National Register Listings in
Rawlins County, Kansas

The first woman mayor in the United States, Susanna Salter, was elected in Argonia, Kansas in 1887.
Rawlins County, Kansas is located in the northwest corner of the state and has a rich history dating back to the 19th century. It was originally home to Native American tribes, such as the Pawnee and the Kiowa, who lived off the land and thrived in the bountiful natural resources of the area.

The first European settlers arrived in the 1870s, drawn by the promise of fertile land and the opportunity to establish a new life. The county was officially organized in 1873 and named after Governor John A. Rawlins, who served as the Secretary of War during the Civil War. The early years were marked by the establishment of small communities and the development of agriculture, with many settlers engaging in farming and cattle ranching.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Rawlins County experienced a period of growth and prosperity. Small towns sprang up, including Atwood, the county seat, and McDonald, which became an important railroad junction. The railroad played a vital role in the county's development, connecting it to larger cities and facilitating the transportation of goods and people.

The Great Depression of the 1930s, followed by the Dust Bowl, had a profound impact on Rawlins County. Like many rural areas, the county suffered from economic hardship and environmental challenges. However, the resilient spirit of the residents allowed them to persevere, and they adapted to the changing times by diversifying their agricultural practices and embracing new technologies.

Today, Rawlins County continues to be an agricultural community, with farming and ranching as the primary industries. The county is also known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities, attracting visitors who appreciate its scenic landscapes and peaceful atmosphere. Despite the challenges of the past, Rawlins County remains a vibrant and resilient community that takes pride in its history and heritage.

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

  • 1800s: Rawlins County was inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Sioux and Cheyenne.
  • 1850s: European settlers began to arrive in the area, attracted by the available land for farming and ranching.
  • 1873: Rawlins County was officially established by the Kansas Legislature, named after General John A. Rawlins, who was the Secretary of War under President Ulysses S. Grant.
  • 1880: The town of Atwood was founded as the county seat.
  • Late 1800s: The region saw rapid growth with an influx of settlers and the establishment of various businesses and schools.
  • Early 1900s: Rawlins County experienced growth in agriculture, especially wheat farming.
  • 1930s: The Dust Bowl hit Rawlins County, causing significant damage to crops and forcing many families to leave the area.
  • 1940s: The county's economy began to recover with the introduction of new farming techniques and government assistance programs.
  • 1960s: Rawlins County focused on improving infrastructure, including the construction of highways and improved irrigation systems.
  • 1990s: The county experienced a decline in population as agriculture became more mechanized, leading to consolidation of farms.
  • Present: Rawlins County continues to be primarily rural, with farming and ranching as the main industries. It also offers various recreational opportunities, including hunting and fishing.