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Concordia, Kansas
City
Concordia Post Office (2007)
Concordia Post Office (2007)
Location within Cloud County and Kansas
Location within Cloud County and Kansas
KDOT map of Cloud County (legend)
KDOT map of Cloud County (legend)
Country United States
State Kansas
County Cloud
Platted 1871
Incorporated 1872
Area
 • Total 4.32 sq mi (11.19 km2)
 • Land 4.32 sq mi (11.19 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 1,378 ft (420 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 5,395
 • Estimate (2015) 5,218
 • Density 1,248.8/sq mi (482.13/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 66901
Area code 785
FIPS code 20-15200
GNIS feature ID 0473311

Concordia is a city in and the county seat of Cloud County, Kansas, United States. It is located along the Republican River in the Smoky Hills region of the Great Plains in north-central Kansas. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 5,395. Concordia is home of the Cloud County Community College and the Nazareth Convent and Academy.

History

19th century

Stouffer's Railroad Map of Kansas 1915-1918 Cloud County
1915 Railroad Map of Cloud County

Concordia holds the distinction of being elected the county seat before the town was created. The founder of the town, James M. Hagaman had created a complete layout of the town on paper including streets, blocks, courthouse, and parks. The name "Concordia" was chosen because a member of the early group of promoters ("Cap" Snyder) had once lived in Concordia, Missouri.

December 1869 was the first election for the county seat with Concordia, Clyde and the now defunct town Sibley. Without a clear majority, a second election was held between Concordia and Sibley on January 4, 1870. Concordia was declared the winner over Sibley 165 votes to 129.

It was over a year later when Concordia officially became a town when the Republican Land District Office opened on January 16, 1871. The Concordia Land Office continued until February 28, 1889 when it was consolidated with the land office in Topeka, Kansas.

Also in 1871, Concordia elected its first mayor, R. E. Allen. Under his leadership, Concordia was officially incorporated as a third class city under Kansas law in August 1872.

Concordia was visited in its early years by many traveling shows. As early as 1876 various traveling entertainers including Wild Bill Hickock, Buffalo Bill Cody, Ringling Brothers, and others came to Concordia. In 1892, the Ringling train wrecked east of the town killing two men and twenty horses, but the show played the next day to a crowd of 4,000.

The first schoolteacher to teach inside the city limits was Milo Stevens, who was paid a salary of twenty dollars per month. A state normal school was set up in Concordia in 1874 with F. E. Robinson as principal and former state Superintendent H. D. McCarty became president the second year. In 1876 the state ceased to provide funding and the school was closed.

In 1887, Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway built a branch line from Neva (3 miles west of Strong City) through Concordia to Superior, Nebraska. In 1996, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway merged with Burlington Northern Railroad and renamed to the current BNSF Railway. Most locals still refer to this railroad as the "Santa Fe".

In 1897, Pope Leo XIII founded the Roman Catholic Diocese of Concordia, Kansas. The diocese operated until 1947 when it was merged with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salina. It was later restored as a titular see in 1995.

20th century

Carrie Nation visited Concordia in the early 1900s. Records are mixed, but the date is placed between 1908 and 1910. The Concordia Blade newspaper (now the Concordia Blade-Empire) reported:

"Carrie Nation is in town. That wonderfully brave little woman who started the crusade against Kansas saloons lectured at the M.E. Church this afternoon, and will talk again tonight at the courthouse. While in this city she is the guest of Mrs. George Mohr."

Us81
1912 Meridian Highway Inspection team

A major geographic change in the city and the area occurred on July 9, 1902. The Republican River flooded near town and broke a dam. The flooding resulted in re-routing the river by 1/4 of a mile.

The year of 1912 brought a major blizzard to Concordia with snow so deep that a Union Pacific train became stuck northeast of town and snowbanks on main street piled as high as peoples' heads. Also in 1912, the first official inspection team for Meridian Highway (now US-81) came through Concordia on their tour from Canada to Mexico. In 1913, the Missouri Pacific Railway depot was rebuilt after a fire destroyed the old building.

Another flood took place on June 20, 1915. Damage from the flood was significant but not as wide-sweeping as the flood of 1902.

Geography

Concordia is located at 39°34′9″N 97°39′30″W / 39.56917°N 97.65833°W / 39.56917; -97.65833 (39.569035, −97.658398) and is at an elevation of 1,378 feet (420 m). It lies on the south side of the Republican River in the Smoky Hills region of the Great Plains. Lost Creek, a tributary of the Republican, flows north along the western edge of the city. Located in north-central Kansas at the intersection of U.S. Route 81 and K-9, Concordia is approximately 125 mi (201 km) north of Wichita, 149 mi (240 km) southwest of Omaha, and 169 mi (272 km) west-northwest of Kansas City.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.32 square miles (11.19 km2), all land.

Climate

Lying in the transition zone between North America's humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) and humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), Concordia experiences hot, humid summers and cold, dry winters; it is part of USDA Hardiness zone 6a. The normal monthly mean temperature ranges from 28.6 °F (−1.9 °C) in January to 79.1 °F (26.2 °C) in July. On average, there are 8.2 days that reach 100 °F (38 °C) or higher, 49 days that reach 90 °F (32 °C) or higher, 30 days that do not climb above freezing, and 5.7 days with a low of 0 °F (−18 °C) or below. The average window for freezing temperatures is October 15 thru April 18, allowing a growing season of 179 days. Extreme temperatures officially range from −33 °F (−36 °C) on January 8, 1886, up to 116 °F (47 °C) on August 12, 1936; the record cold daily maximum is −11 °F (−24 °C) on January 14, 1888, while, conversely, the record warm daily minimum is 86 °F (30 °C) on July 1, 1933.

