Historical Markers in
Sherman County, Kansas

The geographic center of the contiguous United States is located in a field near Belle Fourche, South Dakota, but a marker for it is located in a small town called Belle Plaine, Kansas.
Sherman County, located in the state of Kansas, has a rich history that dates back to the mid-19th century. The land was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Cheyenne and Arapaho, who used the area for hunting and as a vital trading route. In the 1850s, the U.S. government began negotiations with these tribes and eventually forced them to cede their lands, opening the area to settlement by European-American pioneers.

The first permanent settlers arrived in Sherman County in the late 1870s, drawn by the allure of the fertile farmland and vast grasslands. The county was officially established in 1886 and named after General William Tecumseh Sherman, a prominent Union general during the American Civil War. The arrival of the Kansas Pacific Railway in the early 1880s greatly accelerated the county's growth, as it provided a reliable transportation network for goods and people.

Agriculture quickly became the primary industry in Sherman County, with wheat being the leading crop. The county's fertile soil and favorable climate made it an ideal location for farming, attracting numerous settlers who sought to cultivate the land. The population of the county grew steadily, and by the early 20th century, it had become a thriving farming community.

Throughout its history, Sherman County has encountered its fair share of challenges. In the 1930s, the area was heavily affected by the Dust Bowl, a severe drought and wind erosion that devastated agriculture and caused widespread economic hardship. However, the county rebounded in the subsequent years, implementing effective soil conservation methods and diversifying its agricultural practices.

Today, Sherman County remains a predominantly agricultural community, with farming and ranching playing a vital role in its economy. The county has also embraced renewable energy, particularly wind power, as an additional source of income and sustainable development. With its rich history and resilient spirit, Sherman County continues to thrive and adapt to the ever-changing demands of the modern world.

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

  • 1873 - Sherman County is established as a county in Kansas
  • 1886 - The town of Goodland is founded as the county seat
  • 1902 - Agriculture becomes a major industry in Sherman County
  • 1912 - Sherman County High School is built in Goodland
  • 1930s - The Dust Bowl greatly affects the county's agricultural industry
  • 1936 - The Enlarged Homestead Act encourages settlement in Sherman County
  • 1945 - Sherman County Memorial Hospital is established in Goodland
  • 1961 - The construction of Interstate 70 through Sherman County begins
  • 2010 - The United States Census records a population of 6,010 in Sherman County