1980 – 1990

New Schools & Landmarks Shape Olathe

Prairie Center and Tomahawk Elementary Schools were being planned and Olathe South High School was under construction in 1980. Milgram’s opened a grocery store in Town Square Shopping Center. The Juvenile Detention Center was dedicated. Crossroads Shopping Center opened in the spring. Frontier Park and Oregon Trail Park came into being. A controversial commercial sign law was drafted. Heritage Park, southeast of Olathe, was planned. Jack Nicklaus announced plans for a 3,100-acre golf course and residential development northwest of Olathe.

In 1981 the Olathe population was 37,258 and 270,269 in Johnson County. Good Samaritan Towers, a senior high-rise apartment building, opened in January. North Supply began a $36 million building at the Industrial Airport. Olathe High School graduated its last class of students. Classes would begin in two schools in the fall. A strike by air traffic controllers affected the Olathe FAA Center.

In 1982, business slowdowns caused layoffs in Olathe industries. A bandstand sponsored by the Olathe Arts Council was built on the Courthouse lawn. Plans for a new county jail to be constructed on the former site of the Olathe City Hall began. The Holiday Inn broke ground at US-169 and I-35. Wal-Mart selected a site to build a store at Santa Fe and Mur-Len.

The Trail Theater closed in 1984 to make way for the renovation of the Park Cherry Building. The first phase of Northgate access road system was approved in 1985.

Other landmarks of the ‘80s are:

  • Construction of the Olathe Medical Center at 151st and I-35
  • A change of government to a ward system of representation
  • Completion of the Northgate roadway linking downtown to K-10
  • Commercial, industrial and residential development along 151st from US-169 to the Executive Airport
  • Development of Cedar Creek
  • Razing of the commercial buildings on the square, which included the 1859 Case Building.