Downs Visit


Downs Visit



In 1879, Downs was founded by Major William F. Downs (a Civil War Veteran) who brought the Central Branch  of the Union Pacific railroad westward from Waterville, Kansas along the Solomon River.  The city of Downs was laid out at the "Y" junction where the railroad split, one track headed along the north fork of the Solomon River, the other, followed the south fork.

It has been quite an experience as I have learned how so many of the cities in our district were founded as the Rail headed west out of Atchison.  The tracks were started in 1860, however, the Civil War broke out and the railroad barely made it out of the city limits. In 1866, building started again, and tracks were laid to Waterville.

As settlers continued heading westward, with a promise of a free grant of 160 acres of land, the tracks from Waterville to Downs were completed from 1876 to 1879. Downs became home to one of the largest "ROUND HOUSES," in the state. This famous Round House could house up to 10 locomotives at a time, and turn them around with ease, thanks to the well designed turn-table.***

Randy Koops has served as club president of the Rotary club of Downs for several years. A man of faith, Randy owns and operates the local Culligan water supply store.  Downs has 8 Paul Harris Fellows and one former district governor.

Brush Art Inc is a very interesting local Downs employer which I got to visit.  Founded in 1962 by Doug Brush, Brush Art is an advertising and marketing firm with 21 employees that specializes in integrated custom publishing. They have published ads and marketing materials in over 500 different journals. Starting as a Beta test site for multiple marketing soft ware programs for Mac computers decades ago, they have stayed ahead of the competition for "on-line" marketing campaigns.. Brush Art is a great example of another rural based small business that has managed to successfully compete with "big city" firms. Some of their clients include Caterpillar, T and I irrigation, and Land Mark Implements.

Thanks to Randy Koops, Tim and Jen Brush (mayor of Downs), and Heidi Brush-Doane for the hospitality and time.

****A portion of this history was obtained from a book entitled "Northern Kansas Division Missouri Pacific Lines, Originally Central Branch Union Pacific Railroad": written by Douglas C. Brush (yes, the same Doug Brush who founded Brush Art.)