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Location of Washington County
County Seat: Washington
Founded: 1860
    ·   6,483 (2000)
    ·   7,073 (1990)
    · 21,963 (1900)
Area: 900 Square Miles
Standard Abbreviation: WS
Area Code: 785

Washington County 

Washington County Courthouse, photo by Susan Howell.


        Washington, County, Kansas, is an agricultural area thirty miles square with twelve incorporated communities. Crops grown in the county include mainly wheat, milo or grain sorghum, corn, soybeans, alfalfa, prairie hay and some sunflowers. The county ranks high in the state in pork production. Many cow-calf herds roam the beautiful prairie grasslands.

        The county is very diversified in industry ranging from metal fabrication companies, construction, silk screening, woodworking, pet wholesaling, pallet building, and machining companies.

        The geography of the county finds us located in three geologic regions: the Smoky Hills, Flint Hills, and Glaciated Regions. This gives us a diverse geography of fertile river and creek valleys, to flatland regions, to rolling hills, varying across the county.

  -   Mrs. Billie Jo Smart


Map of Washington County, KS in 1899
Organized in 1873. County seat Washington. Named in honor of George Washington, the first president of the United States.
Map and text from History of Kansas, Noble Prentis, (Winfield: E.P. Greer. 1899)
        Settlers began to come into this area after the Kansas Territory was opened in 1854. However, most of the thousands of goldseekers traveled across Washington County in 1849 along the Oregon Trail on their way to California. Not until 1857 did the first settlers come in numbers to carve out farms in the rich creek and river valleys. Little did the gold seekers realize that the lush prairie grass covered a wealth far more precious and lasting that the glitter of metal.

        Swedes, Germans, Dutch, Danes, Bohemians, French, Scots, English, and Irish settled in the county until it became a miniature melting pot all in itself.

        The map shown here is from History of Kansas by Noble Prentis (1899).

        The sixth principal meridian was established in the northwest corner of the county on June 11, 1856, and a red sandstone marker was set at this point. From this point all land in Kansas, Nebraska, three quarters of Colorado, most of Wyoming, and a small part of South Dakota was surveyed and numbered. A marker, dedicated on June 11, 1987, or 131 years after being set by Charles Manners, today marks this location.

-   Mrs. Billie Jo Smart, Washington County Economic Development
William G. Cutler's History of Kansas, first published in 1883, tells about early Washington County.
There is a section on Washington County in the book Kansas: a Cyclopedia Of State History by Frank W. Blackmar (1912).
The Special Collections of the Ablah Library at WSU contain historical images of Washington, Mahaska, Hanover, Barnes, Greenleaf, and Clifton.
The Kansas State Historical Society also has more historical data for Washingon County online including a rich bibliography and lists of cemeteries, post offices, and newspapers.

Cities, Towns, & Villages of Washington County

                         2000                  School
   Town               Population   Year   ZIP   Dist.  Elevation
   ============       ==========   ====  ===== ======= =========
   Barnes                    152         66933 USD 223   1331
   Clifton                   557         66937 USD 224   1302
   Greenleaf                 357         66943 USD 222   1417
   Haddam                    169         66944 USD 221   1400
   Hanover                   653   1857  66945 USD 223   1231
   Hollenberg                 31         66946 USD 223   1271
   Linn                      425         66953 USD 223   1460
   Mahaska                   107         66955 USD 221   1600
   Morrowville               168   1884  66958 USD 221   1350
   Palmer                    108         66962 USD 223   1325
   Vining                     58         66937 USD 224
   Washington              1,223   1860  66968 USD 222   1335
Census Bureau Profile & Map

Special Places in Washington County

  • Greenleaf has a nice 1970s-vintage "town center" commercial building, new homes, and a nice park.
  • The Opera House building in Barnes was built in 1908 as the Dearborn Store and Opera House. While you're there, look for the 1887 Community State Bank.
  • The stone jail in Haddam was built in 1901 when the city council was made up entirely of women.
  • The world's first bulldozer was built at Morrowville in 1923. There's a replica in Cummings Park in Morrowville.
  • The Hollenberg Pony Express Station near Hanover was built in 1857 as a relay point for the riders, and to accomodate travelers. It's open for tours Wednesday through Sunday. Hanover has an ornate brick sculpture telling visitors about it.
  • There is a log cabin dating from 1882 in the city park in Washington.
  • Washington County State Lake is in the northern part of the county near highway K-15.

Special Events in Washington County

  • Each year Morrowville has its Barbeque Festival. The "pork fest", held on the second Sunday in June, includes a barbeque pork supper.
  • The Washington County Fair is the third week of July in Washington.
  • The last weekend of July, Haddam holds its Frontier Days celebration.
  • Hanover Days of '49 are usually held in August and include parades, music, and carnival attractions.
  • Barnes has its Old Home Days on the second weekend in August.
  • Clifton has a Country Music Festival the third weekend in August.
  • The Pony Express Festival is held the last Sunday in August at the Hollenberg Station historical site. It's a full day of fun dedicated to celebrating pioneer life.
  • On Labor Day, Palmer has a Fun Day with a ball tournament, arts and crafts, a parade, and barbeque.
  • The Greenleaf Community Festival is the fourth Sunday in September.
  • Clifton celebrates Veterans Day with a parade at 2:00 PM and a program in Berner Park.


  • Clifton City Library   (785) 455-2222
    104 East Parallel St, Clifton, KS 66937
  • Greenleaf City Library   (785) 747-2443
    408 Commercial St, Greenleaf, KS 66943
    Open Tue, Wed, Thu 1:00-4:00, Thu 9:00-11:00
  • Haddam City Library
    610 Main St, Haddam, KS 66944
  • Hanover Public Library   (785) 337-2261
    P. O. Box 97, Hanover, KS 66945
  • Washington Library   (785) 325-2114
    116 E. Second, Washington, KS 66968


  • Clifton Community Historical Society Museum   (785) 455-3555
    Clifton & Railroad, Clifton, KS 66937
  • Hollenberg Pony Express Station   (785) 337-2635
    East of town on K-243 - State Historical Site
  • Washington County Museum & Log Cabin   (785) 325-2198
    P. O. Box 31 / 206 Ballard, Washington, KS 66968
    Mon. - Fri. 9am-12pm, 1pm - 4pm
    Sun. 2pm - 4 pm
    Early drugstore & barber shop

Washington County School Systems


  • Hanover Hospital & Clinic   (785) 337-2214
    Hanover, KS 66945
  • Washington County Hospital   (785) 325-2211
    304 E 3rd St., Washington, KS 66968


  • Clifton News-Tribune   (785) 455-3466
    103 W. Parallel St., Clifton, KS 66937
  • Hanover News   (785) 337-2242
    200 Railroad, Hanover, KS 66945
  • Linn-Palmer Record   (785) 348-5481
    405 Second Street, Linn, Kansas 66953
  • Washington County News   (785) 325-2219
    211 C. Street / P. O. Box 316, Washington, KS 66968-0368

More Data About Washington County

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



  • WPA. WPA Guide to 1930s Kansas (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, reprint 1984) See tour 1, pages 314-316.

Washington County Offices

For more about Washington County contact:

  • Washington County Economic Development   (785) 325-2638
    Court House, Washington, KS 66968
  • Washington County Travel and Tourism   (785) 325-2116
    Court House, Washington, KS 66968
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Last updated on November 29, 2009 by COUNTIES@KSLIB.INFO
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