Tonganoxie was platted in 1866, and as a rarity in those times, was founded by a woman, Magdalena Bury, who, just as rare, operated a saloon at this time. As a usual practice, the town was going to be named “Buryville,” but she insisted it be named for a chief of the Delaware tribe that once occupied land throughout what is now Leavenworth County and western Wyandotte County. Chief Tonge-Noxie’s name means “shorty” in the Delaware language. When the Delaware relocated to Oklahoma, local immigrants and friends of Chief Tonge-Noxie honored him by naming the settlement after him, later changing it to its current spelling.
The first hotel was built in 1868. Between 1867 and 1900 fifteen hotels were built throughout Tonganoxie. During times of flooding it was often impossible for travelers to make it between Leavenworth and Lawrence, and Tonganoxie provided refuge.
Tonganoxie is 25 minutes from downtown Kansas City, 15 minutes from Lawrence and the University of Kansas, and 40 minutes from Topeka, the capital of Kansas. Easy transportation access on US 24-40 Highway and just three miles north of Interstate 70, commercial and freight air transportation is conveniently available at Kansas City International Airport about 30 minutes away.
Locals enjoy all major metropolitan services and amenities with hometown atmosphere, and spectacularly scenic countryside! It is no wonder that Tonganoxie has nearly doubled in size since 2000.