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Columbus, Kansas
Columbus Carnegie Library (2013)
Columbus Carnegie Library (2013)
"Help America Discover Columbus..."
Location within Cherokee County and Kansas
Location within Cherokee County and Kansas
KDOT map of Cherokee County (legend)
Country United States
State Kansas
County Cherokee
Founded 1868
Incorporated 1871
Named for Columbus, Ohio
 • Total 2.39 sq mi (6.20 km2)
 • Land 2.39 sq mi (6.20 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
912 ft (278 m)
 • Total 3,312
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,275.39/sq mi (492.38/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code 620
FIPS code 20-15075
GNIS ID 469479

Columbus is the second largest city and county seat of Cherokee County, Kansas, United States. It is located approximately 15 miles south-southwest of Pittsburg. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 3,312.


The first settlement was made at Columbus in 1868. The first post office in Columbus was established in 1869.

Columbus was a railroad junction for the Saint Louis and San Francisco, and the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas railroads. It was named Columbus by A.L. Peters, one of the European-American founders, for his hometown of Columbus, Ohio; the name thus indirectly honors Christopher Columbus, the explorer. Coal, lead and zinc were mined in the region. Columbus had a considerable trade in agricultural products, and its businesses included machine shops, grain elevators, flour mills, a cigar factory, bottle works (soft drinks), a canning factory, and an extensive brick-making plant.

In 1875, Robert A. Long and Victor Bell formed the Long-Bell Lumber Company in Columbus. From one lumberyard, Long-Bell expanded operations and holdings to become one of the largest vertically integrated lumber companies in the United States. In 1956 it was purchased by International Paper.


Columbus is located at 37°10′17″N 94°50′27″W / 37.17139°N 94.84083°W / 37.17139; -94.84083 (37.171379, -94.840704). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.42 square miles (6.27 km2), all of it land.


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


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 402
1880 1,164 189.6%
1890 2,160 85.6%
1900 2,310 6.9%
1910 3,064 32.6%
1920 3,155 3.0%
1930 3,235 2.5%
1940 3,402 5.2%
1950 3,490 2.6%
1960 3,395 −2.7%
1970 3,356 −1.1%
1980 3,426 2.1%
1990 3,268 −4.6%
2000 3,396 3.9%
2010 3,312 −2.5%
Est. 2019 3,052 −7.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
2012 Estimate

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 3,312 people, 1,424 households, and 850 families living in the city. The population density was 1,368.6 inhabitants per square mile (528.4/km2). There were 1,633 housing units at an average density of 674.8 per square mile (260.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.9% White, 0.5% African American, 2.7% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 3.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.1% of the population.

There were 1,424 households, of which 30.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.1% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.3% were non-families. 34.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 19.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.94.

The median age in the city was 39.1 years. 25% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.6% were from 25 to 44; 23.8% were from 45 to 64; and 19.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 46.4% male and 53.6% female.


The community is served by Columbus USD 493 public school district.

Notable people

  • Marcellus Boss, 5th Civilian Governor of Guam
  • Elizabeth W. Crandall, educator
  • James Reed Hallowell, politician
  • Robert A. Long, lumber baron, developer, investor, newspaper owner, and philanthropist
  • Doro Merande, film, stage and television actress
  • Merle Evans, bandleader for Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus
  • Kenneth A. Spencer, industrialist
  • Norma Terris, singer and actress
  • Leland Justin Webb, 1st Mayor of Columbus, lawyer, served in American Civil War and 19th Kansas Cavalry Regiment
  • Thomas Daniel Winter, US Representative from Kansas, 1939–1947.
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