De Soto was first settled by families who bought land from John Possum, a Shawnee Indian. Shawnee Street, named after Possum, was the town?s original main street because it led down to the river and the ferry crossing. One of the town?s original landowners, Major James B. Abbott, was the builder of Abbott Hall, which today houses the town?s museum. In the 1940s, the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant was built, and De Soto experienced a boom, welcoming new arrivals from all over the country. Today, De Soto is ranked as sixth in the state in percentage of population growth over the past decade, and is home to almost 5,000 residents.
The city provides strong employment opportunities, with large employers like Applebee?s International and Sprint located in the county. It also takes pride in a stellar education system, continuing the tradition of strong education in Johnson County. The city?s school district, De Soto Unified School District, continues to experience strong test scores and top student honors. It is also extremely technologically savvy, and is soon introducing the use of laptops for students and a wireless system.
There are many excellent diversions in De Soto, including Miller Memorial Park, which includes walking trails and a city pool, Kill Creek Park, boasting 850 acres of hiking trails and an excellent fishing lake, and Sunflower Park, a 60-acre park with natural prairie grasses, a lake and walking trails. Residents will also soon enjoy a boat ramp on the Kansas River.
Golfers will also find plenty to do in De Soto, with two local courses, Burning Tree Golf Course and Oak Country Club. Burning Tree is a picturesque nine-hole course that challenges players of all levels. Oak Country Club is the city?s beautiful 18-hole course, and includes a signature ?Island Green.?
As part of the larger Kansas City metropolitan area, De Soto also provides ready access to world-class shopping, dining, entertainment and cultural opportunities. Whether you?re a big sports fan (catch the Kansas City Chiefs or the Royals!) or a lover of theatre, you will find memorable activities to fill your days!
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