County Seat: Cottonwood Falls
· 3,030 (2000)
· 3,021 (1990)
· 8,246 (1900)
Area: 776 Square Miles
Standard Abbreviation: CS
Chase County contains vast areas of unspoiled prairie, used
and managed as grasslands since it was settled. In the spring,
after the pastures have been burnt, some of the hills
look like they are all rock without enough soil to support life,
and it's easy to see where the name Flint Hills came from.
Later, by the end of May, the harshness is buried in a thick carpet
of wildflowers and lush bluestem grasses.
Sharp's Creek Drive is probably the prettiest drive in the county, if not
the state. Head south and east from Bazaar and go at least a couple of
miles beyond the Kansas Turnpike onto the open range to experience what the
first settlers must have seen and felt. If you travel east from Matfield
Green you can still ford the Verdigris river. The road west from Matfield Green
through Wonsevu to Burns in Marion
provides a similar experience. Stop somewhere and savor the solitude and silence.
If you can't visit, William Least Heat-Moon's 1991 book, Prairy Erth
captures the spirit of the land. Wagon train tours through the Flint Hills
are another nice way to experience this area.
|Organized in 1859. County seat,
Created out of portions of Wise and Butler counties,
and named in honor of Salmon P. Chase, successively
Governor of Ohio, United States Senator, Secretary
of the Treasury, and Chief Justice of the Supreme
Court. In the Senate, he was earnest in his
opposition to the extension of slavery into Kansas.
Map and text from History of Kansas,
Noble Prentis, (Winfield: E.P. Greer. 1899)
Cities, Towns, & Villages of Chase County
Census Bureau Quick Facts
Year Elev Population Name ZIP
==== ==== ========== ================ =====
1250 53 Cedar Point 66843
1223 Clements 66843
1858 1175 966 Cottonwood Falls 66845
1200 50 Elmdale 66850
1430 60 Matfield Green 66862
1182 584 Strong City 66869
- The Courthouse is at the end of "Broadway", the main business street in Cottonwood Falls.
Take a guided tour of this building, which is one of the oldest court
houses still serving as a court house west of the Mississippi.
The highlights are the wooden staircase and the jail.
The main street slopes down from the old courthouse to the historic Cottonwood River Bridge, which has been restored
and is now open to pedestrian and bicycle traffic, as part of the Community Connection Trail. The CCT links Cottonwood
Falls to Strong City and on to the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve via a new trail between the two towns, improved
sidewalks through Strong City and the restored bridge.
- The 1881 Z-Bar ranch near Strong City (also
known as the Spring Hill Ranch) is located on our nation's newest National Park, Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. The ranch, with a wonderful stone house and famous
outhouse, has 11,000 never-ploughed acres of prairie that form the heart
of the prairie park. The Kansas Park Trust, which operates the
property, has a lovely website that also includes the hours the park is open. The self-guided circular hiking trail is 1.5 miles
across the prairie from the ranch house to the stone Lower Fox Creek school
(1882) beside K-177 and back.
- Just east of Cottonwood Falls is the Nelson Ranch built
around 1867 by Samuel N. Wood who was later the most prominent casualty
of the Stevens county seat war.
- Cedar Point has an old mill building beside the Cottonwood river.
Get out on the bridge for the best view of the mill. There's a spring here, too.
- Just south of Clements is the remarkable old (1886) Clements stone arch bridge with two arches. It is the largest in Kansas.
Lower Fox Creek School
- Cottonwood Falls is host to many events, including the
- The Prairie Fire Festival, held in April, celebrating the time when "the hills are set on fire in anticipation of the new bluestem grass of spring."
- the Flint Hills FolkLife Festival, held in June, and
- the Emma Chase Cafe's wide variety of reoccurring musical events including Tall Grass Pickers, Gospel, Rock and Roll, and more, and special breakfasts (for bikers, bicyclists, antique auto enthusiasts, and more).
- The Flint Hills Rodeo in early June, they hold a parade up
highway 177 from Cottonwood Falls to Strong City.
- The Chase County Country Christmas is held the Saturday after Thanksgiving. See the Chase County Chamber website for more information.
- Chase County Leader-News (620) 273-6391
306 Broadway / Cottonwood Falls, KS 66845
More Data About Chase County
- Kansas County Profile Reports
Statistical data from The Institute for Policy and Social Research, the University of Kansas
Chase County Offices
- Chase County Clerk (620) 273-6423
- Extension Service (620) 273-6491
Courthouse Square, PO Box 100, Cottonwood Falls, KS 66845
For more about Chase County:
Last updated on
July 26, 2011
A service of the Kansas State Library
Graphics by John Howell,
photos by Susan Howell,
used by permission.