Kansas Counties
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Kansas Counties

Kansas has one hundred and five counties. Originally 33 counties were organized by the Territorial Legislature in 1855. The Chase County Courthouse in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas was built in 1873 and is the oldest operating courthouse in Kansas. As of January 1, 2009 Greeley County and the city of Tribune unified to form the Unified Government of Greeley County..

Douglas County, Kansas

Douglas County Education, Geography, and HistoryDouglas County, Kansas Courthouse

Douglas County is a county located in the state of Kansas. Based on the 2010 census, the county population was 110,826, making it the fifth-most populous county in Kansas. Douglas County was created on August 25, 1855. The county seat and most populous city is Lawrence. The county is named in honor of Stephen Arnold Douglas (1813-1861), United States Senator from Illinois and advocate for the moderate popular sovereignty choice in the Kansas slavery debate.

Douglas County comprises the Lawrence, KS Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Kansas City-Overland Park-Kansas City, MO-KS Combined Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Douglas County Name

The county is named in honor of Stephen A. Douglas, United States Senator from Illinois, and candidate for the presidency in 1860. As a Senator, Douglas, in 1854, took a leading part in securing the adoption of the "popular sovereignty" principle in the Act organizing Kansas Territory, which gave the particular form of the issue involved in the Kansas struggle.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Douglas County History

Douglas county, located in Northeastern Kansas west of the Kansas City metropolitan area, is home to major Kansas universities including the University of Kansas.

Douglas County, located in the second tier of counties west of Missouri and in the fourth tier south of Nebraska, is bounded on the north by Jefferson and Leavenworth counties, from which it is separated by the Kansas river; on the east by Johnson county; on the south by Franklin county, and on the west by Osage and Shawnee counties. It is one of the original 33 counties created by the first territorial legislature with the following boundaries: "Beginning at the main channel of the Kansas river, at the northwest corner of Johnson county; thence south to the southwest corner of Johnson county; thence west 24 miles to a point equidistant between the limits (embraced in the original plots) of the towns of Lecompton and Tecumseh." It was named in honor of Stephen A. Douglas, United States senator from Douglas at the time of the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill.

The principal crops are winter wheat, Kafir-corn and hay, but the county ranks high in the production of Irish potatoes.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 475 square miles (1,230 km2), of which 456 square miles (1,180 km2) is land and 19 square miles (49 km2) (4.0%) is water.

 Douglas county is located in east Kansas. The country is rolling prairie, breaking into high bluffs along the Kansas and Wakarusa rivers. Timber found along the streams, and average about a mile in width. Most of native timber are ash, elm, cottonwood, oak, walnut and hackberry. The main water course is the Kansas river, which flows in a southeasterly direction and forms the northern boundary. The Wakarusa river flows  across the county from the west and empties into the Kansas river. Springs are plentiful and good well water is usually found at a depth of 25 feet. The soil is extremely fertile, and all grains grow well.  Limestone is extensively quarried in Wakarusa and Lecompton townships. Potter's clay is found along the Kansas river, and coal has been mined in limited quantities south of Lawrence.

Higher Education

University of Kansas

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Jefferson County
  • Northeast: Leavenworth County
  • East: Johnson County
  • Southeast: Miami County
  • South: Franklin County
  • Southwest: Osage County
  • Northwest: Shawnee County


Unified School Districts

Douglas County is served by seven school districts.

  • Lawrence USD 497 serves Lawrence and the Clinton Lake area.
  • Baldwin City USD 348 serves Baldwin City and most of southern Douglas County.
  • Perry-Lecompton USD 343 serves Lecompton and most of northwest Douglas County.
  • Eudora USD 491 serves Eudora and the northeast part of the county.
  • Santa Fe Trail USD 434 covers the southwest part of the county.
  • Wellsville USD 289 covers extreme southeast Douglas County.
  • Shawnee Heights USD 450 services the extreme western part of the county including Big Springs.

Universities and colleges

The University of Kansas's main campus is located in Lawrence as is Haskell Indian Nations University. Baker University, the state's oldest university, is located in Baldwin City

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