The Oregon Trail crossed Pottawatomie County and passed the south of Westmoreland. Westmoreland was a rest stop for travelers drawn to the area for a natural spring which offered a fresh supply of water. Since this area along the trail was so frequently used, ruts from the early wagon trains can still be seen today.
In 1856, John McKimens came to the area and in 1858 established the first post office. He named this in honor of his native county, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania. The post office was located in his home at Rock Creek Crossing.
The first house built in Westmoreland was a log structure erected in 1860 and stood at the southeast end of town. In the winter of 1862, the first school was established, and the building used for the school was a log cabin which stood near the corner of State Street and Highway 99. This school served several townships, yet there were no clear boundaries for the school district.
In 1870, a sawmill on Rock Creek provided lumber for most of the early buildings in the area. It was later sold and machinery was added for making flour and meal. That same year a general store was opened and the official county surveyor drafted the original town plat in April 1871.
After several years of heated battles over the location of the county seat, Westmoreland was declared the county seat and the county officers were temporarily quartered in two churches and the Detro House Hotel. The county treasurer, county clerk, district clerk and register of deeds were located in the Methodist Church. Later in the fall, a temporary courthouse was erected which later became the LaPierre Hotel.
By the end of 1883, Westmoreland had 3 hotels, a meat market, livery barn, 2 doctors, 5 lawyers, a bakery, shoemaker, blacksmith, drugstore, coal and lumber yard, grocery, 2 general stores and a hardware store. The bank was established shortly after. This economic prosperity did not last and the boom was over in a few short years.
In order to keep the county seat in Westmoreland, residents rallied to generate $10,000 to build the courthouse. The courthouse, built out of native limestone, was used as the county courthouse until the completion of a new justice center in 2013. This new structure is loacted directly behind the historic limestone courthouse. A memorial to those who served in the armed services from Pottawatomie County may be found on the grounds of the original courthouse, located at the corner of Main and 2nd Street.
A rich history of hard working neighbors and friends.