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Independence, Kansas

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Independence, Kansas

Independence, Kansas
Location of Independence, Kansas
Location of Independence, Kansas
Coordinates: [1]
Country United States
State Kansas
County Montgomery
 • Mayor Fred Meier
 • Total 7.75 sq mi (20.07 km2)
 • Land 7.74 sq mi (20.05 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)
Elevation[1] 804 ft (245 m)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 9,483
 • Estimate (2013)[4] 9,230
 • Density 1,200/sq mi (470/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 67301
Area code 620
FIPS code 20-33875 [1]
GNIS feature ID 0469414 [1]

Independence is a city in and the county seat of Montgomery County, Kansas, United States.[5] As of the 2010 census, the city population was 9,483.[6] It was named in commemoration of the Declaration of Independence.[7]


Independence was settled on land that was purchased from the Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. He originally called the townsite Colfax after Schuyler Colfax, Vice-president under President Ulysses S. Grant.[8] On August 21, 1869 a group of Oswego, Kansas men led by R.W. Wright settled there with the intent to make Independence the county seat.[9] E.E. Wilson and F.D. Irwin opened the first store in October 1869, Wilson & Irwin Groceries.[10] Independence was designated county seat in 1870.[11]

The first night game in the history of professional baseball was played in Independence on April 28, 1930 when the Muscogee (Oklahoma) Indians beat the Independence Producers 13 to 3 in a minor-league game sanctioned by the Western League of the Western Baseball Association with 1,500 fans attending the game. The permanent lighting system was first used for an exhibition game on April 17, 1930 between the Independence Producers and House of David semi-professional baseball team of Benton Harbor, Michigan, with the Independence team winning with a score of 9 to 1 before a crowd of 1,700 spectators.[12]

Miss Able, a rhesus monkey, was born at Ralph Mitchell Zoo. Miss Able along with Miss Baker, a squirrel monkey, became the first monkeys to fly in space; they returned alive on May 28, 1959.[13]


Independence is located at (37.2528455, -95.7058133),[1] along the Verdigris River just south of its confluence with the Elk River. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.75 square miles (20.07 km2), of which, 7.74 square miles (20.05 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water.[2]


Climate data for Independence, Kansas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 78
Average high °F (°C) 45
Average low °F (°C) 22
Record low °F (°C) −19
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.52


2010 census

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 9,483 people, 3,950 households, and 2,430 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,225.2 inhabitants per square mile (473.1/km2). There were 4,528 housing units at an average density of 585.0 per square mile (225.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.2% White, 6.5% African American, 1.6% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 2.3% from other races, and 4.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.5% of the population.

There were 3,950 households of which 33.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.9% were married couples living together, 14.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.5% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.95.

The median age in the city was 36.9 years. 26% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.5% were from 25 to 44; 24.9% were from 45 to 64; and 15.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.4% male and 51.6% female.

2000 census

As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 9,846 people, 4,149 households, and 2,609 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,979.4 people per square mile (764.9/km²). There were 4,747 housing units at an average density of 954.3 per square mile (368.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.00% White, 7.17% African American, 1.16% Native American, 0.62% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.10% from other races, and 2.95% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.84% of the population.

There were 4,149 households out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.8% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.1% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32, and the average family size was 2.93.

In the city the population was spread out, with 25.7% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 18.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,574, and the median income for a family was $37,134. Males had a median income of $26,552 versus $20,017 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,496. About 11.4% of families and 13.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.7% of those under age 18 and 13.2% of those age 65 or over.


Primary and secondary education

  • Independence High School, grades 9-12
  • Independence Middle School, grades 6-8
  • Jefferson Elementary School, grades 3-5
  • Eisenhower Elementary School, grades Pre-K-2
  • Zion Lutheran School, grades Pre-K-8
  • St. Andrews School, grades Pre-K-8
  • Independence Bible School, grades Pre-K-12
  • Tri-County Education Co-operative, special education, all grades

Community college

The Independence Community College main campus is located two miles south of the city. ICC West Campus is located in the city one mile west of the downtown. Each semester, over 1000 students are enrolled at ICC and about 100 people work there, making the college population an important contributor to the local economy as well as a significant portion of the people traveling about town.


