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Kansas Place Names - November 18, 2016

Generals Edward Gerhardt (left) and Daryl McCall tour the upgraded kitchen facilities at Hillcrest Elementary in Lawrence, Kan. General Gerhardt is from the tiny town of Netawaka in northeast Kansas. (Photo by J. Schafer)

Q: The name of this northeast Kansas town comes from the Potawatomi Indian language and means "grand view." What's the name of this small town located in Jackson County?

A: Netawaka
Located in Jackson County, in northeast Kansas, Netawaka was founded in 1866. Sources say Netawaka is a Potawatomi Native American name meaning "grand view." There are many spellings for Potawatomi, including Pottawatami and Pottawatomie (which is the way the Kansas county is spelled), but the Kansas tribe that runs its own hotel and casino on its reservation spells it like this: Potawatomi. So, take your pick. 
Netawaka's first post office was established in January 1868. This year (2016), the town celebrates its 150th birthday! The small town has a population of less than 150 people, give or take a few. But, it has produced some notable residents, including Edward Gerhardt, a retired U.S. Army brigadier general. Gerhardt also worked as a teacher and high school principal. These days, the retired general is still serving his country. As part of a nationwide program called Mission: Readiness, Gerhardt visits schools and talks about the importance of physical fitness and healthy eating.  
So, the next time you are 40 miles north of Topeka and just east of U.S. Highway 75, look for the town of Netawaka, the birthplace of a U.S. Army brigadier general. And don't forget to take in the "grand view."

Want to learn more about Netawaka? Find it here.

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