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Location of Butler County, KS
 
County Seat: El Dorado
Founded: 1855
Population:
  · 59,482 (2000)
  · 50,580 (1990)
  · 23,363 (1900)
Area: 1428 Square Miles
Standard Abbreviation: BU 

Butler County

Butler County Courthouse in El Dorado, Kansas

Description

        Butler County, Kansas' largest, is mostly rolling grass-covered hills with broad river valleys winding through them. Elevations range from 1625 feet on the east Flint Hills escarpment down to 1148 feet in the Walnut River valley.
 
        Petroleum production and refining is still the major factor in the county's economy. Farming and ranching are also important, and the state correctional facility and light industry are growing segments.

History

Map of Butler County, KS in 1899
Organized in 1855.  County seat Eldorado.  For Andrew P. Butler, who was United States Senator from South Carolina, from 1846 to 1857.
 
Map and text from History of Kansas, Noble Prentis, (Winfield: E.P. Greer. 1899)
 
        Butler County is named for Sen. Andrew Pickens Butler (1796-1857) of South Carolina. Senator Butler was an ardent proslavery advocate although he had voted for the Kansas-Nebraska Act, perhaps thinking like many others that Kansas would become a slave state and Nebraska a free state.
 
        Butler County was one of the 33 original counties created by the "Bogus Legislature" composed of pro-slavery Missourians, border state ruffians and the fraudulently elected. A later Free State legislature allowed the name to remain unchanged. One account states that they thought Butler County was named after Massachusetts politician and later Union Army General, Ben Butler.
 
        Since the early days, the regional economy had been focused on farming and ranching. This would all change when, in the fall of 1915, a cable tool drilling rig owned by Wichita Natural Gas began to drill an oil well on the John Stapleton farm north of town. Day after day the tools stomped their way into the solid earth until at a depth of 670 feet oil was discovered. Word spread like a wind-whipped prairie fire and the black gold rush was on.
 
        Butler's economy changed almost overnight. Lease prices for land skyrocketed as men sought riches from deep within the earth. New shops and businesses were built to meet the demands of thousands of incoming workers.
 
        The company owned towns of Oil Hill, Midian, Gordon, Browntown and others prospered. Oil Hill and El Dorado grew and by 1918 their population totaled almost 20,000. In a single year, more than 28 million barrels of crude oil were produced.
 
- information supplied by the Butler County Historical Society

 
William G. Cutler's History of Kansas, first published in 1883, tells about early Butler County.
 
The Special Collections of the Ablah Library at WSU contain historical images of Augusta, Benton, Douglass, El Dorado, Leon, Oil Hill, & Towanda,
 
The Kansas State Historical Society also has more historical data for Butler County online including a rich bibliography and lists of cemeteries, post offices, and newspapers.

Cities, Towns, & Villages of Butler County

                           2000
    Town                Population  ZIP         Year  Elevation
    =================   ==========  =========   ====  =========
    Aikman                                              1470
    Andover                  6,698  67002               1350
    Augusta                  8,423  67010       1871    1260
    Beaumont                        67012               1605
    Benton                     827  67017               1375
    Bloomington                                         1317
    Bois d' Arc                                         1222
    Brainerd                                            1380
    Cassoday                   130  66842               1470
    Chelsea                                             1330
    De Graff                                            1410
    Douglass                 1,813  67039               1205
    East El Dorado                                      1290
    El Dorado               12,057  67042       1857    1344
    Elbing                     218  67041               1440
    Gordon                                              1220
    Haverhill                                           1327
    Hopkins                                             1451
    Keighley                                            1525
    Lakeview Heights                                    1310
    Latham                     164  67072               1470
    Leon                       645  67074               1350
    Lorena                                              1330
    Mecca Acres                                         1310
    Midway                                              1323
    Pickrell Corner                                     1352
    Pontiac                                             1427
    Potwin                     457  67123               1340
    Prospect                                            1380
    Rosalia                         67132               1520
    Rose Hill                3,432  67133               1240
    Salter                                              1275
    Smileyberg                                          1325
    Summit                                              1602
    Sunset Acres                                        1355
    Towanda                  1,338  67144               1300
    Vanora                                              1267
    Whitewater                 653  67154               1370
    Wingate                                             1498
Census Bureau Profile & Map

