Historical Marker in
Edwards County, Kansas

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The Kansas State Capitol building in Topeka features a famous mural called "Tragic Prelude" by John Steuart Curry, which depicts abolitionist John Brown and other figures from Kansas history.
Edwards County is a county located in the state of Kansas, United States. It was officially established on February 26, 1874, and named after the American Civil War governor of Kansas, John H. Edwards. The area that Edwards County encompasses was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache nations.

The county's history is closely tied to the development of the railroads in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway passed through Edwards County, providing a vital transportation link for both freight and passengers. This influx of transportation led to an increase in settlement within the county and the establishment of several towns, including Kinsley, the county seat.

Agriculture has played a significant role in the history of Edwards County. The fertile lands and favorable climate have made it an ideal location for farming and ranching. In the early years, the county's economy relied heavily on wheat production. However, as the years went by, other crops such as sorghum, soybeans, and corn became more prevalent. Cattle ranching also became a vital industry, and Edwards County is known for its rich traditions in cattle raising.

Throughout its history, Edwards County has faced challenges such as droughts and economic fluctuations. However, the resilient spirit of its residents has allowed the county to adapt and grow. Today, Edwards County continues to be a center for agriculture and ranching, while the small towns within its borders offer a glimpse into the county's rich history and culture.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Edwards County, Kansas.

  • 1874 - Edwards County is established on March 16, 1874, and named after W. C. Edwards, a settler and state senator.
  • 1876 - The town of Kinsley is founded as the county seat.
  • 1885 - The Edwards County Courthouse is built in Kinsley.
  • 1887 - The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway reaches Kinsley, boosting the town's growth and economy.
  • 1893 - A tornado causes significant damage to Kinsley, destroying many buildings.
  • 1904 - The Kinsley Airfield becomes the first public airport in Kansas.
  • 1913 - The population of Kinsley reaches its peak at around 2,500 residents.
  • 1933 - The Dust Bowl hits Edwards County, causing severe agricultural losses and economic hardship.
  • 1947 - The Kinsley Municipal Swimming Pool is opened to the public.
  • 1958 - The Kinsley-Offerle school district is formed by consolidating several smaller school districts.
  • 1975 - The Edwards County Historical Society is established to preserve the county's history.
  • 2002 - The Gunfighters Wax Museum opens in Kinsley, showcasing the history of the Wild West.