Scott City has the distinction of having been founded by a woman. In 1885, Maria DeGeer, a most unusual and progressive woman came from Chicago to establish a temperance community. On the high plains of Kansas she chose the very center of Scott County for her settlement.

The Town Company of Scott City was organized and incorporated September 11, 1885, and the first house in the city was erected in October of that year. The Town Company donated a whole block for a courthouse square, which is the present site of the courthouse in the 300 block of Court Street. They also donated the block on which the old high school building was located, in the 200 block of College Street , lots to each of the churches located here at that time and land on which a building was erected by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.

Scott City appeared on the map as a third class incorporated city on the 10th day of January, 1887. Previous to that time, it had operated as a village. The boundaries were designated by the board of county commissioners, by request of a petition of a majority of the residents of the village and an election was called for February 17, 1887. The first mayor elected was James B. Johnson; police judge, L.S. Boyer; councilmen, Frank H. Miller, Cy Brookman, W. Meisenheimer , John Eckard, and Thomas Crook.

The new city officers found some trouble from the outset. They had no money with which to pay bills and it would be several months before a tax levy could be made. The problem was solved by the occupation tax method, and so far as is known the expenses were paid from that fund until tax money could be collected.

The land that was incorporated in the city was composed of quarters of four different sections of land and was located on a small knoll, in such a way that water drained in every direction from the main city square, which was the intersection of Main and DeGeer streets. DeGeer street was later changed to Fifth Street . Each quarter of land had been filed on as a homestead, and the four owners constituted the Town Company.

On January 1, 1886, Scott City had a population of 700 and was rapidly growing. At that time the town boasted of two churches, the Methodist and the Cumberland Presbyterian. The City flourished during the years leading up to 1890, and then a few setbacks came in the way of crop failure and the bursting of the boom. At one time Scott City had a population of over 2,000, but during the 1890’s the population dwindled until in 1903 there were only about 350 people in Scott City . Then a substantial growth began. In about 1937 Scott City had close to 1,800 residents.

In 1914 the first electric light and power plant was built. The equipment cost $40,000 and was adequate, but by 1920, there was a need for a new and larger plant to be built. In 1931, Scott City sold the plant to the Inland Utilities Company of Kansas City , who rebuilt the plant, added larger motors, and extended lines to rural sections.

A sewer system was installed in 1920 and new water wells were put down. In 1929 the City had constructed 12 blocks of brick paving and four or five times that much of curb and gutter. Natural gas came to Scott City in the fall of 1936.

Some interesting and additional information on Scott City which follows is taken from Pioneer Days in Scott County , a history written by Bonnie Bailey Vaughn and printed in serial form in the News Chronicle starting in July 1959.

“It might be of some interest to tell how Scott City was started since few persons now living here witnessed the start of the town. Mrs. DeGeer and three men, Swan, McLain, and Case formed a Town Company and each donated 40 acres. The town site had just been laid out when my father arrived in Scott County in March of 1885. At that time Scott City was known as Scott Centre, then some years later changed to Scott and finally to Scott City in 1913.

Each of the members of the Town Company donated one acre for a park, so there were four parks laid out altogether. The county courthouse was afterward built on the northwest park. In the 1890’s I remember there was a windmill and reservoir there, and a lot of good sized shade trees. It was always called the Courthouse Park.

The brick school building built in 1894 was in the northeast park. Then there was one in the southeast part of town which in time had a windmill and trees and one in the southwest part. The Town Company at first offered inducements to people to come and settle in the new town by offering to give a free lot to anyone that would build on it. They also donated lots for the Methodist Church, the first church built in Scott City in 1886.