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Englersville Cycle?

If history had taken a different turn in Kansas City.

Knobtown Cycle, a well-known motorcycle shop in Kansas City, Missouri, has become a local institution over the years. With its unique name and reputation for quality workmanship, it’s hard to imagine it being called anything else. However, if history had taken a different turn, it’s entirely possible that Knobtown Cycle might have been named Englersville Cycle instead.

Englersville Cycle, Englersville Cycle?, Knobtown Cycle

Englersville Cycle, in honor of the town’s original name. While it’s hard to say for sure, given that the name Knobtown has become so ingrained in local lore, it’s possible that Englersville Cycle might not have had quite the same ring to it. But then again, who knows? With the right marketing and branding, any name can become a household name.

To understand why this is, we need to delve into the history of Knobtown, Missouri, and the man for whom it was named. Knobtown was founded in the early 19th century, and by the mid-1800s, it had become a bustling little community with its own post office, school, and general store. However, it wasn’t until the late 1800s that Knobtown received its name.

A merchant named Charlie Engler built a general store in about 1897, east of where U. S. 350 now crosses the Little Blue River.  According to local lore, the town’s name is derived from an incident that occurred in the basement of his store in the late 1800s when Charlie was found hanging from a doorknob.

Engler’s body was found on the basement stairs of the store. His suspenders were wound around his neck and the knob of the basement door. Robbery was a possible motive, but the death was ruled a suicide, even though Engler left no suicide note.

The incident caused quite a stir in the town and the surrounding areas, and it was soon after that the town became known as Knobtown. The name stuck, and the town has been called Knobtown ever since.

This scenario raises an interesting question: would the name Englersville Cycle have had the same impact as Knobtown Cycle? Would it have been as memorable and evocative? It is impossible to say for certain, but it seems likely that Englersville Cycle would not have been as catchy and easy to remember as Knobtown Cycle.

If Charlie Engler had lived, who knows what might have happened? Perhaps the town would have grown into a bustling metropolis, or maybe it would have remained a quiet backwater. Either way, the legacy of Charlie Engler and the town that bears his name lives on.  In the end, the history of Knobtown, Missouri, and the naming of Knobtown Cycle are just two small examples of how the course of history can be influenced by seemingly insignificant events.

Knobtown was annexed into Kansas City in 1961.