Stop #11: Spilman Plaza, S. Santa Fe Avenue

Spilman Plaza – Kansas Fever

Deserting his engineering studies at the University of Michigan, Alexander Spilman headed for the Kansas Territory. Eager to take part in the border conflicts, Spilman moved to Lawrence to live with his sister Margaret Phillips. Spilman decided to join his brother-in-law, William Phillips, to establish a town “out west” in 1858.

Spilman, along with James Muir and Robert Crawford, completed a preliminary survey of Salina marking off streets, blocks, lots, squares and public ground. When completed, the boundaries of Salina were North, South, Front and Ninth Streets. Spilman continued surveying with a team of public surveyors to subdivide an area 48 by 30 miles, including parts of the future counties of Saline, Ottawa, Ellsworth and Lincoln. In addition to surveying, Spilman was a soldier, farmer, probate judge, attorney, register of deeds, Kansas legislator, businessman and mayor of McPherson, Kansas.

Spilman Plaza in 2022.

Next stop: Proceed south on Santa Fe Avenue to the Masonic Center, 336 S. Santa Fe.