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Smith County, Kansas

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Title: Smith County, Kansas  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of townships in Kansas, Athol, Kansas, Cedar, Kansas, Gaylord, Kansas, Kensington, Kansas
Collection: 1872 Establishments in Kansas, Kansas Counties, Populated Places Established in 1872, Smith County, Kansas
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Smith County, Kansas

Smith County, Kansas
Map of Kansas highlighting Smith County
Location in the state of Kansas
Map of the United States highlighting Kansas
Kansas's location in the U.S.
Founded 1872
Seat Smith Center
Largest city Smith Center
 • Total 897 sq mi (2,323 km2)
 • Land 895 sq mi (2,318 km2)
 • Water 1.5 sq mi (4 km2), 0.2%
 • (2010) 3,853
 • Density 4.3/sq mi (2/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website .comsmithcoks

Smith County (standard abbreviation: SM) is a county located in the U.S. state of Kansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 3,853.[1] Its county seat is Smith Center.[2] The county is named in memory of Maj. J. Nelson Smith, who was part of the 2nd Colorado Cavalry, killed in action at the Battle of Westport on October 21, 1864.

The geographic center of the contiguous United States is located within the county, near Lebanon.[3]


  • History 1
  • Law and government 2
  • Geography 3
    • Major highways 3.1
    • Adjacent counties 3.2
  • Demographics 4
  • Education 5
    • Unified school districts 5.1
  • Communities 6
    • Cities 6.1
    • Unincorporated communities 6.2
    • Townships 6.3
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10


The Homestead Act was enacted by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862. The first homestead in Smith County was in 1871 and there were 3,800 inhabitants by 1875. The county grew to 15,000 people by 1889. Corn was the main crop at first but drought and grasshopper plagues severely hurt the crops. When hardy Winter wheat was introduced to Kansas by Russian settlers, it eventually became the predominant crop in Smith County. The population of the county has slowly declined since 1900 due in large part because of advanced farming techniques that require less human labor.

Dr. Brewster Higley wrote the song "Home on the Range" in 1871 in a cabin 8 miles north of Athol. It later became the Kansas State song.

Law and government

Following amendment to the Kansas Constitution in 1986, the county remained a prohibition, or "dry", county until 1992, when voters approved the sale of alcoholic liquor by the individual drink with a 30% food sales requirement.[4]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 897 square miles (2,320 km2), of which 895 square miles (2,320 km2) is land and 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2) (0.2%) is water.[5] The county is divided into 25 townships, each of which is listed below in the subdivisions section of this article.

The geographic center of the 48 contiguous states is located within the county, near the city of Lebanon.[6] The geographic center of North America is located in neighboring Osborne County.

The Solomon River runs through the southern part of the county and provides a flat basin and water for irrigated crops.

Major highways

There are two major highways serving the county. The main east-west route is U.S. Highway 36, which travels through Athol, Kensington, and Smith Center. The main north-south route is U.S. Highway 281, which intersects US-36 in Smith Center. Kansas state highways K-8, K-9 and K-180 serve other areas of the county.

Adjacent counties


Age pyramid

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 4,536 people, 1,953 households, and 1,322 families residing in the county. The population density was 5 people per square mile (2/km²). There were 2,326 housing units at an average density of 3 per square mile (1/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 98.79% White, 0.11% Black or African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.04% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 0.49% from two or more races. 0.73% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 1,953 households out of which 25.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.60% were married couples living together, 4.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.30% were non-families. 30.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.78.

In the county the population was spread out with 21.70% under the age of 18, 4.70% from 18 to 24, 22.10% from 25 to 44, 23.60% from 45 to 64, and 27.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females there were 92.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,486, and the median income for a family was $36,951. Males had a median income of $25,089 versus $18,608 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,983. About 8.80% of families and 10.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.80% of those under age 18 and 9.50% of those age 65 or over.

The population distribution by township is as follows according to the 2000 census: Banner 54; Beaver 60; Blaine 60; Cedar 619; Center 2,094; Cora 38; Crystal Plains 40; Dor 46; Garfield 33; German 34; Harlan 100; Harvey 130; Houston 206; Lane 134; Lincoln 73; Logan 47; Martin 24; Oak 399; Pawnee 35; Pleasant 34; Swan 42; Valley 75; Washington 63; Webster 47; White Rock 49.


Unified school districts

  • Thunder Ridge USD 110
  • Smith Center USD 237


2005 KDOT Map of Smith County (map legend)


Unincorporated communities


Smith County is divided into twenty-five townships. None of the cities within the county are considered governmentally independent, and all figures for the townships include those of the cities. In the following table, the population center is the largest city (or cities) included in that township's population total, if it is of a significant size.

See also


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Population and Geographic Centers" (PDF). Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Map of Wet and Dry Counties". Alcoholic Beverage Control, Kansas Department of Revenue. November 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-26. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  6. ^ Geographic Center of the Lower 48 United States
  7. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  8. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 
  12. ^ "American FactFinder".  

Further reading

  • 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

  • Smith County
  • Smith County - Directory of Public Officials
General Information
  • Blue Skyways
Kansas County Data
  • Kansas Statistical Abstract
Smith County local history and genealogy
  • Kansas State Historical Society
  • William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas
  • Geographical Center of the Continental United States
  • Home on the Range Cabin, cabin where the song Home on the Range was written.
  • Smith County Maps: Current, Historic, KDOT
  • Kansas Highway Maps: Current, Historic, KDOT
  • Kansas Railroad Maps: Current, 1996, 1915, KDOT and Kansas Historical Society
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