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Shawnee County, Kansas

From Academic Kids

Shawnee County (SN)
Image:Map of Kansas highlighting Shawnee County.png
Other Kansas Counties
County seat Topeka
Largest city Topeka
Area
—Total
—Land
—Water
—% water

556 mi²; 1,441 km²
550 mi²; 1,424 km²
6 mi²; 17 km²
1.17%
Population
—Total (2000)
Density

169,871
305.5/mi²; 117.9/km²
Established 1855
Time zone Central : UTC-6/-5

Shawnee County (standard abbreviation: SN) is a county located in the state of Kansas. As of 2000, the population is 169,871. It houses the capitol city of Kansas, Topeka, which is also the county seat .6

Contents

History

Before the treaty of 1854, the area now known as Shawnee County was inhabited by Shawnee, Kansas, and Pottowatomie indian tribes. Westward expansion brought the country its first white settler in 1830 when Frederick Choteau opened a trading post on American Chief (now Mission) Creek. In 1855, Shawnee became one of the first counties established by the Kansas territorial legislature with a population of 250. General H. J. Strickler, of Tecumseh, who was a member of the council in 1855, and also of the joint committee on Counties, claimed Shawnee for the name of his county. At that time, Shawnee County borders were entirely south of the Kansas River and extended south to include Osage City and Carbondale. The legislature later desired to make Topeka the county seat and moved the borders of the county to their present locations to make Topeka centrally located in the county.

1855 also saw the first ever meeting of the Shawnee County Board of Commissioners. Tecumseh was the first county seat, and the first county courthouse was opened there in 1856. The building was 40x50 feet but was never finished. Topeka was made the county seat by popular vote in 1858, and a new courthouse was built at 4th Street and Kansas Avenue in 1867. In 1896, a new larger courthouse was constructed at 5th and Van Buren, with more than 50,000 residents then living in the county. That building remained in use until the current courthouse at 7th and Quincy opened in 1965.

Local Etymologies

Map of Shawnee County from History of Kansas, 1899
Map of Shawnee County from History of Kansas, 1899

Concerning the origin of the names in this county, it is generally understood that Shawnee County receives its name from that well known tribe of Indians.

Topeka
is a Kaw word, meaning "wild potato."
Wakarusa
"river of big weeds."
Shunganunga
"the race course."
Menoken
"a fine growth."
Half-Day Creek
named after a Pottawatomie chief.
Mission Creek
so called because of the old Kaw mission on its banks.
Blacksmith Creek
from the Kaw blacksmith shop.
Soldier Creek
because its banks were a favorite camping ground for soldiers passing from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Riley.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,441 km² (556 mi²). 1,424 km² (550 mi²) of it is land and 17 km² (6 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.17% water.

Geographic Features

The Kansas River runs east across the county being bordered on its north bank by the towns of Rossville, Silver Lake and Soldier, and on its south bank by the towns of Willard, Dover, Mission, Topeka and Tecumseh. There is little or no current major river traffik, but it is used extensivly for irrigation in the county. The Wakarusa River, which, flowing east and northeast, empties into the Kansas River in the northeastern part of Douglas County. Major creeks emptying into the Kansas River include Cross, Soldier, Mission, Indian, and Shunganunga Creeks.

The soil is a rich dark loam, varying from fifteen feet in some parts of the bottoms, to a uniform surface covering the upland prairie from one to three feet. The underlying formation is limestone. Beds of clay, are well distributed. Coal is found in detached and non-continuous beds, and is mined in a small way for local purposes in Topeka, Soldier and Menoken.

Along the western border the landscape is hilly with the Flint Hills a few miles further west in Wabaunsee County. Burnett's Mound, the highest point in the county, is situated some four miles southwest of Topeka, in Mission Township. The land is described in the government and county surveys as "bottom land, 31 per cent; upland, 69 per cent; forest 8 per cent; prairie, 92 per cent." Lake Shawnee, a man made lake, is the largest body of water within the county. Wooded areas are mainly found along rivers and creeks with no true forrests. The growth consists of elm, cottonwood, black walnut, oak, sycamore, box elder, hickory and ash.

Major Highways & Transportation

Interstate Highway 70 crosses the county, as does the Kansas Turnpike. Kansas state highways K-4, and K-10 serve parts of the county. Forbes Field airforce base and airport is located south of Topeka near Pauline. Other airports in the county include Philip Billard Airport of Oakland.

Adjacent counties

See also: List of counties in Kansas

Demographics

As of the census² of 2000, there are 169,871 people, 68,920 households, and 44,660 families residing in the county. The population density is 119/km² (309/mi²). There are 73,768 housing units at an average density of 52/km² (134/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 82.89% White, 9.03% Black or African American, 1.17% Native American, 0.95% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 3.20% from other races, and 2.72% from two or more races. 7.26% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 68,920 households out of which 30.70% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.60% are married couples living together, 11.60% have a female householder with no husband present, and 35.20% are non-families. 29.80% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.00% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.39 and the average family size is 2.98.

In the county the population is spread out with 25.30% under the age of 18, 8.80% from 18 to 24, 28.40% from 25 to 44, 23.70% from 45 to 64, and 13.70% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 37 years. For every 100 females there are 93.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $40,988, and the median income for a family is $51,464. Males have a median income of $35,586 versus $26,491 for females. The per capita income for the county is $20,904. 9.60% of the population and 6.30% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 12.30% of those under the age of 18 and 7.10% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Historical Populations

1860 3,513
1870 13,121
1880 29,093
1890 49,172
1900 53,727
1910 61,874
1920 69,159
1930 85,200
1940 91,247
1950 105,418
1960 141,286
1970 155,322
1980 154,960
1990 160,976
2000 169,871
2003(estimate) 170,902

Cities and towns

Unicorporated communities

  • Valencia
  • Wakarusa
  • Grove
  • Pauline
  • Dover
  • Berryton (home of Kerry Livgrin, former guitarist of the rock band Kansas)
  • Elmont
  • Watson
  • Terra Heights
  • Spencer
  • Richland
  • Oakland
  • North Topeka
  • Mathews Park
  • Kiro
  • Menoken
  • Cullen Village (Montara)
  • Belmont

Townships

  • Rossville
  • Grove
  • Menoken
  • Soldier
  • Tecumseh
  • Monmouth
  • Topeka
  • Williamsport
  • Mission
  • Auburn
  • Dover
  • Silver Lake

Education

Unified school districts

  • Seaman USD 345[1] (http://www.usd345.com/)
  • Silver Lake USD 372[2] (http://www.silverlake.k12.ks.us/)
  • Auburn-Washburn USD 437[3] (http://www.usd437.net/)
  • Shawnee Heights USD 450[4] (http://www.snh450.k12.ks.us/district/index.htm)
  • Topeka USD 501[5] (http://www.topeka.k12.ks.us/index.html)
  • Kaw Valley USD 321[6] (http://www.kawvalley.k12.ks.us/)
  • Wabaunsee East USD 330
  • USD 340
  • USD 434

Colleges and universities

Vocational/Technical Schools

  • Kaw Area Technical School

Points of Interest

The Kansas State Building
is in downtown Topeka.
The world famous Topeka Zoo
located at Gage Park in Topeka is famous for its flock of eagles.

External links

  • Shawnee County Government Online [7] (http://www.co.shawnee.ks.us/)
  • Blue Skyways [8] (http://skyways.lib.ks.us/counties/SN/)
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