 -1919 Springfield Herald articles. It appears from his writings there was a fairly close connection to the Boston Town Company, of which Konkel was a part. What do we know about Indianapolis? Most of the town residents were from Meade, Kansas. Three town blocks were reserved for churches and two for public schools.
It had a newspaper, the Indianapolis Journal which Konkel mentions.
It had one citizen, Catherine Colver Williams who was a proponent of Women’s Suffrage.
It had some troubles, as was common in those old towns.
Most references to Indianapolis, such as the one below are from Meade, Kansas.
What I really didn’t notice until now that Indianapolis was another town the Boston Town Company was hoping to become a county seat along with Boston, Carrizo, Albany and Brookfeld. The town is usually mentioned in listing of new towns starting up in 1887 similar to the one Konkel shares with us in the paragraphs below which are extracted from.
“Persons, Stories and Incidents of Old Boston and the Old Days.” Springfield Herald, July 5, 1918.
The Town Building Fever -It is a cold day when some new town doesn’t start up in south-eastern Colorado. In the short space of four months, there have been seventeen towns laid out south of the railroad and east of Trinidad. They are in the order of their ages –Boston, Albany, Vilas, Carrizo, Springfield, Minneapolis, Humbar, York, Farmington, Wilde, Holmes, Indianapolis, Athens, Bloomington, Brookfield, Plymouth, and Randal — Western World, April 21, 1887. Konkel also provided the following: Mr. Konkel editor and proprietor of the Western World published at Boston Colorado, visited Indianapolis last week. We were very much pleased to meet Mr. Konkel who is a gentleman of culture, education and experience, and a valuable man for Boston. While here he was a guest at the Aultman hotel of which he spoke of in the highest terms, he further said Indianapolis was the best town for its age he had saw in the west –Clipping from the Indianapolis Journal in Western World, October 1887.
The item is a little shy on grammar, but, laying modesty aside, the facts as we remember them now were about as stated.
Indianapolis was located about thirty miles west of Carrizo, something like ten to fifteen miles west and south of the present Kim, having the Black Mesa frowning at it from the east and Mesa De Mayo looking down at it from the rear.
Do you know, we’ve been out in that country several times in the last few years and looked for that old town site and couldn’t find it, nor could we find anybody out there that ever heard of it.
We would say there were about two or three dozen houses at Indianapolis when we were there. The hotel was two story. For the reason that Boston fathered the town we have a special interest in it.
The object of Boston was to make counties about the size of those in Kansas — about thirty miles square, hence Boston, Carrizo and Indianapolis were to be county seats of three counties carved out of Las Animas, and Albany and Brookfield of two counties carved out of Las Animas, Prowers and Bent counties.
All of these towns were promoted by the Boston Town Co.
As there was no settlement of any kind left in that country, we are presuming the houses were pulled down to the Cimarron, though some of them may have followed the example of Elijah and have gone straight up along with their newspaper, the Indianapolis Journal.
The ad below is from the Meade Globe (Meade, Kansas) 9 Apr 1887. NOTE they reference the San Luis Valley as the location. We have transcribed the text in the box following the ad.
—Ho for Indianapolis. Is everybody going? It looks that was as quite a number of our citizens have been to see and say that the that the San Louis valley, in which Indianapolis is located, is the finest they ever saw, and hun-dreds more are going even from this our lovely locality, to get homes and and make money. Indianapolis was located about the 13th of March, 1887, by a company of gentlemen from Meade and Seward counties in what is known as the San Luis Valley, 31 miles east from Trinidad, Colorado, where coal is worth from 80 cents to one dollar a ton, flour $2 per hundred, lumber $5 to $16 a thousand and every thing in proportion, and where you are in plain view of the snow caped Rocky Mountains, plenty of timber, water and building stone. The valleys are surrounded by skirts of timber and abound in running streams, where the finest soil for farming purposes was ever under the sun. The Company is composed of gentlemen of the first class under whose management Indianapolis can’t help but prosper and grow fat. The capital stock of the company is limited to fourteen thousand dollars, by its incorporation, divided into 280 shares of $50 each. The stock being worth its face value, and no doubt every share could be so disposed in Meade Center, but that the company refuses to dispose of it as they are quite jealous of their new enterprise. Never before in the history of the west has emigration reached the proportions it is at present assuming.
The (mostly unreadable) town ad (below) for Indianapolis was in the Boston World (Boston, Colorado) Thurs March 8, 1888.