Independence is located at the intersection of US-75 and US-160. Rail freight service is provided by the Union Pacific Railroad and South Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad. The Independence Municipal Airport (IDP) is located 5 miles (8.0 km) southwest of the center of the city.

Area events

  • Neewollah Festival, annual Halloween festival in late October. Neewollah is halloween spelled backwards.

Area attractions

  • Independence Community College is home to the William Inge Center for the Arts,[17] which maintains the archives of playwright and alumnus, William Inge. The center utilizes the writer's boyhood home for a playwrights-in-residence program, and sponsors the annual William Inge Festival. Each year during the festival a lifetime achievement award is bestowed on a nationally-recognized American playwright.
  • The State of Kansas designated the childhood home of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Ingalls family near Independence as a historic site; it is open to visitors. It is the location where the Charles Ingalls family resided between 1869-1871 and is described in his daughter Laura Ingalls Wilder's book Little House on the Prairie.[18] It includes a cabin modeled after the original and the post office that was originally located at nearby Wayside, Kansas. The Sunnyside School, a one-room schoolhouse that was moved to the site, is also featured. Much of the surrounding countryside retains its open and undeveloped nature. Then located on the Osage reservation, the property is now within the boundaries of the William Kurtis Ranch about 13 miles southwest of downtown Independence.[19]
  • At the 1964 New York World's Fair, Sinclair Oil sponsored a dinosaur exhibit, featuring life-size replicas of nine different dinosaurs. On flatbed trucks, they toured the United States. Sinclair was acquired by Atlantic Richfield (ARCO). After the acquisition by ARCO, one of the nine dinosaurs, the Corythosaurus, was donated to Riverside Park.

Notable people


  1. ^ a b c d e Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) details for Independence, Kansas; United States Geological Survey (USGS); October 13, 1978.
  2. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010".  
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  4. ^ a b "Population Estimates".  
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  6. ^ "2010 City Population and Housing Occupancy Status". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved March 6, 2011. 
  7. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 165. 
  8. ^ Rydjord, John (1972). Kansas Place-Names. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma. p. 349.  
  9. ^ Sherwood, Leon (1970). Official Centennial History of Independence, KS, p. 6. Independence Centennial Inc.
  10. ^ Sherwood, Leon (1970). Official Centennial History of Independence, KS, p. 7. Independence Centennial Inc.
  11. ^ Blackmar, Frank Wilson (1912). Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc.. Standard Publishing Company. p. 899. 
  12. ^ Bowman, Larry G. . Kansas History, Winter 1995/1996, pp 248–257. Kansas Historical Society. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ "Monthly Averages for Independence, Kansas".  
  15. ^  
  16. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  17. ^ William Inge Center for the Arts
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Little House on the Prairie Website"
  20. ^ "PSU honors three alumni for achievement". Press and Media webpage. Pittsburg State University. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  21. ^ Independence Daily Reporter, February 23, 2009, p. 1

Further reading

  • Brown, Ken D. A Guide to Historic Homes in Independence, Kansas Independence: Tribune, 1993.
Montgomery County
  • Humphrey, Lyman U. History of Montgomery County, Kansas. Iola: Duncan, 1903.
  • History of the State of Kansas; William G. Cutler; A.T. Andreas Publisher; 1883. (Online HTML eBook)
  • Kansas : A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc; 3 Volumes; Frank W. Blackmar; Standard Publishing Co; 944 / 955 / 824 pages; 1912. (Volume1 - Download 54MB PDF eBook),(Volume2 - Download 53MB PDF eBook), (Volume3 - Download 33MB PDF eBook)

External links

  • City of Independence
  • Independence - Directory of Public Officials
  • Independence Chamber of Commerce
  • USD 446, local school district
  • Independence Community College
  • Independence Public Library
  • Independence City Map, KDOT
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