Precipitation is greatest in May and has ranged from 12.83 in (326 mm) in 1956 to 44.79 in (1,138 mm) in 1993. Snowfall averages 20.2 in (51 cm) per season, and has historically ranged from 2.5 in (6.4 cm) in 1903–04 to 59.1 in (150 cm) in 1959–60.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,853
1890 3,184 71.8%
1900 3,401 6.8%
1910 4,415 29.8%
1920 4,705 6.6%
1930 5,792 23.1%
1940 6,255 8.0%
1950 7,175 14.7%
1960 7,022 −2.1%
1970 7,221 2.8%
1980 6,847 −5.2%
1990 6,167 −9.9%
2000 5,714 −7.3%
2010 5,395 −5.6%
Est. 2015 5,218 −3.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

According to the census (2006 estimate), Concordia is the most populous city in the county and of all six adjacent counties.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 5,395 people, 2,186 households, and 1,301 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,248.8 inhabitants per square mile (482.2/km2). There were 2,545 housing units at an average density of 589.1 per square mile (227.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.3% White, 0.8% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 1.4% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.3% of the population.

There were 2,186 households of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.6% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.5% were non-families. 34.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.86.

The median age in the city was 38.7 years. 22.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 14.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 20.2% were from 25 to 44; 23.3% were from 45 to 64; and 20.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.7% male and 52.3% female.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 5,714 people, 2,310 households, and 1,399 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,689.0 people per square mile (652.7/km²). There were 2,671 housing units at an average density of 789.5 per square mile (305.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.90% White, 0.58% African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.14% from other races, and 0.75% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.74% of the population.

There were 2,310 households out of which 26.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.3% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.4% were non-families. 33.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the city, the population was spread out with 21.3% under the age of 18, 13.5% from 18 to 24, 21.9% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 23.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 83.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,398, and the median income for a family was $40,389. Males had a median income of $27,764 versus $20,885 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,019. About 7.1% of families and 12.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.3% of those under age 18 and 10.1% of those age 65 or over.

Transportation

Concordia is the host of Blosser Municipal Airport (CNK). Blosser Municipal Airport is publicly owned by the City of Concordia. The National Weather Service and the Kansas National Guard maintain facilities at this location.

Culture

Points of interest

Bgt1907
The Brown Grand Theatre, 1907

In November 1905, Concordia resident Colonel Napoleon Bonaparte Brown announced to the townspeople his plans to build the Brown Grand Theatre, a fully outfitted opera house for Concordia. Renowned Kansas City theater architect Carl Boller was hired to prepare the design drawings and the blueprints. Restored to its original 1907 state, the 650 seat Brown Grand Theatre now serves as a tourist attraction and performing arts/community center for Concordia and North Central Kansas.

Camp Concordia, a prisoner of war camp for captured Germans, was maintained a few miles north of Concordia during World War II. The original guard house remains and has been restored.

The Cloud County Historical Museum preserves and exhibits objects and documents of historical items representing early-day Kansas. It is housed in the former 1908 Andrew Carnegie Library building and a large newer annex. Cloud County, Kansas artifacts exhibited for viewing include items relating to nature, radio, railroads, quilts, photography, toys, vintage clothing and furniture, musical instruments, fossils, tools, and stained glass. The museum is also home of one of the largest hand carved brick murals. Records are on display of the military Prisoner of War Camp, churches, organizations, schools, and businesses. Displays of glass cutting, rare coins and books, rock and gem shop, micro-film of county newspapers and many others too numerous to list. Large displays in the annex include the 1908 Lincoln-Page Airplane, an 1898 Holsman belt driven horseless carriage, and a 1915 Ford Model T.

The Cloud County Veterans Memorial is housed in the courthouse block of Concordia. The memorial includes an "eternal flame" that has been burning since the monument was established on November 11, 1968.

Concordia is the home of the national Orphan Train complex, housed in the restored historic Union Pacific Railroad Depot. The complex currently houses a museum and research center dedicated to the preservation of the stories and artifacts of those who were part of the Orphan Train Movement from 1854-1929.

The Nazareth Convent and Academy is the official Motherhouse and Home for the 260 Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. It was built in 1903 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The sisters at Nazareth earned a reputation for their education of young women, giving them a sound academic program and instruction in the fine arts, music, French, and the social graces. In 1903, the Sisters of St. Joseph entered the health care field in Concordia with the establishment of the St. Joseph Hospital on the original site after the new Nazareth Motherhouse was built at its present location.

The most common historic bridge visited is the Republican River Pegram Truss, a three-span through truss bridge built in 1893 for the Union Pacific Railway. As of 2007, the bridge is used for local automobile traffic. Other bridges in the area are the County Line Bowstring bridge near Hollis and the Pott's Ford Bridge near Glasco. All three bridges are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Concordia claims the title "The Stained Glass Capital of Kansas" and a tour of local stained glass pieces has been established. Although common in houses of worship, many private residences also have quality stained glass installed and available for viewing on the tour.

Parks and recreation

Small game hunting (particularly game birds such as pheasant, quail, and dove) attracts a large number of people from all over the world. Opening Day of hunting season is an especially active day for Concordia as it brings a large number of visitors and a boost to the local economy.

The city of Concordia has complementary overnight camping available at Airport Park, one of several city parks. Airport Park is located at the Blosser Municipal Airport.

Popular culture

The song Friends in Low Places made famous by Garth Brooks mentions a bar called "The Oasis" that is named after a now-closed establishment in Concordia.

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