Chautauqua County Courthouse - 1918
County Seat: Sedan
· 4,407 (1990)
· 11,804 (1900)
Area: 644 Square Miles
Standard Abbreviation: CQ
Chautauqua County is mostly covered with rocky, oak-covered hills.
Big valleys, particularly the valley of the Caney River, have rich
and fertile farms and some of the hills are clear and home to thousands
of grazing cattle. The spectacular beauty and ruggedness of the countryside
make it a great place for outdoor vacations. Steve Harper's book
of Kansas day trips has a nice tour of the County.
Organized in 1875.
County seat Sedan.
Created out of a portion of what was first
Godfrey county, named after "Bill" Godfrey,
a noted trader among the Osages; then Howard
county in honor of Major-General O. O. Howard,
for his efforts in behalf of the Union.
Chautauqua county N.Y., was the former home
of Hon. Edward Jaquins, a member of the Kansas
Legislature in 1875 from Howard county, who
introduced the bill which divided Howard into
Chautauqua and Elk; hence, from his native
place this county derives its name.
The name originally given (in 1855) to Howard
was Godfrey, and the name changed to Seward
in 1861. In 1867, the Legislature,
ignoring former names, created the county
Map and text from History of Kansas,
Noble Prentis, (Winfield: E.P. Greer. 1899)
Chautauqua County was founded in 1875 when Howard County was split
in two after bitter county seat wars. Early settlers benefited from
the cattle trade from Oklahoma and Texas. In 1904, oil was discovered
and the area had a big "boomtown" era.
William G. Cutler's History of Kansas
, first published in 1883, tells about early Chautauqua County
There is a section on Chautauqua 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
The Kansas State Historical Society also has
for Chautauqua County online including a rich bibliography and lists of
cemeteries, post offices, and newspapers.
Cities, Towns, & Villages of Chautauqua County
Town Population ZIP Founded Elevation
================= ========== ====== ======= =========
Cedar Vale 723 67024 949
Chautauqua 113 67334 903
Elgin 82 784
Niotaze 122 67355 765
Peru 183 67360 1870 784
Sedan 1,342 67361 1876 862
Census Bureau Quick Facts
Special Places in Chautauqua County
- Around the turn of the century Elgin was the biggest cattle
shipping town in the world and it was a boom town again later
when oil was found. Now the last business in town, Margaret's Cafe,
is closed and the sign outside it that announced "the town too tough
to die" has been taken down.
- Sedan is proud of its Yellow Brick Road. The Oz theme
is almost everywhere in the downtown area.
- Ackarman Hardware in Sedan has been open since 1879;
it's an American classic.
- The Emmett Kelly Museum in Sedan honors the famous clown
Emmett Kelly (1898-1979) and his sad-faced character "Willie".
- The road from Elgin to Hewins is one of the prettiest in Kansas,
winding back and forth over of the Caney River through jumbles of giant
boulders. Stop at Wilson's Cemetery and you can walk down by the
river. At another crossing the millstones from Hart's Mill (1870) are
displayed by the road.
- The "Wee Kirk of the Valley" is a tiny chapel beside the scenic
road from Cedar Vale to Hewins.
Special Events in Chautauqua County
- The county fair and rodeo are held in Sedan in July.
- Sedan holds its Yellow Brick Road Festival over the Memorial Day Weekend.
- Each spring the hills are covered with redbuds and special tour maps
guide you to the best spots for viewing.
Chautauqua County School Systems
- Cedar Vale Community Hospital (620) 758-2266
501 Cedar / Cedar Vale, KS 67024
- Sedan City Hospital (620) 725-3115
300 W. North St. / Sedan, KS 67361
- Cedar Vale Memorial Library (620) 758-2598
606 Cedar / Cedar Vale, KS 67024
- Sedan Public Library (620) 725-3405
115 N. Chautauqua Street / Sedan, KS 67361
- Cedar Vale Museum (620) 758-2590
618 Cedar, Cedar Vale, KS 67024
- Emmett Kelley Museum (620) 725-3470
204 E. Main St., Sedan, KS 67361
Newspapers & Publications
More Data about Chautauqua County
- Kansas County Profile Reports
Statistical data from The Institute for Policy and Social Research, the University of Kansas
Chautauqua County Offices
For more about Chautauqua County contact:
- Cedar Vale Chamber of Commerce (620) 758-2244
303 Jefferson / P. O. Box 518, Cedar Vale, KS 67024
- Chautauqua County Council on Aging (Chautauqua County Health Department) (620) 725-5850
215 North Chautauqua, Sedan, KS 67361 (the courthouse)
- Chautauqua County Tourism
P. O. Box 185, Sedan, KS 67361
Sedan Area Chamber of Commerce (620) 725-4033
P. O. Box 182, Sedan, KS 67361
- Sedan Area Economic Development Committee (620) 725-3815
P. O. Box 226, Sedan, KS 67361
- Fitzgerald, Daniel, Ghost Towns of Kansas
(Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1988)
- Harper, Steve. 83,000 Square Miles
(Wichita: The Eagle and Beacon Publishing Co. 1990)
Last updated on
November 29, 2009
A service of the Kansas State Library
Graphics by John Howell,
photos by Susan Howell,
used by permission.