Since most structures still standing in Derby date back only a few decades, planning Derby’s sesquicentennial celebration in 2019 prompted discussions about how best to tell Derby’s story. A committee of dedicated volunteers and city staff determined landmark signs would be the best way to commemorate Derby’s origin as a farming community of people who value family and faith (1869-1949) to its boomtown period (1950-1979) of building homes and schools, its suburban growth (1980-1999) with parks and a cutting-edge recreation commission, and finally to its coming of age as a regional center (2000-2019) with shopping and services to meet most community needs.
Seven locations were chosen as a result of this work, and all landmarks are now in place and ready for viewing by residents and visitors. Download a map at Derby150.com to conduct your own private tour or take your scout troop, 4-H club or your family. Each sign is wheelchair accessible, and at this website, you can get a glimpse of each sign and read the story told by each sign.
Landmarks include (1) Arkansas River Crossing, located at Warren Riverview Park, 321 W. Market; (2) El Paso Business District, located at the Derby Police Department, 229 N. Baltimore; (3) Smith Farm & St. Mary School, located at Madison Avenue Central Park, 512 E. Madison Ave.; (4) Derby Public School & Museum, located at the Derby Historical Museum, 710 E. Market; (5) Lauber Farm & Silo, located just north of Riley Park (east side of Brookwood St. near Redwood St.); (6) El Paso Cemetery, 700 E. Kay St. (southeast corner near Woodlawn & Kay); and (7) Garrett Homestead, located at Garrett Park, 1100 E. Chet Smith.
Will you join us for a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, October 9 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Derby Historical Museum, 710 E. Market? A time capsule will be on display at the Derby Historical Museum beginning October 9. This time capsule contains a variety of items from our 150th celebration as well as modern-day items that will be historical in 50 years when the time capsule is opened. A narrated bus tour of the landmarks will be available, or you can drive yourself around to get a thorough education about Derby’s first 150 years.
The 150th celebration has been an exciting time to embrace Derby’s history. I have learned many new things about Derby throughout the process and can’t wait to see what Derby’s future holds.