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Baldwin City, Kansas facts for kids

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Baldwin City, Kansas
Downtown Baldwin City (2008)
Downtown Baldwin City (2008)
Location within Douglas County and Kansas
Location within Douglas County and Kansas
KDOT map of Douglas County (legend)
Country United States
State Kansas
County Douglas
Founded 1850s
Incorporated 1870
Named for John Baldwin
 • Total 2.69 sq mi (6.96 km2)
 • Land 2.67 sq mi (6.92 km2)
 • Water 0.02 sq mi (0.04 km2)
1,037 ft (316 m)
 • Total 4,515
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,758.98/sq mi (679.22/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code 785
FIPS code 20-03900
GNIS ID 0479524
Aerial View of Baldwin City, Kansas 8-31-2013
Aerial View of Baldwin City

Baldwin City is a city in Douglas County, Kansas, United States about 12 miles (19 km) south of Lawrence and 15 miles (24 km) west of Gardner. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 4,515. The city is home to Baker University, the state's oldest four-year university.


Old Castle Museum
The Old Castle Museum, the first building constructed for Baker University. To the right is a replica of Kibbee Cabin.

Early history

Baldwin City began as a trail stop on the Santa Fe Trail named Palmyra. The small town consisted of a harness shop, blacksmith, hotel, lawyer, drug store, two doctors and a tavern. In 1858, a group of Methodist ministers gathered at Kibbee Cabin and founded Baker University. The town of Palmyra bought land to the south for the university and surrounding city. A main benefactor was John Baldwin and the town was named in his honor. Baldwin built a saw mill which was at present-day Fifth and Indiana Streets.

The first post office in the town, then called Palmyra, was established in June, 1857. Baldwin was incorporated on September 22, 1870.

Baldwin City unwittingly found themselves surrounded by the events that led up to the American Civil War. Three miles east of Baldwin was the town site of Black Jack where the Battle of Black Jack took place on June 2, 1856. The night before that battle, John Brown stayed in Prairie City. In 1863, Quantrill's raiders passed within three miles (5 km) of Baldwin after the burning of Lawrence.

Midland Railway

In 1867, the Leavenworth, Lawrence and Fort Gibson railroad laid tracks and became the first Kansas railroad south of the Kansas River. In 1906, the Santa Fe Depot was built and today the Midland Railway offers over 20-mile round trip excursion rides to Ottawa via "Nowhere" and Norwood. Midland's Scout program is one of the few in the country to offer a railroading merit badge and Midland has hosted a Thomas the Tank Engine attraction the last few years.

Maple Leaf Festival

Every year since 1957, Baldwin City has hosted the Maple Leaf Festival during the third full weekend in October. It began as a way to celebrate a successful harvest and to view the fall foliage. Today, it is the largest fall family event in the area and features a parade, arts and crafts, quilt show, theatrical performances, history tours, train rides and live music. Annually it draws crowds of 30,000 or more.


Baldwin City is located at 38°46′39″N 95°11′15″W / 38.77750°N 95.18750°W / 38.77750; -95.18750 (38.777597, -95.187418). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 2.64 square miles (6.84 km2), of which, 2.62 square miles (6.79 km2) is land and 0.02 square miles (0.05 km2) is water.


The area's climate is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Baldwin City has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 325
1890 935 187.7%
1900 1,017 8.8%
1910 1,386 36.3%
1920 1,137 −18.0%
1930 1,127 −0.9%
1940 1,096 −2.8%
1950 1,741 58.9%
1960 1,877 7.8%
1970 2,520 34.3%
1980 2,829 12.3%
1990 2,961 4.7%
2000 3,400 14.8%
2010 4,515 32.8%
2019 (est.) 4,700 4.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

Baldwin City is part of the Lawrence Metropolitan Statistical Area.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 4,515 people, 1,501 households, and 1,011 families living in the city. The population density was 1,723.3 inhabitants per square mile (665.4/km2). There were 1,665 housing units at an average density of 635.5 per square mile (245.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.4% White, 2.1% African American, 0.7% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.6% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.0% of the population.

There were 1,501 households, of which 37.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.6% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 32.6% were non-families. 26.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.08.

The median age in the city was 30.2 years. 24.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 20.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.9% were from 25 to 44; 20.1% were from 45 to 64; and 11.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.5% male and 51.5% female.



Primary and secondary education

The USD 348 School District in Baldwin City and serves most of southern Douglas County. It maintains four schools in Baldwin City (Baldwin Elementary, Baldwin Intermediate, Baldwin Junior High and Baldwin High School). On December 13, 2010, the USD 348 Board of Education voted to close the schools in Vinland and Worden at the end of the 2010–2011 school year.

  • Baldwin High School is home to the Bulldogs.


Baldwin City is home to the main campus of Baker University, a liberal arts university founded in 1858 by United Methodist ministers. It is the oldest four-year university in Kansas and has been coed since it was founded.

Notable people

See also

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