Coffeyville is a city situated along the Verdigris River in the southeastern part of Montgomery County, located in Southeast Kansas, in the Central United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 10,295. It is the most populous city of Montgomery County and with its southeast Kansas location is located in the Tulsa, Oklahoma media market. The town of South Coffeyville, Oklahoma is located approximately 1 mile south of the city, existing as a separate political entity immediately south of the state line. The city of Coffeyville should not be confused with Coffey County.
Founded in 1869 as an Indian trading post by Col. James A. Coffey, serving the population across the Oklahoma border in what was then the Indian Territory, the town was confirmed and expanded by the arrival of the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston Railroad in 1871. With the arrival of the railroad, a young surveyor, Napoleon B. Blanton, was dispatched to lay out the town. The naming of the town was left to the toss of a coin between Col. Coffey and U.S. Army Captain Blanton. Blanton lost the toss and the town was officially named Coffeyville.
Incorporated in 1872, the charter was voided, and the city was re-incorporated in March 1873.
Coffeyville's most famous moment may have been the end of the Dalton Gang: on October 5, 1892, four of the gang were killed while Emmett Dalton survived with 23 gunshot wounds and was imprisoned for 14 years before being pardoned. They had been attempting to rob two banks, First National Bank and Condon Bank, at once when the citizens recognized them under the fake beards they were wearing and fought them after coming out of one of the banks. The two banks at the time of the attempted robbery were directly across the street from one another. Four citizens, including a U.S. marshal, Marshal Charles T. Connelly, died in defense of the town. The town holds an annual celebration each October in remembrance of the Dalton Raid and the lives its citizens lost.
Coffeyville enjoyed rapid growth after the discovery of plentiful natural gas and abundant clay and was from the turn of the century to the 1930s one of the largest glass and brick manufacturing centers in the nation. During this same period, the development of oil production in the area prompted the establishment of several oil field equipment manufacturers.
Coffeyville industrialist Douglas Brown founded Coffeyville Multiscope, which produced components of the Norden bombsight which played a determining role in the perfection of precision day light bombing during World War II as a result of the bombsight's advanced accuracy and drift correction capability.
In 1930 Coffeyville had an organized LDS Sunday School, one of only 11 places in Kansas to have such at that point.
On July 1, 2007, there was a major flood in Coffeyville which crested 10 feet above flood stage and flooded approximately a third of the city. The flood topped the local refinery, Coffeyville Resources LLC levees by 4 feet, which allowed oil to pollute the water. Approximately 71,000 gallons of crude oil mingled with the already contaminated flood waters. The EPA was reportedly on site trying to prevent the oil and flood water mix from continuing downriver, where it could damage the water in Oologah Lake near Oologah, Oklahoma. Many Oklahomans get their water from the Verdigris River or Oologah Lake. Last reports show a minimal amount of oil reached Oolagah Lake, but it did not pose a threat to the water supplies of other cities along the Verdigris River or from the lake. A number of animals have been found dead or injured in flood areas covered with oil. By July 2, areas east of Patterson Street in Coffeyville were off limits and a curfew was enacted in other areas of the city. On July 3, the city lost its supply of potable water, but the water service had been restored and the order to boil water was rescinded on July 7. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Red Cross were on hand and the area was declared a federal disaster area. Most displaced residents found shelter with family and friends, but many were sheltered in two area churches and a senior citizens' apartment complex. Some pets were rescued to a temporary animal shelter built for them at LeClere Park. The flooded area on the city's east side was reopened on July 11 for residents and business owners to begin assessing damage and to retrieve salvageable items.
In order to focus on the post-flood recovery and clean-up, the 2007 Inter-State Fair & Rodeo was canceled. The ongoing flood recovery included a wholesale environmental remediation of the flood effected eastern portion of the city ending in late 2008 to early 2009. Many of the flood damaged homes were purchased by Coffeyville Resources LLC as a part of their attempt to compensate the affected homeowners.