THE OLDEST ROUNDABOUT
In the early 1870s, Taylor Holbrook, designed the round Fountain Park to be the hub of Blue Rapids. By 1876 a fountain was placed in the center and cottonwood trees
planted around the edge of the circle. Shortly after 1888, sidewalks
were laid, a bandstand built, hedges planted and a soldier's
memorial and flag pole installed. There were twelve dirt streets
leading to the park. Businesses built around the enclosing square.
It is the only round square in Kansas. THE ROUND SQUARE TODAY
Today Fountain Park still holds the bronze Memorial Tablet from 1920
but has added names of soldiers from World War II, and the Korean and
Vietnam conflicts. The bandstand is now the Police Department; memorial trees
have been added; the fountain still bubbles and the flag still flies. A
block of gypsum from the purest gypsum mine in the world graces the park
while the old city jail cell adds quirky interest.
One of our oldest
buildings is the public library, erected in 1875. It is the oldest
library in the same building used continuously west of the Mississippi.
The State Bank of Blue Rapids was erected in 1871 and the Citizens
State Bank in 1904 (now an attorney's office). One of the
buildings erected in 1871 on the north side of the square still
remains.THE DAILY CUSTOM
Residents round the
square daily to visit the post office, the cafe (pie!), the
auto parts/hardware store, the community building, the car wash, the
pharmacy, the bank, the bar (great chicken livers), the glass
repair shop, the attorney and the new Blue Rapids Museum. EVENTS ON THE SQUARE
When the New York Giants and the Chicago White Sox arrived on the
Central Branch Railroad to play a game on their World Tour in 1913,
they walked the round square.
County Fair parade has circled the square the last 35 years. Other
parades celebrated around the square are for homecoming, Bible School, Women's Emancipation, Fourth of July, Halloween, Santa's arrival, shivarees, and senior proms.
A challenging custom from the
1940s-1950s, if not before, was to take your vehicle to the top of the
hill south of town, turn the engine off, and coast to the square and
see how many times you can make the circle before stopping.
teenagers meet on the "squircle" by backing their cars into the curb so
they can sit and watch who is in town. Boys with trucks often put an old
couch or chairs in the truck bed to make themselves comfortable.
Saturday nights are the busiest. Winning high school sport teams are
treated after the game to a celebratory bus ride circling the square
going the wrong way! YOU'RE INVITED
The public is invited to come to Blue Rapids and cruise Main, Blue Rapids style!Questions?
Contact the Blue Rapids Historical Society at firstname.lastname@example.org
The round town square fountain and Veterans Memorial in the middle of the "squircle." Photo KSF