Where many diverse cultures and customs have fused together to form a cherished heritage, rich in tradition.

Frontenac, established in 1886, was a typical example of a “boom town”.  It, like many other small towns at that time, sprang up almost overnight due to the discovery of rich coal deposits and the establishment of the Santa Fe Railroad.  With the sinking of Santa Fe Mine #1., worldwide advertising for immigrants to settle and mine this area led to an influx of people from Italy, Austria, Germany, France, Ireland, England, Belgium, Wales, Mexico, Sweden, Scotland, Norway, Hungary, Holland, Greece, Syria, and Canada.

 

The coal mines in and around Frontenac continued to prosper, on November 9, 1888, Frontenac had a tragic mine explosion that took the lives of forty-four men in boys which went on to be the worst coal mining disaster in the State of Kansas.  Coal mining was a very dangerous and labor-intensive job, many miners worked in areas with ceilings no more than four feet high.  Cave-ins, falling rocks, accidental explosions, and poison gases posed threats to miners’ lives every day. Despite the dangers, the Frontenac mines were so successful that they produced one fifth of all the coal in Kansas and in the year 1915, shipped more than 45,600 train carloads of coal from our rail lines.

 

As huge waves of immigrants arrived, the productiveness of the mines kept the population of Frontenac growing.  Citizens elected James S. Patton as the first mayor of Frontenac and the first city council was established.  This was a busy time for city officials as they were laying the groundwork for our town.  Soon our town established our City Hall, Police and Fire departments.

 

With 21 nationalities being present in Frontenac’s early years, immigrants created fraternal organizations and lodges which allowed them to speak their native languages and celebrate their culture and customs all while being proud American citizens. Early Frontenac’rs enjoyed outdoor activities such as soccer, baseball, boxing, and bocci ball which brought the townspeople together despite their differences.

 

The men and women who established our town possessed a unique, blend of self-reliance, fortitude, and grit- part of a colorful collective of diverse cultures, traditions, and customs, bound together by hard work, and charity to others. Their legacy lives in the generations that followed and our heritage and traditions that are still celebrated today!