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Cawker City, Kansas
Water Tower and Downtown (2012)(view from near the Ball of Twine)
Water Tower and Downtown (2012)
(view from near the Ball of Twine)
Location within Mitchell County and Kansas
Location within Mitchell County and Kansas
KDOT map of Mitchell County (legend)
Country United States
State Kansas
County Mitchell
Founded 1870
Incorporated 1874
Named for Colonel E.H. Cawker
 • Total 1.01 sq mi (2.61 km2)
 • Land 1.01 sq mi (2.61 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
1,493 ft (455 m)
 • Total 457
 • Density 452.5/sq mi (175.1/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code 785
FIPS code 20-11175
GNIS ID 472174

Cawker City is a city in Mitchell County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2020 census, the population of the city was 457. The city is located along the north shore of Waconda Lake and Glen Elder State Park. It is one of several places claiming to be home of the largest ball of twine in the world.


Cawker City was founded in 1870. It was named for one of its founders, E. H. Cawker. Cawker City was incorporated as a city in 1874. The first post office in Cawker City was established in June 1870.

The city previously served many families living on small farms. A resident stated that Cawker City had three grocery stores in the 1960s. By 2017 the community had no grocery stores. Many young adults were leaving too find work elsewhere. In the area family sizes decreased and farm plot sizes increased. These factors caused the community's population to decline.


Cawker City is located at 39°30′32″N 98°26′2″W / 39.50889°N 98.43389°W / 39.50889; -98.43389 (39.508835, -98.433842). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.00 square mile (2.59 km2), all of it land. The city is located along the north shore of Waconda Lake.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,039
1890 898 −13.6%
1900 816 −9.1%
1910 870 6.6%
1920 788 −9.4%
1930 739 −6.2%
1940 657 −11.1%
1950 691 5.2%
1960 686 −0.7%
1970 726 5.8%
1980 640 −11.8%
1990 588 −8.1%
2000 521 −11.4%
2010 469 −10.0%
2020 457 −2.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 469 people, 244 households, and 132 families residing in the city. The population density was 469.0 inhabitants per square mile (181.1/km2). There were 315 housing units at an average density of 315.0 per square mile (121.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.0% White, 0.2% African American, 0.2% Asian, 0.9% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.1% of the population.

There were 244 households, of which 19.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.6% were married couples living together, 7.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 45.9% were non-families. 41.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 19.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.92 and the average family size was 2.52.

The median age in the city was 50.1 years. 18.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 4.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 17.9% were from 25 to 44; 32.4% were from 45 to 64; and 26.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 51.4% male and 48.6% female.


Largest community rolled ball of twine (2013)
  • Cawker City is one of several places claiming to be home of the largest ball of twine in the world. Each year a twine-a-thon is held in August to increase the size of the ball.
  • Waconda Lake


The community is served by Waconda USD 272 public school district. The district elementary school is Lakeside Elementary school in Cawker City. The district high school is Lakeside High School (Kansas)|Lakeside High School in Downs with the mascot Knights.

School unification combined Cawker City High School with Glen Elder High School in 1971 forming Waconda East High School. The Waconda East High School mascot was Vikings. Waconda East High School was then unified with Downs High School in 2003 forming USD 272.

Prior to school unification, the Cawker City High School mascot was Cawker City Pirates.

The elementary building was formerly known as Cawker City Elementary School. Its name changed to the current one in 2015.

Notable people

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Cawker City (Kansas) para niños

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