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Barton County is nearly in the geographical center of the State, being situated exactly midway between the northern and southern boundary lines, and is in the first tier of counties west of a central line drawn from north to south; the east line of the county being a little over 200 miles west of the east line of the State, and a little less than 200 east of the west line. Source: Cutler's History of the State of Kansas 

 

County Seat: Great Bend

Date organized: 1872

County History:

  1. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas, Barton County 
  2. Santa Fe Trail Association

Historic Landmarks, State, National:

  1. Santa Fe Trail (National Park Service website) 
  2. Pawnee Rock State Historic Site 
  3. Cheyenne Bottoms Wilderness Area (Wetlands area of Kansas)
  4. Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic Byway 
  5. Great Bend Aspect 

County Historical Society:

  1. Barton County Historical Society 
  2. B-29 Memorial Located at Great Bend,Kansas 

Websites about the county:

  1. Barton County Government 
  2. City of Great Bend,Kansas 
  3. City of Pawnee Rock 

It was organized in 1872, and has an area of 900 square miles; Is located about midway of the state, north and south, and the next county west of the geographical center. The county seat is Great Bend, situated on the Great Bend of the Arkansas River. Several other important towns in the county are well located and prosperous: Ellinwood, Hoisington, Pawnee Rock, Claflin and Olmitz, all situated in fine localities, with good farming country around them. The surface of the county is gently rolling, and of first and second bottom lands; it has neither high bluffs nor "sand hills," and about all good tillable land. The first settlement was made in 1870, and it now has a population of 13,000. The soil is dark, rich, deep, loam and is watered by the Arkansas River, Walnut and Cow Creeks, all living streams, and several others part of the year. Also has an abundance of good pure well water that is never failing.

Barton county has made quite a success in tree growth, and has many flue groves of young timber, and quite an amount of natural timber along the streams. Many farmers are successful in fruit growing, and in a few years fruit will be grown and bearing all over the county. The natural grasses of this county are the Blue stem, bunch and Buffalo varieties; the first two are good summer grasses, the latter is a fine fall and winter grass, and especially valuable for winter grazing. Alfalfa clover grows finely, and is raised quite extensively; red clover and Timothy are being sown and do well, as the land is longer cultivated. Blue grass grows splendidly, and many fine lawns are now seen in Great Bend and other towns of the county. The county is therefore especially adapted to stock raising, there always being an abundance of forage, and water during the driest years, and with the long pasturing season and short winters, stuck raising is quite profitable. In several townships of our county, creameries have been built, and in these localities farmers are making the milk pay nicely, in connection with the raising of stock. Salt beds are found in the southern part of the county, and north of the Arkansas River a bed of rock salt of excellent quality, over one hundred feet in thickness has been tested and is found as nearly pure as any in the state; where this test was made a flowing well of salt water is constantly running out over the prairie and is quite perceptably increasing in flow and quality and is the only known well of the kind in the State.

One of the most important features of our State is the public schools and no county of the state takes more pride in her schools than Barton. Over one hundred organized districts and schools in our county. Graded schools at Great Bend and otber towns of the county. The Central Normal College is located at Great Bend. This institution is but a little past two years old and is already taking rank among the best institutions of learning of our country; it has at this time over two hundred students in attendance and is daily increasing. A large and commodious brick building of twenty-four rooms, pleasantly located, with boarding houses, rooms and conveniences for students surrounding it, makes it pleasant, healthy and in every way deserving the patronage it has now and in the future will receive. Churches of the various denominations are well established and attended. The different business and professional interests are well represented. Four large flouring mills whose capacity is 1,000 barrels per day; machine shops, Water Works, Street Railway and other good improvements usual to cities of Kansas. The inhabitants of the county are generelly native Americans and Germans. Barton County stands at the front in crops of all kinds, but for want of space can only give of wheat, corn and rye; in 1884, wheat sown 84,518 acres; yield 2,112,95,0 bushels, being third in the State in bushels and first in yield per acre; in 1886—41,127 acres, yield 740,286 bushels being first in the state by 167,086 bushels; in 1889—82,578 acres; yield 2,332,528 bushels, being second in" the state in bushels and first in yield; in 1890 we have not less than 120,000 acres sown, and at this season has never looked better in the history ofthe county; corn, 1889, 2,000,000 bushels; rye 250,000 bushels.

 

Source: Kansas: its history, resources and prospects by The Kansas Bureau of immigration. copyright 1890, Available at the Internet Archives website