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The town of Cunningham was first named Ninnescah in honor of the nearby river, and by 1885 there were several buildings, including a hotel, two stores, and a church.
The Kingman, Pratt, & Western Railroad Company had built a railroad line to the north of Ninnescah in early 1887. A tornado demolished the town on March 24, 1887, and the residents decided to rebuild the town north of the tracks. The new town was named Cunningham in honor of Colonel James D. Cunningham who was a director and surveyor for the railroad. The post office also changed its name to Cunningham.
The ethnicity of its settlers is not known.
"Kingman County History: Kingman County, Kansas and Its People." Kingman, KS: Kingman County Historical Society, 1984.
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