Historical Markers in
Trego County, Kansas

The famous outlaw Jesse James was killed in St. Joseph, Missouri, which is just across the border from Kansas.
Trego County, Kansas, has a rich history that dates back to the mid-19th century. The county was established on February 26, 1867, and named after Edgar Poe Trego, a Union Army officer who was killed in the Civil War. Its early days were marked by pioneer settlers moving westward to claim land under the Homestead Act of 1862. These settlers faced numerous challenges, including harsh weather conditions and conflicts with Native American tribes.

By the 1870s, Trego County began to thrive as transportation routes, like the Butterfield Stagecoach Line, connected the county to other parts of the region. The arrival of the Kansas Pacific Railroad in 1879 further accelerated the county's growth, attracting more settlers and stimulating economic development. Agriculture played a key role in Trego County's economy, with farmers cultivating wheat, corn, and sorghum.

The county experienced a period of rapid growth in the early 20th century, with its population peaking in the 1920s. The discovery of oil in the county also had a significant impact. Oil drilling and production became a major industry, bringing wealth and job opportunities to the area. However, the Great Depression and subsequent decline in oil prices led to economic struggles in Trego County, affecting both residents and businesses.

In recent years, Trego County has focused on preserving its history and promoting tourism. The county boasts several historical sites, including the historic courthouse, which was built in 1888 and now serves as a museum. The annual Trego County Fair, established in 1887, continues to bring the community together for agricultural exhibitions, live entertainment, and other festivities. Today, Trego County remains a charming rural community that celebrates its past while striving for a prosperous future.

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

  • 1867 - Trego County is established and named after Edgar P. Trego, a Kansas soldier.
  • 1878 - The railroad reaches the county, bringing opportunities for growth and development.
  • 1887 - WaKeeney, the county seat, is officially incorporated and becomes a center of commerce.
  • 1892 - Agriculture becomes a prominent industry in Trego County, with farmers growing wheat and raising livestock.
  • 1905 - The Trego County Courthouse, a beautiful historic building, is completed.
  • 1920s - Oil is discovered in Trego County, leading to a boom in the local economy.
  • 1930s - The Great Depression takes a toll on the county, causing economic hardships for many residents.
  • 1950s - The construction of Interstate 70 brings improved transportation and connects Trego County to major cities.
  • 1960s - The county experiences a decline in population as many residents move to larger urban areas.
  • 1980s - Trego County focuses on promoting tourism and preserving its historic landmarks.
  • 1995 - The Trego County Historical Society is established to preserve the county's heritage.
  • 2000s - Trego County continues to be a rural community with a strong sense of history and community pride.