Cherokee County, organized in 1866, was named because of a large portion of the Cherokee Neutral Lands Tribal Reservation was included within the county. Our county is situated in the very southeastern corner of Kansas, located in the Kansas Ozarks. We border Missouri to our east and Oklahoma to our south.
Cherokee County is home to over 21,000 residents and encompasses 587 square miles, many of which are utilized as agricultural land, allowing farmers and ranchers to raise livestock, and grow a wide-array of crops, such as corn, wheat, and soybeans, among others.
Two rivers pass through our county, Spring River and Neosho River. In addition, there are dozens of public hunting and fishing areas maintained by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. Campsites, hiking trails, and recreational areas can be found at many of these public sites. Cherokee County waterways have been home to two state fish records, an 11.80 pound, 28 and ½ inch long largemouth bass, and a 36.5 pound, 38 inch long channel catfish. Our public strip pits are the result of Cherokee County’s mining history. Big Brutus, the second largest electric shovel in the world, created many of our public strip pits, as it was used to dig for coal. Big Brutus reaches 16 stories tall, weighing 11 million pounds. It, along with a public museum, is located southwest of the City of West Mineral.
Many visitors also enjoy discovering Cherokee County’s rich history by examining exhibits at our museums such as the Baxter Springs Heritage Center and Museum, the Columbus Museum and Cherokee County Genealogical Society, and the Galena Mining and Historical Museum. The Heart of the Heartlands Carona Depot is host to railroad enthusiasts throughout the year who gather to find a restored Missouri Pacific Depot and Boston Depot (built in 1882). Visitors are also offered excursion train rides during specific times of the year. The Carona Depot is located two miles west of the City of Scammon.
In addition, travelers every year come to Cherokee County to discover the only portion of “The Mother Road,” Historic Route 66 that passes through the State of Kansas. Traveling Route 66 in Cherokee County will take you through the towns of Baxter Springs, Riverton, and Galena. Many also stop along the route to admire the “Rainbow Bridge,” which is the only surviving Marsh Arch Bridge along the entire span of Historic Route 66. Rainbow Bridge is located approximately two miles west of Riverton.
The Cherokee County Courthouse is located in the county seat, Columbus, and is surrounded by a historic 1880’s town square. In front of the courthouse, enclosed in a 40-foot tower, is a 1919 Seth Thomas clock, the only such clock to be in working order.
Cherokee County has great places to live, work, and raise your family.
Whether you are a current Cherokee County resident, are visiting, or just passing through, we hope you have an opportunity to enjoy it with us.