Elk County Courthouse
County Seat: Howard
· 3,261 (2000)
· 3,327 (1990)
· 11,443 (1900)
Area: 650 Square Miles
Standard Abbreviation: EK
The Elk River runs across Elk county from the northwest corner
to the southeast corner. The Fall river drains the northeast
corner of the county; the southwest corner near Grenola has the
beautiful Caney river valley. These various waterways have
carved the whole county with big valleys and small canyons.
As you travel the county from west to east, you descend about
500 feet from the Flint Hills of Cowley county to the river
bottoms that form the Elk City lake in Montgomery county. The
rugged terrain leads some to call this area "the Kansas Ozarks."
Farming, ranching, and oil & gas
production are all important to the local economy.
runs across southern Elk County.
|Organized in 1875. County seat
Howard. Created out of the northern portion
of what had been Howard county. Named for the
Elk river, which traverses its area from northwest
to southeast. (See Chautauqua.)
Map and text from History of Kansas,
Noble Prentis, (Winfield: E.P. Greer. 1899)
Elk county was formed, along with Chautauqua county, when
Howard County was split into two counties on March 25, 1875.
William G. Cutler's History of Kansas
, first published in 1883, tells about early Elk County
There is a section on Elk 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 Elk County online including a rich bibliography and lists of
cemeteries, post offices, and newspapers.
Cities, Towns, & Villages of Elk County
Town Population ZIP Year Elevation
================= ========== ========= ==== =========
Busby 1884 948
Cave Springs 1873 1095
Elk Falls 112 67345 1870 938
Grenola 231 67346 1879 1117
Howard 808 67349 1870 1040
Longton 394 67352 1870 918
Moline 457 67353 1879 1055
Oak Valley 1879 868
Union Center 1867
Western Park 1885
Census Bureau Profile & Map
Special Places in Elk County
- Frank Hobbs, the first teacher in Elk County, is buried two miles north of Howard along highway K-99
- The Elk County Courthouse, just east of downtown Howard, was completed in 1908.
- The old stone jail in Longton is still standing at the foot of the water tower; walk up and look inside at the primitive facilities for "crooks". It cost $413 when it was built in 1905.
- The beauty of the dam and falls at Elk Falls can be viewed "up close" or from an antique iron bridge built in 1892.
Special Events in Elk County
- Longton Free Fair
- Howard's Elk River Festival - last Saturday in September; crafts, contests.
- Elk County Fair in Howard - in July.
- Annual Elk Falls open house - Friday and Saturday before Thanksgiving.
Elk County School Systems
- Grenola Public Library
P. O. Box 131 / Grenola, KS 67346
- Howard City Library
P. O. Box 785 / Howard, KS 67349
- Moline Public Library (620) 647-3310
107 N. Main / P. O. Box 96 / Moline, KS 67353
- Grain Elevator Museum (620) 358-3241 / Grenola - Sat & Sun 2-4
- Benson Museum (620) 374-2142 / Howard - Open by appointment
Consists of several buildings including:
- Country Schoolhouse & Teacher's Quarters
* Authentic old school
- Gragg Agricultural Bldg. * Farm Implements
- Shaffer Museum / Moline
More Data About Elk County
- Kansas County Profile Reports
Statistical data from The Institute for Policy and Social Research, the University of Kansas
- Elk County Historical Society, Elk County ( 1979 )
- Mann, Henrietta. A Brief Historical Sketch of the Settlements of Elk County (Pittsburg: Kansas State Teachers College 1940) unpublished thesis.
- WPA The WPA Guide to 1930s Kansas ( Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. 1984 )
Elk County Offices
- Elk County (620) 374-2490
P. O. Box 606 / Howard, KS 67349
- Extension Service (620) 374-2174
130 S Pennsylvania, Box 647, Howard KS, 67349-0647
For more about Elk County contact:
- Longton Economic Development Committee
P. O. Box 241 / Longton, KS 67352
- Elk County Council on Aging 620-374-2403
134 E. Washington #B, Howard, KS 67349
Last updated on
November 29, 2009
A service of the Kansas State Library
Graphics by John Howell,
photos by Susan Howell,
used by permission.