History of Douglass


Our city was established after the Civil War, by Joseph Douglass. In 1869 Douglass, having realized the potential for a community along an old cattle trail from Texas, acquired land for farming.

Douglass discovered, however, that he wasn’t much of a farmer, so he applied to have his land turned into a town site instead. The town was laid out in blocks and streets on a square grid, much like his home back in New York. Land was given to the Methodist church, as well as influential people who were to attract settlers to the area.

Joseph Douglass took an active interest in his town but would unfortunately meet an untimely death at the hands of a miscreant he'd taken into custody. The town, now well established, would continue to prosper without its founder, welcoming business establishments, grain mills, saw mills, hotels, general stores, blacksmiths, livery stables, physicians, drug stores and yes…they had their share of horse thieves too.

Civilization and progress continued to sweep through Douglass, bringing with them a subscription school and Sunday school, later followed by a newspaper and banks. Levi Wright established a prosperous hardware store and the town's first opera house, drawing entertainment from the east and providing a stage for local plays and pageants.

The influence of pioneers like Levi Wright and Joeseph Douglass, remains an important part of our heritage today.  Some of the town’s original buildings are still in use, while others have been replaced to make way for our community center (listed on the National Historic Register) and library. We are proud of our town’s rich history and the comfortable living community it has become. When you’re in the area, don’t forget to drop by the Douglass Pioneer Museum, currently housed in two historical buildings.