Then and Now: Magic Hill









THEN: Shown above is Oakwood in about 1880, the residence and stock farm of C.S. Eichholtz. It was located on the southwest corner of Hillside and Harry streets. Looking west along Harry from near the top of Magic Hill, Chisholm Creek, now the drainage canal, can be seen in the distance. (Artist: Unknown)

NOW: At right, the former site of Oakwood today at Hillside and Harry is a busy intersection and business area. 
(Photo by D & V Churchman)

THEN: The caption on the photo reads, " The old home on Magic Hill. W. B. Jones and family" Photograph taken April 12, 1895. (Photographer: Unknown , Repository: Wichita State University Libraries’ Department of Special Collections. URL:

NOW: The former site of the W. B. Jone residence is now Letizia’s College of Dress Design.

(Photo by D & V Churchman)

Magic Hill was the name given to the area around present day Harry and Hillside. I went exploring on the hill in search of some clue as to the source of its name. There is a hill there but no magic that I could find. Hopefully somebody will be able explain why it was so-named.

One of the early residents of Magic Hill was the Eichholtz family. According to William G. Cutler’s History of the State of Kansas, C.S. Eichholtz located his 160 acre stock farm on the southwest corner of Harry and Hillside in 1878, which was at the time three miles southeast of Wichita. He made a specialty of Poland-China thoroughbred hogs and short-horn cattle and was president of the Arkansas Valley Agricultural Society in 1880-81.

Eichholtz, born in Pennsylvania in 1837, was a Union Civil War veteran and was in the battles of Franklin, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Marietta and Macon, to name just a few. He lived in the spacious two-story folk-Victorian house (above) with his wife, daughter and three sons.

Today, the site of the residence is occupied by a furniture store, restaurant and parking lots. The pastures now have been replaced by a soft drink bottling company and private homes. The view from the hill overlooking the city is still impressive but hard to enjoy for fear of getting run down by the heavy traffic.

Just north of Oakwood on the east side of Hillside, between Grand and Harry, was the residence of W. B. Jones and his family. He was from New York and was listed in the Wichita City Directory as a speculator and real estate dealer with Jones Brothers Company

The 1895 photo below shows a horse-drawn Wichita Tourist bus in front of the barn and the family, which appears to consist of W. B. Jones, two young boys, a small girl, two adult ladies and a big black dog.

Today the site is occupied by Letizia’s College of Dress Design, and no trace of the house or barn exist.