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Ellis, Kan., Awarded Membership in Union Pacific's Train Town USA Registry

Ellis, Kan., has been awarded a membership in Union Pacific's Train Town USA Registry as part of the railroad's year-long 150th anniversary celebration.

Ellis received an official Train Town USA resolution signed by Union Pacific Chairman Jim Young, and Ellis' historical connection with Union Pacific will be featured at

"We are proud to recognize Ellis as we commemorate our railroad's sesquicentennial celebration and growing up together," said Ben Jones, Union Pacific director - Public Affairs for Kansas and Missouri. "Union Pacific has been part of the country's fabric throughout the railroad's 150-year history.  That bond between us and the nearly 7,300 communities we serve continues to strengthen.

"Our shared heritage with Ellis is a source of pride as we remember our past while serving and connecting our nation for years to come."

The main line track through Ellis was constructed by the Union Pacific Railroad Eastern Division in 1868. That same year the railroad's name was changed to Kansas and Pacific. 

Beginning in 1875 and for the next five years, Ellis was a shipping point for cattle herds driven up from the south.

It remained the Kansas Pacific until it was consolidated with the Union Pacific in 1880 and took that name again.

In the late 1800s, Wyatt Earp and Buffalo Bill Cody often were seen in town. John Henry, an UP train dispatcher in Ellis, invented the electric streetcar in 1882. Early Ellis residents Walter and Roy Cross developed the "Cross Process," a method of converting kerosene, natural gas, oil or fuel oil into gasoline that was used widely across the country. Walter P. Chrysler, who grew up in Ellis and learned about mechanical repair and machinery in the Ellis Union Pacific shop, used this knowledge to found the automotive giant, the Chrysler Corporation. Walt Disney, the late producer-animator and founder of the Walt Disney Studios, also had connections to Ellis. President Theodore Roosevelt made a "Whistlestop" in Ellis during his presidential campaign.

The local sports teams are known as the "Railroaders."