Editor's Note - Sources: “Yesterday and Today,” “Centennial of York County”
McCool Junction was organized around the junction of the Kansas City and Omaha railroads. The town was platted in 1886 but due to the severe winter, nothing was done until after the beginning of 1887.
Very early, a rivalry sprung up over the naming of the new town by the people of Niota, a rival town across the road on the south, but friends of D. McCool, general manager of the Kansas City and Omaha railroad succeeded in having it named after him. The word Junction was added because the two railroads formed a junction south of the town and also, residents felt McCool might be confused with McCook.
Seven weeks after the town was platted, the first ground was broken to put in a set of scales to weigh corn. By June 1, 1887, there were 75 residences and business places.
The Blue River Bank was established in March 1887 with Henry Musselman as president and manager.
By 1897, there had been many changes in the business line-up. Many had left, but others had come in.
Very early, church services were begun in the community. In 1872, people of the Baptist faith established services in a log school house one-half mile north of where the town was later located. Later, they built a church in McCool Junction. In 1900, the Lutheran church combined with Baptists until a new Lutheran church was built in 1902. The Catholic congregation at first held services in the old Niota Hall. Then in 1905, they built a new church.
In 1887, there were 23 children attending school in a little building ¼ of a mile south of town. Early plans were made to build a school house on the southwest corner of the town site. In 1916, a new high school was built.
The first telephone system, a local set-up, was installed in town in 1900. By July 15 of that year, there were 15 telephones in use.
Several attempts were made to have the town electrically lighted. The first lights were gasoline lighted. In the spring of 1907, a special electric light engine was purchased to furnish the electricity.
Very early, McCool Junction was known as the “Magic City on the Blue.” No limit was set on the grand possibilities of the new town. At one time, it was rumored that seven railroads were coming through but by the 1920s when cars and trucks came into use, patronage of the railroads began to decline and fewer and fewer trains came through. Eventually, the tracks were removed.
The town, however, has carried on and thrived ever since.
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