National Register Listing in
Ottawa County, Kansas

The famous abolitionist John Brown made a name for himself in Kansas during the Bleeding Kansas era by leading raids against pro-slavery settlers.
Ottawa County, Kansas, has a rich history that dates back to the pioneer era. The region was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Kansa and Pawnee. European settlers started arriving in the mid-1800s, attracted by the fertile soil and abundant wildlife.

In 1870, Ottawa County was officially established, named after the Ottawa tribe. The county's first town, Minneapolis, was founded in the same year. The town quickly grew, attracting settlers with its location along the Smoky Hill River and the Kansas Pacific Railway.

During this time, agriculture became the primary economic activity in Ottawa County. Wheat, corn, and livestock farming were the mainstay of the local economy, driven by the fertile soil and favorable climate. Grain elevators and mills sprang up, supporting the thriving farming industry.

The early 1900s brought further development to Ottawa County. Improved transportation infrastructure, including roads and railways, allowed for better connectivity to neighboring towns and cities. This stimulated economic growth and facilitated the transportation of goods and services. Over time, several other communities were established within the county, including Tescott and Bennington.

Today, Ottawa County remains an agricultural hub, with farming and ranching continuing to play a significant role in the local economy. The county also boasts a strong sense of community, with residents actively involved in preserving its historical and cultural heritage.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Ottawa County, Kansas.

  • 1855 - Ottawa County is formed as an original county in Kansas Territory.
  • 1861 - The first permanent white settlement is established in Ottawa County.
  • 1871 - Minneapolis becomes the county seat.
  • 1881 - The first railroad line is completed in the county, connecting Minneapolis to other areas.
  • 1889 - The first electric lights are installed in Minneapolis.
  • 1907 - The Ottawa County Courthouse is completed.
  • 1923 - The present-day courthouse is built to replace the previous one.
  • 1950-1960 - Ottawa County experiences a population decline due to changes in agriculture and farming practices.
  • 1990s - Ottawa County starts to focus on tourism, highlighting its natural beauty and recreational opportunities.