Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad
Copyright © 2011-
When he came to the United States in February, 1855, and located at West Bend in Washington County, Wisconsin, the best opening for him was as a carpenter's helper, and he thoroughly learned the carpenter trade and assisted in the building of several sawmills. The family moved to Leavenworth, KS in 1857. He was a territorial pioneer of Kansas. During his early years in Kansas he was known as a hard working carpenter and an honest and straightforward young mechanic. The promise of his large success was hardly appreciated by any of his contemporaries at that time. The family then moved to Dickinson County and selected homesteads nine miles south of Abilene.
Christian Hoffman secured the water power rights at Louden Falls on the Smoky Hill River in 1868, and had his flour mill in operation at that location by the following year. He had the distinction of building and putting in operation the second flour mill in Kansas erected west of the City of Junction City. It was an old fashioned grist mill with a capacity of sixty barrels a day and it was operated entirely by water power. It was a big mill for the time.
As has happened in so many other cases, the mill naturally became the center of a town. One of Mr. Hoffman's workmen suggested a name for the village which would typify the spirit of the founder, and from that day to this, Enterprise has been on the map and its growth and development have well justified the choice of the name.
As years went by Enterprise became one of the prominent seats of the flour milling industry in Kansas. The old mill, operated by water power and with a capacity of only sixty barrels a day, was supplanted by new mills, new machinery, and new processes from time to time. By around 1908 the Hoffman mill was grinding 1,200 barrels of flour per day and the flour was being marketed in most every state of the Union.
CHRISTIAN HOFFMAN. (Born Aug. 1, 1826, in Switzerland; died Feb. 26, 1921, in Enterprise, KS) While Kansas has produced many notable business men, the success of none of them has more perfectly represented the outflow of integrity of character and a tireless energy and good judgment than that achieved by Christian Hoffman, founder of the City of Enterprise in Dickinson County and the founder and builder of a milling and elevator industry which, until it was merged with other similar enterprises, was one of the largest in the entire State of Kansas.