G.B. Shaw and Company was the first business in Argonia. The company sold lumber, coal and lime. In addition they bought wheat and corn. By 1884 many other businesses had opened their doors. Argonia had a mill, several grocery stores, a small drug store, a furniture store, a meat market and harness shop. Argonia also boasted a milliner and dress maker, a blacksmith, an auctioneer and grain dealer. The town’s carpenter first job was building the city hotel. There were hardware stores and an implement dealer in town. A restaurant also opened about this time. Wooden sidewalks were built in front of the stores and several businessmen put up awnings. The people of Argonia built a depot (above at right) and donated its use to the railroad. They borrowed money in their own names and built a mill. After it was finished, the town held an all-day religious service. To their great disappointment the mill burned before the machinery was placed inside. A sod school was built. It was used for classes and for religious services and other community events.
Argonia, incorporated in 1885, was named for the Argonauts of Greek legend, a band of heroes with whom Jason set out to fetch the Golden Fleece in the ship Argo. Alfred E. Parker, a young lawyer from Wellington, whose father was a member of the Town Company, proposed the name Argonia. In the winter of 1885 and 1886, the Missouri Pacific built tracks through town, bringing more people to settle. Records show that in 1886, Argonia was home to approximately 800 people.
In 1933 a bronze plaque, given by the Woman’s Kansas Day Club, was unveiled in Argonia in honor of the “First Woman Mayor in the United States.” Mrs. Salter was the guest of honor for the ceremony. The plaque was mounted and placed in front of the old township hall. Later it was moved and placed in front of the Salter House museum.