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County Seat: Cottonwood Falls
Founded: 1859
  · 3,030 (2000)
  · 3,021 (1990)
  · 8,246 (1900)
Area: 776 Square Miles
Standard Abbreviation: CS 




Chase County

Chase County Courthouse in Cottonwood Falls
Chase County contains vast areas of unspoiled prairie, used and managed as grasslands since it was settled.  In the spring, after the pastures have been burnt, some of the hills look like they are all rock without enough soil to support life, and it's easy to see where the name Flint Hills came from.  Later, by the end of May, the harshness is buried in a thick carpet of wildflowers and lush bluestem grasses.
Sharp's Creek Drive is probably the prettiest drive in the county, if not the state.  Head south and east from Bazaar and go at least a couple of miles beyond the Kansas Turnpike onto the open range to experience what the first settlers must have seen and felt.  If you travel east from Matfield Green you can still ford the Verdigris river.  The road west from Matfield Green through Wonsevu to Burns in Marion County provides a similar experience.  Stop somewhere and savor the solitude and silence.  If you can't visit, William Least Heat-Moon's 1991 book, Prairy Erth, captures the spirit of the land.  Wagon train tours through the Flint Hills are another nice way to experience this area.


Map of Chase County, KS in 1899
Organized in 1859. County seat, Cottonwood Falls. Created out of portions of Wise and Butler counties, and named in honor of Salmon P. Chase, successively Governor of Ohio, United States Senator, Secretary of the Treasury, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. In the Senate, he was earnest in his opposition to the extension of slavery into Kansas.
Map and text from History of Kansas, Noble Prentis, (Winfield: E.P. Greer. 1899)

William G. Cutler's History of Kansas, first published in 1883, tells about early Chase County.
There is a section on Chase County in the book Kansas: a Cyclopedia Of State History by Frank Blackmar (1912).
The Special Collections of the Ablah Library at WSU contain historical images of Cottonwood Falls, Elmdale, & Strong City.
The Kansas State Historical Society also has more historical data for Chase County online including a rich bibliography and lists of cemeteries, post offices, and newspapers.

Cities, Towns, & Villages of Chase County

  Year  Elev  Population Name              ZIP
  ====  ====  ========== ================ =====
        1220             Bazaar
        1250          53 Cedar Point      66843
        1223             Clements         66843
  1858  1175         966 Cottonwood Falls 66845
        1150             Ellinor
        1200          50 Elmdale          66850
        1172             Gladstone
        1250             Hymer
        1430          60 Matfield Green   66862
        1190             Neva
        1229             Rockland
        1146             Saffordville
        1182         584 Strong City      66869
        1160             Toledo
        1354             Wonsevu
Census Bureau Quick Facts

Special Places

  • The Courthouse is at the end of "Broadway", the main business street in Cottonwood Falls.  Take a guided tour of this building, which is one of the oldest court houses still serving as a court house west of the Mississippi.  The highlights are the wooden staircase and the jail.  The main street slopes down from the old courthouse to the historic Cottonwood River Bridge, which has been restored and is now open to pedestrian and bicycle traffic, as part of the Community Connection Trail. The CCT links Cottonwood Falls to Strong City and on to the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve via a new trail between the two towns, improved sidewalks through Strong City and the restored bridge. The Z-Bar Ranch house
  • The 1881 Z-Bar ranch near Strong City (also known as the Spring Hill Ranch) is located on our nation's newest National Park, Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.  The ranch, with a wonderful stone house and famous outhouse, has 11,000 never-ploughed acres of prairie that form the heart of the prairie park.  The Kansas Park Trust, which operates the property, has a lovely website that also includes the hours the park is open.  The self-guided circular hiking trail is 1.5 miles across the prairie from the ranch house to the stone Lower Fox Creek school (1882) beside K-177 and back.
  • Just east of Cottonwood Falls is the Nelson Ranch built around 1867 by Samuel N. Wood who was later the most prominent casualty of the Stevens county seat war.
  • Cedar Point has an old mill building beside the Cottonwood river. Get out on the bridge for the best view of the mill.  There's a spring here, too.
  • Just south of Clements is the remarkable old (1886) Clements stone arch bridge with two arches.  It is the largest in Kansas.
Fox Creek School, Chase County, Kansas
Lower Fox Creek School

Special Events

  • Cottonwood Falls is host to many events, including the
    • The Prairie Fire Festival, held in April, celebrating the time when "the hills are set on fire in anticipation of the new bluestem grass of spring."
    • the Flint Hills FolkLife Festival, held in June, and
    • the Emma Chase Cafe's wide variety of reoccurring musical events including Tall Grass Pickers, Gospel, Rock and Roll, and more, and special breakfasts (for bikers, bicyclists, antique auto enthusiasts, and more).

  • The Flint Hills Rodeo in early June, they hold a parade up highway 177 from Cottonwood Falls to Strong City. 
  • The Chase County Country Christmas is held the Saturday after Thanksgiving. See the Chase County Chamber website for more information.


School Systems



  • Chase County Leader-News   (620) 273-6391
    306 Broadway / Cottonwood Falls, KS 66845

More Data About Chase County

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


Chase County Offices

  • Chase County Clerk   (620) 273-6423
  • Extension Service   (620) 273-6491
    Courthouse Square, PO Box 100, Cottonwood Falls, KS 66845

For more about Chase County:

Last updated on July 26, 2011 by COUNTIES@KSLIB.INFO
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