Much of Kingman county is grassland covering red sand. The South Fork of the Ninnescah river winds its way across the north part of the county and the Chikaskia River crosses the southern part. Tradition has it that there was only one tree in the county when it was founded; early settlers planted windbreaks that are magnificent now. The heart of this county is the huge Byron Walker game preserve and public hunting area. Cheney Lake touches the northeastern corner of the county and the state lake is near Calista in the center.
Highway US-54 crosses the heart of Kingman County, going east to Wichita and west to Pratt. K-42 also crosses the county from east to west. Highways K-14 and K-17 go north-south and K-2 cuts across the southeastern corner. Wichita's 21st Street winds around the dam at Cheney Lake, and runs across northern part of the county, joining Mt. Vernon, Varner, and Penalosa.
Cities, Towns, & Villages of Kingman County
2000 Year Elev Population Name ZIP ==== ==== ========== ================ ===== 1450 Adams 1588 Alameda 1595 Basil 1585 Belmont 67068 1590 Calista 1650 Cleveland 1885 1705 514 Cunningham 67035 1466 Georgia 1872 1550 3,387 Kingman 67068 1405 Lansdowne 1430 Midway 1475 Mount Vernon 1884 1472 Murdock 67111 1740 111 Nashville 67112 1885 1490 551 Norwich 67118 1725 27 Penalosa 67035 1450 Rago 67128 1760 St. Leo 1700 Skellyville 1887 1510 80 Spivey 67142 1525 Varner 1450 Waterloo 1675 Willowdale 1887 1663 123 Zenda 67159
Kingman County was created after Governor Osborne received a somewhat questionable petition claiming that the county had over 600 settlers. The town and the county were named for Samuel A. Kingman, early president of the Kansas Bar Association and Chief Justice of the state supreme court as well as first president of the Kansas State Historical Society.
Highway 54 is officially designated as the Cannonball Stageline Highway from the east edge of Kingman thru Greensburg--so named for the colorful stagecoach driver who ran the Cannon Ball Stage Line beginning originally in Wichita, moved westward to Kingman, and from there on westward ahead of the railroads. Without him and other stage lines, western Kansas would have been settled much slower.
Clyde Cessna built a monoplane on his farm near Rago in 1910.
William G. Cutler's History of Kansas, first published in 1883, tells about early Kingman County.
One of the rail lines that served Kingman County was the Hutchinson & Southern, a remarkable railroad built by a group of Kansas businessmen without spending any of their own money. It later became part of the A.T.&S.F.
The courthouse in Kingman, completed in 1908, was one of several beautiful courthouses in Kansas designed by George P. Washburn.
There is a section on Kingman 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 Cunningham, Kingman, Norwich, & Spivey.
County death records from 1900-1912, compiled from local sources by the Kingman Carnegie Library are available online.
Sample the local news from the Kingman Journal for September 18, 1885 or from the Norwich Herald for June 2, 1905.
The Kansas State Historical Society also has more historical data for Kingman County online including a rich bibliography and lists of cemeteries, post offices, and newspapers.
With the permission of the Kingman County Historical Society, excerpts from the book Kingman County, Kansas, And Its People. (Kingman: Kingman County Historical Society. 1984) are online:
Updated April 8, 2011 by KCEDC Web Admin