Town of El Paso / City of Derby
In the early spring of 1869, the Alexander Garrett family brought their covered wagon to a stop on the bank of Spring Creek after traveling from north of Salina, Kansas. They took out a claim and later built a sod house, and that’s where the city known today as Derby began.
The town was formally founded by J. Hout Minnich and John Hufbauer when they filed a plat on July 11, 1871. The two neighbors each committed 40 acres of their own land to dedicate to the creation of the town. Hufbauer was originally from an area near El Paso, Illinois and decided the new town should bear the name El Paso.
By 1880, the railroad had pushed farther south, and the mail for El Paso, Kan. and El Paso, Texas was constantly mixed up. To ease this problem, the railroad depot was named Derby, after one of the railroad officials, C.F. Derby. Gradually, residents began to call the town Derby.
However when Derby was ready to be declared a city, they could not be incorporated under the name Derby. All records with Sedgwick county still listed the town as El Paso. The town of about 300 was formally incorporated on June 1, 1903 as a city of the third class, with a mayor-council form of government.The mayor and five council members were elected every other year at large, meaning they served the entire city. No wards existed for the City of El Paso at this time.
It was not until August 10, 1956 that the name was officially changed from El Paso to Derby. A petition to officially change the city's name from El Paso to Derby was submitted to the district court of Sedgwick County with 938 signatures. The law required the petition to have two-thirds of the voting age residents on it.
In 1957 when Derby became a city of the second class and redistricting became mandatory, four wards were established with two council members elected from each ward. One set of council members were elected to a one year term and the other set to a two year term. The mayor made all appointments for city offices other than police judge and council members with approval by the council. By 1959, the governing body appointed a city clerk who functioned as the city's highest official on staff. The first city manager was appointed in 1981. In 1983 a charter ordinance changed the terms for mayor and council members from two years to four years.
A city is eligible to become a city of the first class when its population is between 15,000 and 25,000. The transition is mandatory once 25,000 is reached and Derby was near that at 24,943 in July 2019. On November 11, 2020, Derby became a City of the First Class with an official proclamation by Kansas Governor Laura Kelly.