The City of De Soto began in the spring of 1857, named for an Indian by the name of De Soto. In 1858, John Possum, a Shawnee Indian, and Hattie Possum sold 80 acres to John F. Legate, S. Todd and Stratton and Williams for $1,200. The next sale was 80 acres to the De Soto Town Co. in July of 1861 for $1,176. The land, part of the Louisiana Purchase, cost the U.S. 3 cents per acre. It was given to John Possum who sold the first tract at $15 per acre. Major James B. Abbott is remembered as one of the town’s pioneer landowners and the builder of Abbot Hall, located at 83rd Street and Peoria. Today, Abbot Hall is the town museum.
With the construction of the 9,080 acre Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, De Soto boomed in the early 1940’s with people coming from all over the United States to work at the plant. A May 1943 article from The Kansas City Star reported "a town rapidly growing, with a population increase from 400 to 1,000 persons in under a year". This sudden overflow in population put a great strain on housing and other resources in the city; however, many original residents prospered during this time, buying property and starting new businesses. Production flowed steadily at the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant until the plant went on standby in March 1948, with small scale production following shortly after. Many of the plant's previous employees stayed on in De Soto, commuting to work in nearby cities and helping to establish De Soto as a "town of homes".
Today, De Soto residents are afforded the benefits of living in a growing community with easy access to other communities in the Kansas City Metropolitan area. From city and county parks amenities, wonderful schools and businesses that have their North American headquarters in De Soto, there's something for everyone. De Soto's impressive list of local businesses provides residents with access to some of the area's top employers. New residential development is available that will also provide you with the home of your dreams. The city of De Soto has carefully planned its growth to provide a balanced and welcoming community.
As we look to tomorrow, we realize that our forefathers created a community with foresight, determination and dreams of building a community that stands the test of times. We've seen that a once-small river town experienced changes throughout the past century, but one thing never changes...De Soto is "home". De Soto is well-positioned to ensure that the community's quality of life and business community will continue to be as strong as it is today.
De Soto, KS Chamber of Commerce © 2015
33150 W. 83rd Street P.O. Box 70
De Soto, Kansas 66018
Phone: 913-583-1585 - Fax: 913-583-3553