World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Douglas County, Kansas


Douglas County, Kansas

Douglas County, Kansas
Douglas County Courthouse in Lawrence
Map of Kansas highlighting Douglas County
Location in the state of Kansas
Map of the United States highlighting Kansas
Kansas's location in the U.S.
Founded August 25, 1855
Named for Stephen A. Douglas
Seat Lawrence
Largest city Lawrence
 • Total 475 sq mi (1,230 km2)
 • Land 456 sq mi (1,181 km2)
 • Water 19 sq mi (49 km2), 4.0%
Population (est.)
 • (2014) 116,585
 • Density 243/sq mi (94/km²)
Congressional district 2nd
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website .org.douglascountykswww

Douglas County (county code DG) is a county located in the U.S. state of Kansas. As of the 2010 census, the county population was 110,826,[1] making it the fifth-most populous county in Kansas. Its county seat and most populous city is Lawrence.[2]

Douglas County comprises the Lawrence, KS Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Kansas City-Overland Park-Kansas City, MO-KS Combined Statistical Area.


  • History 1
  • Government 2
  • Geography 3
    • Adjacent counties 3.1
  • Transportation 4
    • Major highways 4.1
    • County Highways 4.2
  • Education 5
    • Unified school districts 5.1
    • Universities and colleges 5.2
  • Demographics 6
  • Parks 7
  • Events 8
  • Communities 9
    • Incorporated cities 9.1
    • Unincorporated communities 9.2
    • Townships 9.3
      • Historic Townships 9.3.1
  • Notable people 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • Further reading 13
  • External links 14


Douglas County was opened for settlement on May 15, 1854, and was named for Stephen A. Douglas,[3] a senator from Illinois. The county was practically at the center of the Bleeding Kansas years as leaders in Lecompton, the territorial capital, wanted Kansas to be a slave state and leaders in Lawrence wanted Kansas to be a free state. Because of this, multiple events took place, including the drafting of the Lecompton Constitution admitting Kansas as a slave state, the sacking of Lawrence, and the Battle of Black Jack.

The first railroad in Douglas County, the Union Pacific, was built through that territory in 1864.[4]


Douglas County is currently served by county commissioners Mike Gaughan, Nancy Thellman, and Jim Flory.[5]

Democratic state representatives of the county include John Wilson (10th District), Barbara Ballard (44th District), and Paul Davis (46th District); Republican state representatives include Connie O'Brien (42nd District), Tom Sloan (45th District) and Ken Corbet (54th District). The three state senators representing the county, Marci Francisco (2nd District), Tom Holland (3rd District), and Anthony Hensley (19th District), are all Democrats.[6]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 475 square miles (1,230 km2), of which 456 square miles (1,180 km2) is land and 19 square miles (49 km2) (4.0%) is water.[7] It is the fifth-smallest county in Kansas by land area. Much of its northern boundary is defined by the Kansas River, which flows through Lawrence and provides hydropower at the Bowersock Dam.

Adjacent counties


2005 KDOT Map of Douglas County (map legend)

Major highways

  • Interstate 70, as part of the Kansas Turnpike, runs east to west just north of Lawrence.
  • U.S. Highway 59 runs north to south through the middle of the county and the middle of Lawrence.
  • U.S. Highway 40 virtually follows the Oregon Trail heading west out of Lawrence.
  • U.S. Highway 56 runs east to west in the southern half of the county, going through Baldwin City and skirts the Santa Fe Trail.
  • K-10 runs from the I-70 Lecompton Exchange along the south and west border of Lawrence to US-59 then north until 23rd Street where it heads east out of town into Johnson County.
  • Other major highways include: US-24 which is in Grant township leading from Leavenworth to Jefferson County; K-32 starts just outside of Lawrence and leads into Leavenworth County and K-33 is in extreme southeast Douglas County and leads into Franklin County.

County Highways

Douglas County also maintains an extensive network of county highways to serve the rural areas of the county. None of these county highways is in the Lawrence city limits.


Scenic view of Rural Douglas County

Unified school districts

Douglas County is served by seven school districts.

  • Lawrence USD 497 serves Lawrence and the Clinton Lake area.
  • Baldwin City USD 348 serves Baldwin City and most of southern Douglas County.
  • Perry-Lecompton USD 343 serves Lecompton and most of northwest Douglas County.
  • Eudora USD 491 serves Eudora and the northeast part of the county.
  • Santa Fe Trail USD 434 covers the southwest part of the county.
  • Wellsville USD 289 covers extreme southeast Douglas County.
  • Shawnee Heights USD 450 services the extreme western part of the county including Big Springs.

Universities and colleges

The University of Kansas's main campus is located in Lawrence as is Haskell Indian Nations University. Baker University, the state's oldest university, is located in Baldwin City.


