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Dighton, Kansas
Location within  Lane County and Kansas
Location within Lane County and Kansas
KDOT map of Lane County (legend)
Country United States
State Kansas
County Lane
Founded 1879
Incorporated 1887
Named for Dick Dighton
 • Total 0.87 sq mi (2.25 km2)
 • Land 0.87 sq mi (2.25 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
2,766 ft (843 m)
 • Total 960
 • Density 1,103/sq mi (427/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code 620
FIPS code 20-18050
GNIS ID 471515

Dighton is a city in and the county seat of Lane County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2020 census, the population of the city was 960. Dighton is named for Dick Dighton, a surveyor.


19th century

The Homestead Act of 1862 offered 160 acres (0.65 km2) of land in the American West, previously owned by railroads, to homesteaders who could live on the land for five years. Drawn west by the promise of free, fertile land, pioneer settlers arrived in Kansas starting in 1869. In 1879, W.A. Watson arrived at the town site, and a post office was established. In 1885, there were three houses and seven voters in town. Lane County became a county in 1886, with Dighton as its county seat. By 1900, the population was 194, and by 1910 it had grown to 370, and the town had banks; a flour mill; a grain elevator; two newspapers; public schools; a hotel; merchants; Baptist, Catholic, and Methodist churches; telegraph service; a band and telephones.

Life was difficult for the early pioneers, who built houses made of sod and found that the land was quite dry, and not as fertile as they had been led to believe. A song written by Frank Baker, the Lane County Bachelor, became a popular folk song throughout the western United States.

20th century

On May 23, 1928, the Fleagle Gang arrived in Dighton after robbing the First National Bank of Lamar, Colorado. Needing medical attention, they kidnapped local doctor W.W. Weinenger, and later shot him and dumped his body into a ravine.

The courtroom mural, "The First House of Lane County," by Mary Alice Bosley, was featured in Kansas Murals: A Traveler's Guide, by Jost and Loewenstein ([1]). The canvas work, painted in 1961 as a background for the pageant at the Lane County Fair, was then installed in the courthouse, where it still remains.


Dighton is located at 38°28′53″N 100°27′54″W / 38.48139°N 100.46500°W / 38.48139; -100.46500 (38.481506, -100.464893), at the intersection of K-96 and K-23. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.88 square miles (2.28 km2), all land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 304
1900 194 −36.2%
1910 370 90.7%
1920 503 35.9%
1930 803 59.6%
1940 974 21.3%
1950 1,246 27.9%
1960 1,526 22.5%
1970 1,540 0.9%
1980 1,390 −9.7%
1990 1,361 −2.1%
2000 1,261 −7.3%
2010 1,038 −17.7%
2020 960 −7.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
Lane County HS main entrance from W 1
Dighton High School (2015)

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 1,038 people, 506 households, and 282 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,179.5 inhabitants per square mile (455.4/km2). There were 615 housing units at an average density of 698.9 per square mile (269.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.6% White, 0.6% African American, 0.9% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 2.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.1% of the population.

There were 506 households, of which 22.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.0% were married couples living together, 5.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 44.3% were non-families. 41.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 20.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.05 and the average family size was 2.78.

The median age in the city was 46.2 years. 20.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.1% were from 25 to 44; 28.8% were from 45 to 64; and 22.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.4% male and 51.6% female.


The community is served by Dighton USD 482 public school district, which operates two schools in Dighton, the Dighton Jr/Sr High School and the Dighton Elementary School.

The Lane County Library is based in Dighton.

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