National Register Listings in
Barber County, Kansas

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Kansas is known as the "Wheat State" and is a major producer of wheat, as well as other crops like corn, soybeans, and sorghum.
Barber County, located in south-central Kansas, has a rich and diverse history that dates back thousands of years. Before European settlers arrived, the area was home to various Native American tribes, including the Apache, Comanche, and Osage. These tribes lived off the land, hunting buffalo and utilizing the resources of the region.

The first European explorers to venture into the area were Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century, but it wasn't until the mid-19th century that permanent settlement began. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 opened up the area for settlement, attracting pioneers and homesteaders seeking a fresh start. The region quickly became known for its fertile soil and abundant water sources, making it ideal for agriculture.

Barber County was officially established on February 26, 1867, and named after Thomas Barber, a prominent politician in the state. The county's population grew steadily as more settlers arrived, establishing towns and communities throughout the area. Many of the early settlers were cattle ranchers, taking advantage of the region's grasslands to raise their livestock.

The county's history is also marked by conflicts between settlers and Native American tribes. The Battle of Medicine Lodge, which took place in Barber County in 1867, was a significant event during the Indian Wars. It resulted in the signing of the Medicine Lodge Treaty, which aimed to bring peace between the tribes and the settlers.

Today, Barber County remains a thriving agricultural region, known for its cattle ranching and wheat farming. Its rich history can be seen in the many historic sites and landmarks scattered throughout the county, including the Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty Site and the Barber County Courthouse. The county is also a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for hunting, fishing, hiking, and exploring the natural beauty of the Kansas prairie.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Barber County, Kansas.

  • 1850s: Native American tribes such as the Kiowa, Comanche, and Cheyenne inhabit the area that would later become Barber County.
  • 1867: The Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty is signed in Barber County, marking the end of conflicts between Native Americans and settlers in the region.
  • 1874: Barber County is officially established and named after Thomas Barber, a Free State settler and militia colonel during the Civil War.
  • 1870s-1880s: The county experiences a significant influx of settlers, leading to the establishment of towns and the development of agriculture and ranching industries.
  • 1880: The Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railway is built through Barber County, promoting further growth and economic opportunities.
  • 1884: Medicine Lodge becomes the county seat after winning a contentious election against Kiowa.
  • Early 1900s: The county's economy thrives with the discovery of natural gas and oil reserves, leading to increased drilling and production activities.
  • 1930s: The Great Depression causes significant economic challenges for the county, resulting in decreased population and economic hardships.
  • 1947: The government-built Medicine Lodge Airport is opened, providing improved regional air transportation.
  • 1967: The historic Carry Nation's Home is added to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 1990s-2000s: The county experiences a decline in population due to changing economic conditions and the trend of rural depopulation.