As of the 2000 census,[13] there were 99,962 people, 38,486 households, and 21,167 families residing in the county. The population density was 219 people per square mile (84/km²). There were 40,250 housing units at an average density of 88 per square mile (34/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 86.1% White, 4.2% Black or African American, 2.6% Native American, 3.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.2% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.3% of the population.

There were 38,486 households out of which 27.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.1% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.0% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the county the population was spread out with 20.4% under the age of 18, 26.4% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 16.9% from 45 to 64, and 7.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females there were 98.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $37,547, and the median income for a family was $53,991. Males had a median income of $35,577 versus $27,225 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,952. About 6.2% of families and 15.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.0% of those under age 18 and 7.3% of those age 65 or over.


Clinton Lake, completed in 1980, offers boating, fishing and other water sports and various parks surrounding the lake provides camping and trails for mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding.[14]

Lone Star Lake is a small country lake to the southwest of Lawrence offers fishing, boating and camping. Just northwest of Baldwin City is Douglas State Fishing Lake which provides hunting, fishing and limited camping. Other parks around the county include Black Jack Park which includes the Ivan Boyd Prairie Preserve and Robert Hall Pearson Memorial Park, Broken Arrow Park in Lawrence and Wells Overlook Park just south of Lawrence.[15]


Major events in the county include the Maple Leaf Festival in Baldwin City every third full weekend in October.[16] Lecompton's Territorial Days take place every year in June[17] and Lawrence has many parades throughout the year including Christmas and St. Patrick's Day.[18][19]


Incorporated cities

Unincorporated communities


Douglas County is divided into nine townships. The city of Lawrence is considered governmentally independent and is excluded from the census figures for the townships. In the following table, the population center is the largest city (or cities) of significant size included in that township's population total.

Township FIPS Population
Population Population
/km² (/sq mi)
Land area
km² (sq mi)
Water area
km² (sq mi)
Water % Geographic coordinates
Clinton 14325 531 7 (17) 80 (31) 26 (10) 24.41%
Eudora 21700 Eudora 5,571 43 (113) 128 (49) 2 (1) 1.57%
Grant 27650 442 10 (27) 43 (16) 0 (0) 0.74%
Kanwaka 36075 1,317 12 (30) 114 (44) 8 (3) 6.69%
Lecompton 39175 Lecompton 1,761 20 (51) 90 (35) 2 (1) 2.45%
Marion 44700 836 5 (12) 185 (72) 1 (0) 0.52%
Palmyra 54225 Baldwin City 5,760 27 (70) 212 (82) 2 (1) 0.79%
Wakarusa 74400 2,237 19 (49) 119 (46) 2 (1) 1.81%
Willow Springs 79500 1,409 10 (26) 141 (54) 1 (0) 0.54%
Sources: "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files". U.S. Census Bureau, Geography Division. 

Historic Townships

Map of Douglas County, 1889. From History of Kansas.

The county originally had only four townships. Lecompton comprised the area of Lecompton, Kanwaka, and Clinton townships; Washington took the place of Marion and Willow Springs townships; Wakarusa comprised both Wakarusa and Eudora townships; and Calhoun was the original name of Palmyra township. Grant township was annexed from Jefferson County in 1874.

Notable people

  • Isaac F. Hughes, Douglas County commissioner and City Council member in both Lawrence, Kansas, and Los Angeles, California.

See also


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 108. 
  4. ^ Blackmar, Frank Wilson (1912). Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc. Standard Publishing Company. p. 539. 
  5. ^ Douglas County - Board of Commissioners
  6. ^ Douglas County - State Officials
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  9. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^

Further reading

  • Armitage, Katie H., “‘Seeking a Home Where He Himself Is Free’: African Americans Build a Community in Douglas County, Kansas,” Kansas History, 31 (Autumn 2008), 154–75
  • Nowak, David. J. Assessing Urban Forest Effects and Values, Douglas County, Kansas. Newtown Square, PA: United States Forest Service, Northern Research Station, 2014.
  • History of the State of Kansas; William G. Cutler; A.T. Andreas Publisher; 1883. (Online HTML eBook)
  • Kansas : A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc; 3 Volumes; Frank W. Blackmar; Standard Publishing Co; 944 / 955 / 824 pages; 1912. (Volume1 - Download 54MB PDF eBook), (Volume2 - Download 53MB PDF eBook), (Volume3 - Download 33MB PDF eBook)

External links

  • Douglas County
  • Douglas County - Directory of Public Officials
  • Douglas County Law Library
  • Blue Skyways
  • Kansas Statistical Abstract
  • Aerial Photography from Multiple Decades
  • Daily World, Google news archive. —PDFs for 1,062 issues, dating from 1892 through 1895.
  • Daily Record, Google news archive. —PDFs for 998 issues, dating from 1889 through 1893.
  • Douglas County Maps: Current, Historic, KDOT
  • Kansas Highway Maps: Current, Historic, KDOT
  • Kansas Railroad Maps: Current, 1996, 1915, KDOT and Kansas Historical Society
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.