What 19th-Century Kansas Cow Towns Teach Us About Global Capital

Like Amazon Today, Railroads Determined the Fortunes of Even the Most Distant Communities

Boasting dozens of windows and a hundred-person dining room, the Drovers Cottage was quite a hotel by the standards of the 19th-century American West. Even more impressive: It managed to be the main attraction of two different towns.

Dovers Cottage was originally built in Abilene, Kansas, during a cattle boom in the late 1860s, when Abilene was the first great railhead connecting the cattle ranches of Texas to the emerging national rail network. But Abilene’s fortunes soon turned—when Ellsworth, Kansas, took its place as the new cattle boomtown.

Ellsworth rose to …

When Kansas Was America’s Napa Valley

Before Prohibition, German Immigrants Created a "New Rhineland"

Located in the northeastern corner of Kansas, Doniphan County’s eastern edge is shaped like a jigsaw puzzle piece, carved away by the flowing waters of the Missouri River. The soil …

A Reborn-Again Kansan

My Diverse, Bloody, Odd, and Treasured Sunflower State

We hear so much about presidential candidates–and so little about life in the states that elect them. In “Beyond the Circus,” writers take us off the trail and give us …