Argonia was founded in 1881 and incorporated in 1885. A young lawyer from Wellington Alfred E. Parker proposed the town’s name after the Argonauts, a group of heroes in Greek mythology whose mission is to find the legendary Golden Fleece.
The construction of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in 1879 contributed to the growth of Argonia, both in terms of population and commerce. A Town Company was organized, and lots in the business section of town were given to all who would build to a value of $100 upon them. Lots were also given to residents at first.
From mills to grocery stores, many other businesses had opened their doors. Argonia also boasted a dressmaker, a blacksmith, an auctioneer, and a grain dealer. A restaurant also opened about this time. Wooden sidewalks were built in front of the stores, and several businessmen put up awnings.
More people settled between 1885 and 1886 after the Missouri Pacific built tracks through the town, bringing the town population to approximately 800 by 1886. Mr. and Mrs. L.A. Salter were among those who came during this period. Susanna Madora Salter would later become the first woman to win a political seat in the US.
The people of Argonia built a depot and donated its use to the railroad. They borrowed money in their own names and built a mill. Unfortunately, the mill was burned down before the machinery was placed inside. It was replaced by a school which was used for classes, religious services, and other community events.