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Fort Scott, Kansas

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Fort Scott, Kansas

Fort Scott, Kansas
Downtown Fort Scott, 2006
Downtown Fort Scott, 2006
Location within Bourbon County (left) and Kansas (right)
Location within Bourbon County (left) and Kansas (right)
Country United States
State  Kansas
County Bourbon
 • Total 5.59 sq mi (14.48 km2)
 • Land 5.55 sq mi (14.37 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.10 km2)
Elevation 846 ft (258 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 8,087
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 7,934
 • Density 1,457.1/sq mi (562.6/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 66701
Area code(s) 620
FIPS code 20-24000 [4]
GNIS feature ID 0474788 [5]

Fort Scott is a city in and the county seat of Bourbon County, Kansas,[6] 88 miles (142 km) south of Kansas City, on the Marmaton River. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 8,087.[7] It is the home of the Fort Scott National Historic Site and the Fort Scott National Cemetery. Fort Scott is named for Gen. Winfield Scott.[8]


Established and garrisoned by the U.S. Army from 1842–1853, soldiers at Fort Scott assisted with the protection of the Permanent Indian Frontier. After the army abandoned the fort in 1853, the buildings were purchased by local settlers at a government auction in 1855. Fort Scott was laid out as a town in 1857.[9]

Between 1855 and 1861, the citizens of Fort Scott experienced the violent unrest that preceded the American Civil War on the Kansas and Missouri border. Eastern newspapers described this violence as "Bleeding Kansas", a result of the national controversy concerning the extension of slavery into the new territories. Murder, rape, mayhem, robbery, and arson were committed by bold free-state and pro-slavery advocates in the name of their cause. On January 29, 1861, Kansas entered the union as a free state, but the turmoil of "Bleeding Kansas" continued throughout the Civil War.

During the Civil War, Fort Scott was a U.S Army district Headquarters, quartermaster supply depot, training center, and recruitment station. It was strategically vital to the defense of Kansas and the Midwest. A battle over the fort occurred in August 1861 just across the Missouri line in the Battle of Dry Wood Creek. The battle was a pro-South victory for Sterling Price and his Missouri State Guard. Price did not hold the fort and instead continued a northern push into Missouri in an attempt to recapture the state. James H. Lane (Senator) was to launch a Jayhawker offensive behind Price from Fort Scott that led to the Sacking of Osceola. The ill will of these actions was to be the basis for the 1976 Clint Eastwood film The Outlaw Josey Wales.

After the Civil War, Fort Scott was a premier city of the frontier, one of the largest cities in eastern Kansas. On three different occasions, between 1870 and 1900, Fort Scott was in competition with Kansas City to become the largest railroad center west of the Mississippi.[10] During the first half of the 20th century, Fort Scott became the agricultural, small industrial, and insurance center which it continues to be today.

Downtown fire

Downtown Fort Scott fire, 2005

On March 11, 2005, a fire destroyed several historic buildings in Fort Scott's downtown. The Victorian-era buildings were among many that are a symbol of the town.[11]


Fort Scott is located at (37.835180, -94.702015)[12] at an elevation of 846 feet (258 m).[5] It lies on the Osage Plains on the south side of the Marmaton River. Located at the intersection of U.S. Routes 54 and 69 in southeast Kansas, Fort Scott is approximately 54 miles (87 km) north of Joplin, Missouri, 92 miles (148 km) south of Kansas City, and 143 miles (230 km) east of Wichita.[13]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.59 square miles (14.48 km2), of which, 5.55 square miles (14.37 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) is water.[1]


Fort Scott has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) with hot, humid summers and cool winters. The average temperature in Fort Scott is 57 °F (13 °C) with temperatures exceeding 90 °F (32 °C) an average of 81 days a year and dropping below 32 °F (0 °C) an average of 97 days a year. On average, Fort Scott experiences 69.5 rainy days a year. Annual snowfall averages 16.7 inches (424 mm).[14] Precipitation averages 44.1 inches (1,121 mm) per year. On average, January is the coolest month, July is the warmest month, and June is the wettest month. The hottest temperature recorded in Fort Scott was 120 °F (49 °C) in 1954; the coldest temperature recorded was -18 °F (-28 °C) in 1989.[15]

Climate data for Fort Scott, Kansas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 77
Average high °F (°C) 40
Average low °F (°C) 20
Record low °F (°C) −16
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.58
Snowfall inches (cm) 4.1
Source: The Weather Channel;[15] Weatherbase[14]


2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 8,087 people, 3,285 households, and 1,941 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,457.1 inhabitants per square mile (562.6/km2). There were 3,819 housing units at an average density of 688.1 per square mile (265.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.3% White, 4.7% African American, 0.8% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.7% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.5% of the population.

