A Forgotten And Lost Wichita Pioneer – Peter Stackman

“I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.”  – Henry David Thoreau

Recently I explored nearby and familiar locations where a little known early Wichita pioneer and entrepreneur, Peter Stackman, lived, worked and invested.

Sparked by a re-reading  “A Living Gravestone” written by Elisabeth Guldner, containing the history of the family for whom our Historic Landmark House in named, I was reminded of how the choices and movements of people impact life.

In a previous BLOG post I documented the convergence of three German immigrant families.  These intersecting lives formed the basis for a significant contribution to the formation of Wichita, Kansas.

I also told how Peter Stackman and Marie-Louise Hahn met, married and traveled from Strasbourg, France to Wichita, Kansas where Mr. Stackman had a thriving tailoring business.  As a Wichita pioneer, He owned a significant amount of land in and near the core area of Wichita.

Stackman – an Early Wichita Pioneer And Entrepreneur

Wichita Pioneer
1910 Property Map Showing Marie Steinbuchel Owner of land in the Museum District
Prior to a return journey to Europe in 1885 where he met Marie, Peter had built or acquired the following:
  •  An initial land grant of 160 acres along the Arkansas River on which the Wichita Water Plant, Old Cowtown, Botanica and the Wichita Art Museum now reside.
  • 150 and 154 Main Street where he built two three story brick buildings
  • a row of wooden buildings on the 4th block of North Main Street
  • His tailoring shop employing eight people at 204 and 206 North Main Street
  • A Livery at 1st and Water Street
  • Property in the First Block of Lawrence (Broadway)
 He had built a farmhouse and barn on the eastern portion of the 80 acres overlooking the Arkansas River.
Marie-Louise and Peter had three children:
  •  Bertha born, August 5, 1888
  • Matild followed a year later but died of whopping cough at six weeks of age
  • Frederick Charles was born February 28, 1890
 About the same time as the birth of their son, Peter Stackman contracted the flu and died on Good Friday, 1890 at 47 years of age.  He is buried next to his infant daughter in Maple Grove Cemetery, in Wichita.

Stackman Properties Today

Wichita Pioneer
150 North Main, where Peter built two three story brick buildings used as commercial and residential rental property – now occupied by this commercial office.
In the short 13 years Mr. Stackman invested much into the growth and commerce of Wichita.  At the former farmstead location, now occupied by apartments, Stackman Drive is what remains.
Part of the street named for him was converted to Museum Drive in the 2000’s at Wichita Pioneerthe suggestion of an outside consulting firm who were unaware of the significance of Mr. Stackman’s contribution.
Marie-Louise continued to own land in this area until the 1940s.

The Stackman Court Apartments built by Frederick Stackman, Peter’s son, in 1928 are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wichita Pioneer
The Stackman Court Apartments

These properties reside within a mile of our home so I made an intentional visit to each one.  I drive by these spots several times a week but looking at them, more aware of the specifics, was enlightening.

Of course, I know the Museum area as we frequent these wonderful Wichita sites regularly.
The addresses in the downtown area are all either city owned or commercial hearkening to their beginnings.
Wichita Pioneer
First Block of North Main 2017
Wichita Pioneer
Wichita, Ks City Hall occupies all of the west side of the 400 block of North Main Street
Wichita Pioneer
204 and 206 North Main where Mr. Stackman ran his tailoring business is now a parking garage.
Wichita Pioneer
Three of the four corners at 1st and Water street are parking lots and the other an office building.stackmanOne of these corners was where the livery Peter owned resided.  Since parking lots are today’s version of a livery, it seems appropriate.

An Unrecognized Legacy

In looking at each of these locations, it is noteworthy that a large portion of his properties are now occupied with some city or county enterprise.
The museums, are non-profit assets to the community, with the remainder housing commercial offices, banks and businesses.
Well done Mr. Stackman.  Well done.
Are there locations you pass by daily having a heritage worth giving voice to?  Please share in the comments below.  

I am a former air traffic controller, pilot, Aircoupe owner, married 42 years to a great guy. We live in a 125+ year old historic Victorian, enjoy cats, vintage anything, precious friends. My passion is Giving Lost Stories A Voice – Giving Found Materials Fresh Form and Purpose!

2 thoughts on “A Forgotten And Lost Wichita Pioneer – Peter Stackman

  1. Hey Nancy,

    Enjoy your posts and looking back at the legacies we’ve been left. I’m on a similar quest with family history and for an English class I’m taking.

    Good work on your part with your contribution via this blog and your investigations!

    1. Thank you Russ – there are moments I wonder if my time is used well, then I get a note like this! Thank you! I know folks are reading and I know efforts to tell these family stories are important, but keeping the urgent stuff at bay while tending to the important ones is a daily challenge, as I am sure you know. I am grateful for the means to share these tidbits with relative ease. Blessings my friend!

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