Greiffenstein's First Home Built in 1871

THEN: This home was built by William Greiffenstein on South Water Street in 1871. In 1887, he moved to a new home, at 1043 Jefferson, part of which still stands after a disastrous fire. 

(Photo from Wichita Century, R. M. Long, Wichita Historical Museum Association, Inc.)


    In 1871, William “Dutch Bill” Greiffenstein built his first two-story home, on South Water Street, near the first river crossing. It was the largest house in Wichita for many years.

    The house was probably destroyed around 1910 to make room for the Forum. Today the site is occupied by Century II. It is marked by a bronze plaque placed at the location by the Wichita Historic Preservation Board in 1993. It reads in part:

    Dutch Bill was an Indian trader and established his first trading post in 1865 along the Cowskin Creek. (The site is now Eberly Farms at 13111 W. 21st.) 

    Dutch Bill earned the title “Father of Wichita” and as one of the founders, he was instrumental in financing the development of Douglas Avenue as Wichita’s commercial center.

    He had stiff competition from  Darius Munger, who built Wichita’s first residence at 9th and Waco. In 1870, they agreed to combine their plats to create a single township. Dutch Bill gave away alternate plots on Main Street to stimulate retail growth toward Douglas Avenue.

    He also financed the Douglas Avenue Bridge which allowed easy access to Douglas Avenue making it the major business thoroughfare...

    William Greiffenstein was mayor of Wichita in 1878 and again from 1880 to 1884. William Street in downtown Wichita is named in his honor.

            When the real estate boom of the 1880s ended, so did his fortune. He died at the home of his in-laws in Indian Territory in 1899.

NOW: Century II is the second public structure to occupy the general area where Greiffenstein built his first house in Wichita. Note the bronze marker in the center of the picture indicating where the house stood.