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Kansas Counties » Cloud - Dickinson

Cloud County

  • County Seat: Concordia
  • County Code: CD
  • Established: February 27, 1860
  • Organized: March 27, 1867
  • Region in Kansas: North Central

Origin of Name: Colonel William F. Cloud of the 2nd Regiment, Kansas Volunteers.

Did you know?

  • Originally established as Shirley County in 1860, the name was changed to Cloud County in 1866.
  • The longest sculpted-brick mural in the U.S. is located on the east wall of the Cloud County Museum Annex in Concordia.
  • Concordia distinguishes itself as The Stained Glass Capital of Kansas.
  • The 1907 Brown Grand Theatre in Concordia has been called the most elegant theatre between Kansas City and Denver. The restored theatre is reportedly home to Earl, its resident ghost.
  • Thomas "Boston" Corbett, the purported killer of Abraham Lincoln's assassin John Wilkes Booth, lived in Cloud County from 1878 to 1887. Corbett once "adjourned" the Kansas House of Representatives at gunpoint.
  • From 1943 to 1945 more than 4,000 prisoners of war (POWs) lived at Camp Concordia just two miles north of the county seat.
  • Concordia is home to the National Orphan Train Museum, where visitors can learn how more than 250,000 orphaned or abandoned children from New York were taken on trains to new homes all over the United States.
  • The town of Clyde has held a watermelon festival in early September every year since 1899. The festival began when watermelons were a choice crop on sandy river bottom land and could be easily shipped by rail.
Boston Corbett image
Thomas "Boston" Corbett
Photo courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society

Coffey County

  • County Seat: Burlington
  • County Code: CF
  • Established: August 25, 1855
  • Organized: February 17, 1857
  • Region in Kansas: East Central

Origin of Name: Colonel A.M. Coffey, a member of the first Territorial Legislative Council and a free-stater during Bleeding Kansas.

Did you know?

  • Coffey County was one of the 33 original Kansas Territory counties created by the first act to establish counties passed by the first Territorial Legislature of 1855.
  • The first Coffey County Fair was held in 1868 and is considered the state's oldest annual continuous county fair.
  • In 1910 the town of Gridley was designated as the largest hay-shipping center in the world. It was so proclaimed in geography books of the day.
  • Coffey County is home to Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Plant, commissioned in June 1985.
  • Coffey County Lake has been called the crown jewel of Kansas fisheries. A 5'3" alligator was snagged in the lake in 2010.
  • A portion of the Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge is located in northwestern Coffey County.

Notable Residents:

Olive Ann Beech, Arthur M. Ferguson

Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Plant image
Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Plant
Photo courtesy of

Comanche County

  • County Seat: Coldwater
  • County Code: CM
  • Established: February 26, 1867
  • Organized: February 27, 1885
  • Region in Kansas: South Central

Origin of Name: The Comanche Indian tribe.

Did you know?

  • Comanche County was first politically organized in 1873, but this was fraudulently done. Bogus records showed a population in the county when in fact none existed. The creation of a false population allowed the Legislature to organize the county and float bonds. The attorney general investigated and declared there was no population. Even so, the Legislature declared a legal government had issued the fraudulent bonds, and this held the county back from any funding for improvements. In the Legislature of 1874 the county was represented even though it had no population. On February 27, 1885, the county was reorganized and lawsuits were begun against those holding the original bonds. It was not until 1941 that the bonds were completely retired.
  • The Gypsum Hills Scenic Byway runs through Comanche County.
  • The Kansas Speleological Society has catalogued at least 128 caves in Comanche County.
  • Coldwater Lake, a 250 acre man-made lake in a 930 acre park in the town of Coldwater is the only city, county, or state lake in southwest Kansas that permits water-relate sports. It is utilized by people from a large area of Kansas and Oklahoma.

Notable Residents:

Stan Herd

Gypsum Hills Scenic Byway image
Gypsum Hills Scenic Byway
Photo courtesy of

Cowley County

  • County Seat: Winfield
  • County Code: CL
  • Established: February 26, 1867
  • Organized: February 28, 1870
  • Region in Kansas: Southeast

Origin of Name: Matthew Cowley, a 1st Lieutenant in Company I, 9th Kansas Cavalry, who died in the service at Little Rock, Arkansas, October 7, 1864.

Did you know?

  • On May 25, 1955, the deadliest tornado ever to hit Kansas struck Udall. No building within the city limits was untouched, including the grain elevator and water tower. Seventy-seven people lost their lives and another 270 were injured.
  • Kansas Governor Robert Docking (1967-1975), the first Kansas governor to serve consecutive four-year terms in office, lived in Arkansas City.
  • In 1903 helium was discovered in Dexter. A canister of natural gas was sent to the University of Kansas for testing, where it was discovered that the natural gas contained about 2 percent helium. The importance of this gas was not realized until several years later during World War I. The building in which the discovery was made, Bailey Hall, was deemed a National Historic Chemical Landmark by the American Chemical Society.
  • Cambridge is home to the Cambridge Public Emergency Radio Tower that was one of two former emergency transmission facilities built during the Cold War to be activated in anticipation of a nuclear attack. The other tower was built in Ault, Colorado. The emergency towers were never used.
  • Cowley County has 18 stone arch bridges. Built by German and Russian artisans from 1890 to 1917, the stone bridges range from one to three arches.
  • Every year in late October, Arkansas City holds its Arkalalah Fall Festival. The festival began in 1928 as a morale boost for residents of Arkansas City as they struggled through the Great Depression. The name is a combination of the words "Ark" for the town name and "alalah," which was the Indian word for "good time."
  • Winfield holds its annual Walnut Valley Festival in mid-September. This bluegrass festival and fair draws music lovers from all over the United States.