There were 3,285 households of which 31.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.8% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.9% were non-families. 34.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 3.02.

The median age in the city was 35.2 years. 25.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 12.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.6% were from 25 to 44; 22.5% were from 45 to 64; and 18.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.7% male and 52.3% female.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 8,297 people, 3,481 households, and 2,081 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,529.4 people per square mile (590.0/km2). There were 3,914 housing units at an average density of 278.3 persons/km2 (721.5 persons/sq mi). The racial makeup of the city was 91.53% White, 5.15% African American, 0.93% Native American, 0.53% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.40% from other races, and 1.41% from two or more races. 1.68% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,481 households out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% were married couples living together, 11.5% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 40.2% were non-families. 35.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.9% under the age of 18, 11.3% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 19.0% from 45 to 64, and 21.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 85.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,871, and the median income for a family was $34,531. Males had a median income of $25,919 versus $20,583 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,997. About 10.9% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.3% of those under age 18 and 12.9% of those age 65 or over.



Fort Scott Community College, founded in 1919, is the oldest community college in the state of Kansas.


The Fort Scott Public Schools USD 234 includes two public elementary schools (Eugene Ware Elementary and Winfield Scott Elementary), one public middle school (Fort Scott Middle School) and one high school (Fort Scott High School). There is also a Catholic school for grades K-5, Fort Scott Christian Heights for K-12 and a few other small private schools for students from grades K-12. There is also a public preschool in the old middle school building.

Tourist attractions

In addition to the restored Pre Civil War-era (1840s) fort noted above, trolley tours of the historical part of Fort Scott are offered, showing visitors historic buildings and other attractions throughout Fort Scott.

An annual town festival, the Good Ol' Days, has been held the first weekend of June since 1980. The celebration begins Friday evening with a parade and a picnic downtown. Over the rest of the weekend, a street fair, carnival and entertainment shows are among other features of the festival.

Gunn Park is a 100 year old park with picnic areas, playgrounds, two lakes, trout fishing, paddle boats and an 18 hole disc golf course near the Marmaton River on the west side of town [1].


Notable people

Further reading

  • "Fort Scott, Kan.", Logan's Railway Business Directory from Saint Louis to Galveston, St. Louis, Mo.: A. L. Logan & Co., 1873 


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010".  
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  3. ^ "Population Estimates".  
  4. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  5. ^ a b "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  6. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  7. ^ "2010 City Population and Housing Occupancy Status". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  8. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 129. 
  9. ^ Kansas State Historical Society (1916). Biennial Report of the Board of Directors of the Kansas State Historical Society. Kansas State Printing Plant. p. 147. 
  10. ^ Banwart, Donald B. "Rails, Rivalry and Romance." (ISBN 0960156836)
  11. ^ Fire destroys downtown Fort Scott buildings
  12. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  13. ^ "City Distance Tool".  
  14. ^ a b "Historical Weather for Fort Scott, Kansas, United States of America". Weatherbase. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  15. ^ a b "Average weather for Fort Scott, KS".  
  16. ^ 2007 Coupe Mondiale Test Piece - Fantasy, Op. 67 by Karen Fremar
  17. ^ "New Mexico Governor William Calhoun McDonald". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 8, 2012. 

External links

  • City of Fort Scott
  • Fort Scott - Directory of Public Officials
  • Fort Scott - Community website
  • Fort Scott - Wiki
  • USD 234, local school district
  • The Fort Scott Tribune
  • Fort Scott National Cemetery photo tour
  • Fort Scott City Map, KDOT
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