Abe & Jake’s Landing originally began as the Consolidated Barbed Wire Company in the late 1880′s. At its peak, over 300 men worked in the plant making it the largest employer in the state of Kansas. A steamboat landing also was stationed below the factory. Outside the factory, full-time fishermen made a living off the catfish that were plentiful in the river. The fish would feed off grain spilled by the grain elevator next to the barbed wire plant fattening them up to almost 150 pounds!
Abe and Jake’s Landing takes its name from Abe Burns and Jake Washington, two local fisherman who had a fishing cabin next to the barbed wire building. A sculpture in the building depicts the men holding two blue catfish they caught in their nets, weighing 92 and 110 pounds. Both of these fish exceed the current state record for being taken by rod and reel.
The building went through a variety of uses after the barbed wire business was sold around 1900. It was a paper factory for many years and then used for storage. In the 1980’s the building was semi-abandoned: the roof leaked, it had no windows, and the building was home to several hundred pigeons, two raccoons, and various transients. After ten years of hard work, the building was restored to its present condition and is currently on the state historical register.