Special Places in Butler County

  • The Praririe Rose Chuckwagon offers entertainment, fun and great food.  It's just off Hwy K-254 near Benton.
  • El Dorado Lake & State Park offers 8,000 acres of water and over 600 campsites. The Teter Nature Trail is a 1½ mile hike winding through undisturbed wilderness.
  • Beaumont still has its 1885 wooden water tower beside the railroad tracks. It was used to refill the water tanks on steam locomotives. Now the town celebrates with their Frisco Water Tower Festival in June.
  • The old hotel at Beaumont is open again serving good meals to customers, many of whom fly in and park their planes on the street.
  • Augusta still uses its 1935 downtown theater and it is slowly being restored to its former glory.
  • The romanesque 1909 Butler County courthouse is open for self-guided tours on workdays.
  • The cafe in Cassoday, "The Prairie Chicken Capital of the World", has hitching posts because some of the customers are working cowboys who ride into town for lunch.
  • The 1918 Missouri-Pacific station at 3rd & Main in downtown El Dorado is not open, but its exterior is worth seeing.

Libraries

  • Andover Public Library   (316) 733-4599
    937 N. Andover Road, Andover, KS 67002
  • Augusta Public Library   (316) 775-2681
    1609 State Street, Augusta, KS 67010
  • Douglass Public Library   (316) 746-2200
    319 S. Forrest / Box 188, Douglass, KS 67039
  • Bradford Memorial Library   (316) 321-3363
    611 S Washington Street, El Dorado, KS 67042-2898
  • Leon Public Library  (316) 745-3438
    111 S. Main / P. O. Box 57, Leon, KS 67074-0057
  • Potwin Public Library   (620) 752-3421
    126 N. Randall, Potwin, KS 67123-0189
  • Rose Hill Public Library   (316) 776-3013
    306 N. Main, Rose Hill, KS 67133
  • Towanda Public Library   (316) 536-2464
    620 Highland, Towanda, KS 67144
  • Whitewater Memorial Library   (316) 799-2471
    118 E Topeka / Box 471, Whitewater, KS 67154

Museums

  • Museum of the American Fan Collectors Association   (316) 733-0035
    Vornado Air Circulation Systems, Inc.
    415 E. 13th St., Andover KS 67002
    Open weekdays, 8:30am-5pm, displaying about 350 fans dating from 1886.
  • Augusta Historical Museum   (316) 775-5655
    303 State St., Augusta, KS 67010
  • Cassoday Historical Museum   (620) 735-7286 - Old Depot
    Washington & Beaman Streets, Cassoday, KS 66842
  • Douglass Historical Museum   (316) 746-2319
    318 S. Forest, Douglass, KS 67039
  • Butler County Historical Center -   (316) 321-9333
    Home of the Kansas Oil Museum
    383 East Central, El Dorado, KS 67042
  • Coutts Memorial Museum of Art   (316) 321-1212
    110 N. Main, El Dorado, KS 67042
  • Erman B. White Gallery of Art   (316) 321-2222 - Open during the school year
    On the campus of Butler County Community College
    901 S Haverhill Rd., El Dorado, KS 67042
  • The Ellet School (620) 965-3121 - Open by appointment
    Latham Historical Society, Latham, KS
  • Rose Hill Historical Museum
    Open: 2nd and 4th Saturdays each month, 10a.m. to 2p.m. and by appointment. No admission fee.
    106 S. Main St, Rose Hill, KS
  • The Museum in Towanda   (316) 536-2500
    3d and Main, Towanda, KS 67144

Butler County School Systems

Colleges & Universities

Hospitals

Newspapers

  • Augusta Daily Gazette   (316) 775-2218
    204 E. Fifth, Augusta, KS 67010
  • El Dorado Times   (316) 321-1120
    114 N. Vine, El Dorado, KS 67042
  • Rose Hill Reporter   (316) 776-0097
    122 N. Rose Hill Rd., Rose Hill, KS 67133
  • Scoopfire - Online Newsletter

More Data About Butler County

Economic Development
  • Kansas County Profile Reports
    Statistical data from The Institute for Policy and Social Research, the University of Kansas
Health Data

Genealogy

Butler County Offices

  • Butler County   (316) 322-4232
    205 W. Central Ave., El Dorado, KS 67042
  • Extension Service   (316) 321-9660 or 1-800-894-1131
    206 N. Griffith, El Dorado, KS 67042

For more about Butler County contact: