National Register Listings in
Wichita 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.
Wichita County, located in the state of Kansas, has a rich history dating back thousands of years. Before the arrival of European settlers, the region was inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Wichita and Kiowa tribes. These tribes relied on hunting, gathering, and agricultural practices to sustain their way of life.

In the 19th century, the area that is now Wichita County became part of the expanding United States. The 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act opened up the region for settlement. The first permanent European settlers arrived in the late 1870s, primarily engaging in ranching and agriculture. The county was officially organized in 1887 and named after the Wichita tribe.

The early years of Wichita County were marked by the development of communities and the establishment of infrastructure. Towns such as Leoti, the county seat, began to thrive, drawing in settlers and businesses. The county's agricultural industry played a vital role in its growth, with wheat and cattle becoming important economic resources.

Throughout the 20th century, Wichita County continued to evolve. Various technological advancements, such as improved farming methods and transportation systems, further boosted the county's economy. The population grew steadily, and new industries, such as oil and gas production, contributed to its development.

Today, Wichita County remains a primarily rural area with a strong agricultural presence. Its history, shaped by Native American culture, European settlement, and economic development, continues to be a source of pride for its residents. The county's rich heritage is honored and celebrated through various cultural and historical institutions, preserving the memory of its past for future generations.

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

  • 1867: Wichita County was established on February 26.
  • 1873: The first post office, called Wichita, was opened on September 25.
  • 1886: Leoti became the county seat of Wichita County.
  • 1890: The population of Wichita County was 2,432.
  • 1900: The population increased to 3,547.
  • 1916: Wichita County High School was established.
  • 1929: The Dust Bowl years hit Wichita County, causing severe crop damage.
  • 1950: The population peaked at 10,787.
  • 1970: The population declined to 5,999.
  • 1991: The first female county commissioner, Marianne Emery, was elected.
  • 2000: The population of Wichita County dropped to 2,531.
  • 2010: The population slightly increased to 2,234.