By Terry Love
The Greenview Ridge subdivision was developed by Timberline Development Company in the early 1990s. Before that, the land was part of the farm of the descendants of Fred Garrett. It was not that long ago that cattle roamed around Greenview Ridge area. Fred Garrett was one of two brothers who pioneered the area in the 1850s. The other was Richard Garrett. They were from England. This land was THE frontier in those days. It was the edge of civilization. It was in a township called Monticello, K.T. – Kansas Territory. Garrett Park on 47th Street is named after the farm family.
The area was not populated, and no one lived here, but the Kansa Indians used this wooded area as their hunting grounds. It was originally part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 by Thomas Jefferson. By 1825, the Kansa Indians had migrated out of the area. They were nomads. The Shawnee Indians migrated to the area from Ohio and Missouri. They were probably run out of the area by white settlers. Many settled in the area as the first modern inhabitants.
Before bridges were built over the Kaw River, how did people cross the river? The answer is by ferry boat. After Fort Leavenworth was built, and later Fort Scott was built on the edge of the frontier, the trail or path between the two had to cross the Kaw River. The first ferry boat across the river was built in 1828 by Frederick Choteau. He also built a trading post on the south bank of the river. It was called Chouteau Station. Frederick was the son of the founder of St. Louis, Missouri, and the namesake of the Chouteau Bridge in Kansas City, Missouri. A flood of the Kaw River in 1844 wiped out the station, but he rebuilt it. William Quantrell burned it down in 1862, but he rebuilt it. Nothing exist or remains today of the station, but it was just north of 47th Street and Lakeview Road, where there is a new residential development by Don Julian Builders called Riverview.
In 1836, a saw mill and a grist mill was built for the Shawnee Indians on Mill Creek, thus giving the creek its name. By the 1850s, Kansas became a territory. A treaty with the Shawnee Indians gave each Shawnee male indian 200 acres of land. All unclaimed land was left open to pioneer settlers, like the Garrett family. On June 19, 1857, the town of Monticello was founded on 160 acres of unclaimed vacant land. Monticello is named after Thomas Jefferson’s home. The township was bordered by the Kaw River to the north, Ogg Road to the east, about 103rd Street to the south, and De Soto to the west. Of course, that included present day Greenview Ridge. Monticello Township covered about 42 square miles, or about 27,000 acres. Kansas became a state in January of 1861.
Before becoming a town, Monticello was a stage coach stop on the road from Westport, Missouri, to Lawrence, Kansas. It was called the Territorial Road. It was about halfway. The road ran east-west. It was also a stage coach stop on the military road from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Scott. It was called Midland Trail, since there was one route to the west of Monticello, and one trail to the east of Monticello. After crossing at the Chouteau Station, the road went to Monticello. This is why the shopping area on the southwest corner of Shawnee Mission Parkway and Monticello Road is called “Shawnee Crossings.” At that time, there were no railroads in the area. Steamboats routinely churned the waters of the mighty Kaw River, stopping at Choteau Station. And then the two trails or roads. That was it for transportation in the area.
Monticello contained several stores with a post office in the back of one store, a doctor, saloons, a blacksmith shop and a hotel. The hotel was burned during the Civil War by William Quantrell as a “practice raid” for his big raid on Lawrence in 1863. Early Monticello survived a destructive tornado, fire and a grasshopper plague. The town was located on present day 71st Street and Brockway, just east of K-7. By 1858, the town needed a constable since there were three killings in 1857. This was the wide-open frontier at the time. So, on March 22, 1858, the town hired one. Along with the job, the new sheriff was given 160 acres of land west of present day K-7 at 83rd Street and Clare Road. His name was James Butler Hickok, who later was called “Wild Bill.” Yes, he was THE Wild Bill Hickok. He was 20 years old at that time. He left Monticello about two years later to fame and fortune. It seems that he feel in love with a Shawnee indian girl who was very beautiful. Hickok’s family did not like it so they came and got him.
About 1,000 Shawnee Indians lived in Johnson County until the 1860s. During the Civil War, 73 Shawnee Indians formed Company C, 13th Regiment, Kansas Militia for the Union Army. After the war, in 1870, Thomas Nichols settled on his farm at present day 95th Street and K-7. Thomas was the grandfather of J. C. Nichols, founder of The Country Club Plaza. By the 1870s, Monticello had a population of about 1,100 people. Monticello remained the center of the area until 1874 when the Kansas Midland Railroad (later to become the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe or the Santa Fe Railroad) began laying out and building a railroad in the area. They bypassed Monticello to the east while passing through Olathe, ending Monticello’s hopes to become the county seat. This started the decline of Monticello as a town, but it continued to grow in closeness and strength as a community.
The post office closed in 1905. In 1886, Woodson McCoy, son of the founder of Westport, and the town of Kansas (later to become Kansas City, Kansas), developed Woodsonia Stock Farm. But the town of Monticello gradually grew smaller, and does not exist today, although several early buildings remain on the old town site, including a store, the old Township Hall and a water well used by early travelers at the stage coach stop. The nearby town of Shawnee thrived, though, as did the nearby town of Lenexa. In 1988 these two towns began the annexation of Monticello Township. Thus the area known as Monticello is now part of the city of Shawnee on the northern part and the city of Lenexa on the southern part. Therefore, the land that became Greenview Ridge is now a part of the city of Shawnee.