Notable Residents:

Glenn Cunningham, Darren Daulton, Ira Davenport, Howard Engleman, Lionel Hollins, Bob Kenney, Gerald Tucker

Crawford County

  • County Seat: Girard
  • County Code: CR
  • Established: August 25, 1855
  • Organized: February 13, 1867
  • Region in Kansas: Southeast

Origin of Name: Samuel J. Crawford, who was elected governor in 1864 and served almost four years before resigning to become colonel of the 19th Cavalry to serve in the Indian war of 1868-69, previously a captain in the 2nd Kansas Infantry and a colonel of the 2nd Regiment Colored Volunteer Infantry for the Union during the Civil War.

Did you know?

  • McGee County was one of the 33 original Kansas Territory counties created by the first act to establish counties passed by the first Territorial Legislature of 1855. McGee County was never organized, but its name was changed to Cherokee County in 1860. The north half of Cherokee County was established as Crawford County in 1867.
  • The Frontenac Bakery, which opened February 14, 1900, is believed to be the oldest, continuously operated bakery in Kansas.
  • Crawford County is the wettest county in Kansas, receiving nearly 46 inches of precipitation a year.
  • Frontenac was the site of the worst mining disaster in Kansas history. In November 1888 an accidental explosion killed 44 miners and resulted in stricter state regulations on use of mining explosives, which changed the entire industry.
  • In the late 1800s and early 1900s as many as 35 different languages could be heard in cities such as Pittsburg, Frontenac, Arma and other surrounding coal mining camps that attracted labor from Europe. This area earned the nickname Little Balkans, and its heritage is celebrated in the Little Balkans Festival every Labor Day weekend in Pittsburg.
  • In the first decades of the 20th century, Girard became a hub of socialist politics. In 1896 Julius Wayland moved to Girard from Kansas City, Missouri, and brought with him his socialist newspaper, Appeal to Reason. He became quite successful, publishing more than 400,000 copies per week on occasion. The newspaper was mentioned in Upton Sinclair's novel, The Jungle.

Notable Residents:

Chuck Broyles, Allen Kelley, Bill Russell, Archie San Romani

Decatur County

  • County Seat: Oberlin
  • County Code: DC
  • Established: March 20, 1873
  • Organized: December 15, 1879
  • Region in Kansas: Northwest

Origin of Name: Distinguished American naval officer Commodore Stephen Decatur.

Did you know?

  • Decatur County opened the first home-owned carnival in Kansas. This carnival is still in operation and expanding, and is open to people from all over the region throughout the first week in August.
  • Oberlin was the site of the last Indian raid that occurred in Kansas on September 29, 1878. The community has a two-day festival in September called Mini-Sappa Days to commemorate the event. The Last Indian Raid Museum helps tell how 40 settlers and 60 Indians lost their lives and also represents a celebration of prairie life.
  • The town of Norcatur gets its name as a result of its location on the Norton and Decatur county lines.
  • Due to the close-knit community, the county has adopted the motto "Decatur County…where friends meet on brick streets."

Notable Residents:

Elden Auker

Dickinson County

  • County Seat: Abilene
  • County Code: DK
  • Established: February 20, 1857
  • Organized: February 20, 1857
  • Region in Kansas: Northeast

Origin of Name: Daniel S. Dickinson, a senator from New York who in 1847 introduced in the U.S. Senate resolutions respecting territorial government that embodied the doctrine of popular sovereignty that were incorporated in the bill for the organization of the Kansas Territory.

Did you know?

  • Herds of cattle were driven up on the Chisholm Trail from Texas to Abilene, making it the first "cowtown" in the Old West.
  • Dickinson County is home to the C.W. Parker Carousel, which is one of the 12 carousels in the nation to be designated as a national landmark. Even with this designation, the carousel is available to ride.
  • Legendary gunfighter Wild Bill Hickok was the Abilene town marshal in 1871.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th president of the United States, was from Abilene. The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, which is one of the original Eight Wonders of Kansas, is located in Abilene.
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut Joe Engle was born and raised in Chapman.
  • The Abilene and Smoky Valley Railroad offers the opportunity to take a train ride pulled by an authentic 1919 Santa Fe steam locomotive.
  • The famous Brookville Hotel, an 1870s-style hotel and now a restaurant, was moved from its original location in Brookville, Kansas, and rebuilt in Abilene. The hotel is known for its tasty family-style fried chicken dinners.
  • An episode of the television series Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was filmed in Chapman in 2009.

Notable Residents:

Steve Doocy, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Joe Engle

C.W. Parker Carousel image
Vintage postcard for the C.W. Parker Carousel in Abilene
Photo courtesy of the Dickinson County Historical Society