Zwolle plans for 120th Anniversary

Zwolle Mayor G.J. "Pie" Martinez, Town Council, and the Anniversary Committee are busy preparing for the town's anniversary on June 9, 2018 at 1pm. The Town of Zwolle received its Official Charter on June 12, 1898. City Officials will dedicate two bronze historical markers honoring Zwolle's Kansas City Southern Railroad Depot (c. 1914) and the Old Zwolle Jail (c. 1909).

The area destined to become Zwolle was settled by Native American, Spanish, and French families more than a century and a half before the arrival of the railroad in 1896.

This area was called Vallecillo, which is Spanish meaning "the little valley". The devotion and hospitality of the large Catholic community at St. Joseph's Catholic Church moved KCS Railroad Financier Jan De Goeijen to open a railroad station at this location. In 1896, the Dutchman gave the town the name of his birthplace Zwolle, Netherlands, and aided financially in its founding.

A special guest at the festivities will be Jan De Goeijen's granddaughter, who is traveling from her home in the Netherlands to Zwolle for the first time. She is the third generation De Goeijen family member to visit Zwolle. Her father and grandfather visited Zwolle in 1927, when they visited every town along the KCS Railroad, from Kansas City, MO to Port Arthur, TX.

In 1896, Teofilo "T." Laroux, a community leader and descendant of the early Native American, Spanish, and French families donated 20 acres to the KCS for a depot and town to be built. The descendants of T. Laroux will be recognized for Laroux's donation of land and lifelong service and generosity to the Zwolle community.

The old Zwolle jail served the town through its wild and unruly early years. It housed lawbreakers of many offenses such as fighting, public drunkenness, larceny, murder, and moonshining. Originally built in 1909, the jail had fallen into deplorable conditions by the 1940s. Longtime City Marshal Quinton Brandon campaigned for more humane conditions for the prisoners. In 1953 a new City Hall, Fire Station, and Jail were dedicated. The descendants of Quinton Brandon will also be honored for Mr. Brandon's long dedication and service to the town of Zwolle.

Everyone is invited to join the celebration on June 9, 2018 at 1pm at Zwolle City Hall.

Anniversary Committee Members include G. J. "Pie" Martinez, Martha R. Henderson, Mary Lucille "Betty" Rivers, Cody Bruce, Linda Curtis-Sparks, and Robert and Laurie Gentry. Without support from Town Council Members Carolyn Cutright, Darlene Frazier, Martha Rivers Henderson, Rich Remedies, Allen Rivers, and Chief of Police Daniel Thomas this event would not have been possible. For additional information please contact Zwolle City Hall at 318-645-6150 or Martha R. Henderson at 318-645-9573.

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