The Citizens' Committee

Stop 5: SW Corner of W Main St and N Broadway Ave, Downtown

Overnight, a city of tents arose next to the railroad station. But where were the streets and lot lines? Amid the confusion, a mass meeting was called which elected a committee to bring order with a new survey.

Confusion reigned on Tuesday, April 23, the day after the Land Run, as settlers realized that nobody was in charge. Surveyors representing competing townsite companies tried to mark the streets on land that a day earlier had been open prairie. As conflicts escalated, a small group of men called a mass meeting, enlisting boys on ponies to spread the word.

Settlers flocked to the southwest corner of Main and Broadway. Angelo C. Scott, a young Kansan with a booming voice was elected chairman. Amidst heated discussions, the assembly resolved to conduct a new townsite survey and entrusted its oversight to a citizens' committee to be elected on the spot, each member to come from a different state.

Citizens shouted the names of their nominees, who were hustled onto boxes next to the chairman and secretary. "If the crowd liked his looks they voted him up; if not, they voted him down," recalled Scott.

Fourteen citizens were elected, and they proceeded to sort out conflicting claims and provide a semblance of leadership as settlers went back to work setting up camp on the open prairie.