Eastborough Real Estate
“Eastborough and Woodlawn – two swank additions lying east of Wichita between Central and Kellogg will soon incorporate into a city of the third class, it was reliably reported here today.” (Eagle, May 11, 1937) When the Sedgwick County commissioners approved the petition, the City of Eastborough was created.
In 1928, when Alton Smith announced “Wichita’s finest residential section,” the Fourth National Bank had just installed the city’s first air-conditioning equipment; an airplane had just made the first night landing at Municipal Airport; and Wichita No. 1, a gusher, was brought in on the northern outskirts of Wichita.
Eastborough was originally envisioned by Burdon Hunter, a British architect, who stood “atop a high hill” east of Wichita to picture an English village in the midst of a Kansas prairie. (Eagle, December 20, 1983) He planned an English village complete with quaint English streets, named and patterned after the small boroughs of his native land.
Eastborough’s first developers included Alton H. Smith (who married Kate English, the daughter of Nathaniel A. English, co-founder of Wichita); Harrison W. Albright; and Harry T. Morgan. They planned the 215 acre tract, as Hunter had envisioned, with winding drives, broad lawns, parks and a lake. Some of the street names had a similar sound – Alton Avenue (now vacated), English, Morgan Lane (a street without any houses), Hunter, etc.
Sale of Eastborough Village started April 10, 1929, when the developers set up a tent at the site and paid Wichita churches 50cents for each prospective buyer referred and gave away free lunches. They planned to have the area built and developed within a year so Eastborough would be one of the “showplaces of the city.”
So much for the plans of mice and men. Oil was discovered leaving the lots too torn up to sell or build upon. There were no streets and only a half-finished sewer system. The Democrat on July 30, 1951 described the initial sales event as a carnival-like atmosphere and mentioned that the out-of-town promoters then disappeared – leaving a mess. And Eastborough made its only appeal to be annexed by Wichita in 1930, which was fortunately turned down.
That same year with the Chamber of Commerce urging and supporting, Eastborough Estates was formed to rescue the area. The officers were: George H. Siedoff, President; F.O. Brownson, Vice President; Leon Lambert, Secretary; and Arthur H. Brasted, Treasurer. The directors were: Carl I Winsor, C.E. Parr, S.A. Long, WMG Howse, and Frank L. Dunn. Martin W. Hellar was General Manager. The corporation and Rock Island Lumber Company built five “spec houses.” Brasted, Dunn and Hellar moved in to sell lots and preferred stock. J.P. Weigand’s was the exclusive real estate agent. George Powers built the sixth house in Eastborough. The Powers moved in the same day the Foulstons moved into 8 Norfolk – June 1, 1936. And, Derby Oil Company agreed not to drill any more wells!
It was planned to incorporate when the first thirty homes were completed. The Woodlawn Addition operated by Earl Hutton had opened 12 years before Eastborough and already was sold out. The two subdivisions were ready to incorporate as a third class city. However, they could not agree upon a name for the street between them. The Woodlawn Addition wanted the street named Woodlawn. The Eastborough Addition wanted it named Eastborough Avenue. No mention was made as to who would pave it. Alas, all was resolved – the original tract plus Woodlawn (a four square block area) incorporated as a 425 acre third class city June 1, 1937. “Judge Jochems laughingly said there would be no dog catcher as every family seemed to own from one to three fancy dogs and he said that so far nobody has applied for a permit to sell beer in the village.” (Eagle, June 1, 1937)
The first elections for the new city were held June 15, 1937 in the basement of the Robert C. Foulston’s home, 8 Norfolk. Out of the total population of 200 people living in 48 homes there were 71 registered to vote. The poll watchers even had to provide their own lunch. The good citizens elected an unopposed Frank Dunn as Mayor; George Ward as Treasurer; and Authur R. Brasted as Council President. The first city council elected as J.C. Missildine; W.D. Jochems; Robert C. Foulston; and A.B. Anderson; C.A Motson, City Clerk; George Powers, Police Judge. The new council budgeted $4,000 for fiscal year 1938.
At the time of incorporation the total Eastborough investment was listed at $2 million with the existing 48 homes valued around $1 million. There was a minimum cost of construction of $8,000; garages had to match houses; and minimum setbacks, side lines and back lines were established. The exterior architectural plan of each building had to be inspected and approved. The deeds listed all the restrictions. In 1953, Ordinance 372 stated that homes could be built no less than 1700 square feet and no less than $10,000. In 1973, the Sedgwick County deputy assessor was quoted as saying the average house was 3,020 square feet with an average cost of $42,043. At that time there were only 4 or 5 lots left.
Since 1937, Eastborough has developed into a small town covering two square miles with 21 streets. The third class city, once a long way from Wichita, is now completely surrounded by the larger first class city. There were several failing attempts to “annex” Eastborough.
No one remembers when Eastborough Estates offered Eastborough to Wichita in 1930 – Wichita wanted no part of it! And, very few remember the time in 1951 or 1952 when Pat Patterson got a Kansas City, Kansas Representative to pass a bill stating Eastborough could annex Wichita.
People moved here because it was a “good place to live.” Families were reared; couples moved on; and newer younger families are moving in. There are several “second and third generation” residents who, remembering their childhood happily, chose Eastborough as the place to rear possibly the fourth generation.