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Read on to learn more about the city and its chimneys:
A Quick History of Stanley, KS
A small community in the southeast corner of Johnson County had a different fate than so many other “lost” towns in Kansas. Rather than die out when the railroad stopped going through, Stanley lived until it was swallowed up by the big city. Its origin was like the beginning of most of the towns around the Kansas City metro area- inhabited by Native Americans. Stanley was part of the land granted to the Shawnee tribe that was divided among the chiefs whose tribes had been moved to the land. Chief Blackbob was the chief of the area that Stanley was a part of. The tribe moved to land in Oklahoma during the Civil War and when they returned, found it occupied by white settlers.
Settlers came from Ohio and other eastern states, and some southern states as well. The town was settled long before the post office went in which officially established a community. The residents agreed upon the name “Stanley” to honor the journalist Sir Henry Morton Stanley who covered the “Indian Wars” for the Kansas newspaper. The railroad was built alongside the town in 1872 by the grain elevator. By the 1880 census, there were around 1,100 people living in Stanley and the Oxford Township. Education was important to the community and school houses were built throughout the land, however, the first high school wasn’t built until 1920. The population stayed nearly the same through the next forty years, but a strong school district was developing in the growing cities to the north. In 1960, the schools in Stanley and nearby Stilwell were merged into the Southeast Johnson County School District. That school district is now known as Blue Valley School District.
Trouble began in 1971 when Overland Park annexed Stanley in without the community’s approval. They fought back by creating a board of community representatives to examine the legalities and took Overland Park all the way to the Kansas Supreme Court. The court granted Stanley their independence back. Because the town was unincorporated, they had no elected officials to speak for the community. This created issues as they continued to fight legal battles and tax burdens with Johnson County. Stanley applied to be incorporated by the county and was denied their applications in 1978 and 1985. The county cited that this was on the basis that Stanley did not have enough of a tax base to provide their own municipal services. Even with the undeterred leadership of local citizen Nancy Brown, Stanley’s resistance was not enough. Overland Park, Johnson County, and developers at J.C. Nichols proved to be too powerful, and the town was once again annexed into Overland Park. Today, what was once a small independent community now blends in with the sprawl of new subdivisions and commercial properties of Overland Park.
Fireplaces and Chimneys of Stanley, KS
BY ROBERT BERRY, OWNER OF FULL SERVICE CHIMNEY
Stanley Kansas small-town history, modern-day convenience
The roots of Stanley can be found before the Civil War. Settlers moved to the newly available community in search of the beauty and opportunities that this southeastern part of Johnson County had to offer. A visitor doesn’t have to travel far to see the homes and historic sights that still remain as a testament to the first residence who, by choice, made Stanley their home. The older buildings and homes of the early 1900s that still remain are few. They harken back to a simpler time when homes were smaller and equipped with the necessities of these adventurous citizens. Chimneys and fireplaces, for example, were of a utility type. In other words, they were used to keep the family going with the preparation of food and the needed heat to survive our harsh Kansas winters.
Growth brought new opportunities and warmer, safer fireplaces and chimneys
With the encroachment of the ever-growing metro, many homeowners chose Stanley because of its convenience to the metro while maintaining a cozy, small-town charm. The homes built in the last 50 years are as sturdy and modern as any that are found in the metro, but with the spacious feel not found to the north. The chimneys and fireplace of the newer homes were designed with the needs of the gas furnaces and water heaters in mind. Fireplaces were large and well-adorned with the reclaimed brickwork available at the time giving a hearth that was easily enjoyed. Many of these more recent chimneys and fireplaces now have some of the same needs as the older ones and are in need of attention as well.
The use of masonry chimneys to vent the gas utilities has caused many of these chimneys to deteriorate at a faster pace than would otherwise occur, causing some chimneys to need rebuilding at less than 40 years of age. The fireplaces frequently need attention as well. Most of them were used for wood burning for many years, setting them up for the occasional chimney fire. Chimney fires damage the flue liner to the point of a compromise in safety and integrity. Full Service Chimney continues to be a trusted hearth and chimney resource for the families of Stanley. After all, “we love chimneys”.
Modern fireplaces offer easier use, any time you want it
Construction of neighborhoods in the last 20 years brought sturdy and user-friendly air-cooled chimneys and factory-built fireplaces. These designed, mass-produced fireplaces and chimneys were a convenience that new homeowners saw the value in. Gas fireplaces, as well, have continued to be a popular hearth appliance, offering even greater convenience and far more heat than our ancestors could have ever hoped for. The key to keeping both the turn of the century fireplaces safe is the same for hearths only a few years old: having the system serviced every year by trusted professionals. Full Service Chimney has taken care of the chimneys and fireplaces of Stanley since the 1980s. Call us today if you to have a hearth and home in Stanley, and we’ll take good care of you as well.