The first town to be built west of Garnett on the new route of the St. Louis, Kansas & Arizona railroad when it was laid in 1879 was Oneida.
On October 11 of that year a town company was formed for the purpose of establishing a town along the railroad and the site chosen was on the farm of Dr. E. J. Broomhall, an early settler of this vicinity, on the west line of Washington Township.
The charter members of the town company were 0. F. Garrison, president, W. A.Johnson, F. M. Shaw, E. S. Hunt, W. H. Conover, F. G. Barber and J. Broomhall. The charter of the company was filed on October 14. The railway company surveyed the site and the plat of the new town was filed in March, 1880.
The name, Oneida, was given to the town by two of Dr. Broomhall's daughters, and it served very well until a post office was established therein December, 1880. When the name was placed on record it was discovered that another town in Kansas was already designated by that name.Consequently, the name of the town located on Dr. Broomhall's farm was changed to Mont Ida, for one of his daughters and a relative.
Frank Gray, who was one of the town's first settlers, opened the first store there about this time, and became the first postmaster of the Mont Ida office. Dr. J. B. Jones moved the first drug store from Central City soon after the platting of Mont Ida. On May 13, 1881, Mont Ida became a telegraph station, the operator taking charge upon that date. By September of that year Mont Ida had several business firms. Gray conducted the store and Stoner the blacksmith shop. There were two hay presses, one managed by William Parkinson, and the other by John W. Campbell.
By the summer of 1883 these additional business firms had been opened up in Mont Ida: Graves Brothers had the hay press, J. L. Lesh, hardware and implement store, Jones and Deaton, the drugstore, J. H. Boscow and A. Sybertz, both in general merchandise stores. J. A. Stoner by this time ran the hotel and Dr. J. B. Jones was the practicing physician.
The Mont Ida State Bank was established in1911 and opened for business in August of that year. The first day's deposits totaled $800. The officers of the bank at this time were J. W.Osborn, H. M. Osborn and F. A. Dalrymple. This bank was liquidated shortly after the death of J. W. Becker, cashier, in 1933.
The first church, of the Methodist Episcopal faith, was erected in 1885, and bi-monthly services are still held by this denomination. The Church of the Brethren was built in 1889 and burned to the ground in the early morning of July 31, 1922. The Presbyterian Church was erected at Mont Ida about 1882 and was used for many years. Finally services were discontinued.
Aside from the business of the town the Missouri Pacific railroad has built a coal chute, a dam across Cedar Creek, built in 1923 to impound water for the use of the railroad, and earlier a lake just east of the station, also for the use of the railroad. This lake, made shortly after the railroad was laid through that section, was finally drained, although it was used for many years as a reservoir and fish preserve.
Mont Ida is now but a village on the prairie of western Washington Township.
It is no longer an incorporated town, and lays little claim to fame except by the loyalty for the community of its one hundred and twenty-five citizens.