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El Dorado, Kansas
Main & Pine in El Dorado (2012)
Main & Pine in El Dorado (2012)
Location within Butler County and Kansas
Location within Butler County and Kansas
KDOT map of Butler County (legend)
Country United States
State Kansas
County Butler
Founded 1860s
Platted 1868
Incorporated 1871
 • Type Commission-Manager
 • Total 9.20 sq mi (23.82 km2)
 • Land 9.16 sq mi (23.72 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.09 km2)  0.67%
1,342 ft (409 m)
 • Total 12,870
 • Density 1,398.9/sq mi (540.3/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code 316
FIPS code 20-20075
GNIS ID 485449

El Dorado ( EL-də-RAY-doh) is city and county seat of Butler County, Kansas, United States. It is situated along the Walnut River in the central part of Butler County and located in south-central Kansas. As of the 2020 census, the population of the city was 12,870. It is home to Butler Community College.


El Dorado was laid out and platted in 1868. The name is of Spanish origin meaning "golden land". El Dorado was incorporated in 1870.

In 1877, the Florence, El Dorado, and Walnut Valley Railroad Company built a branch line from Florence to El Dorado; in 1881 it was extended to Douglass, and later to Arkansas City. The line was leased and operated by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. The line from Florence to El Dorado was abandoned in 1942. The original branch line connected Florence, Burns, De Graff, El Dorado, Augusta, Douglass, Rock, Akron, Winfield, and Arkansas City.

In 1915, the El Dorado Oil Field was the first oil field that was found using science/geologic mapping, and part of the Mid-Continent oil province. By 1918, the El Dorado Oil Field was the largest single field producer in the USA, and was responsible for 12.8% of national oil production and 9% of the world production. It was deemed by some as "the oil field that won World War I".

In 1943, German and Italian prisoners of World War II were brought to Kansas and other Midwest states as a means of solving the labor shortage caused by American men serving in the war effort. Large internment camps were established in Kansas: Camp Concordia, Camp Funston (at Fort Riley), Camp Phillips (at Salina under Fort Riley). Fort Riley established 12 smaller branch camps, including El Dorado. Prisoners commonly volunteered to help work on local farms; this enabled them to spend time outside the camp, socialize and eat better food than that provided by prison guards. In some cases, smaller structures constructed by the work details still stand.

On June 10, 1958, a tornado hit El Dorado and killed 13 people. In 2008, the city built a memorial at Graham Park in remembrance of the dead.


El Dorado is located at 37°49′16″N 96°51′30″W / 37.82111°N 96.85833°W / 37.82111; -96.85833 (37.821117, −96.858281). The city is situated along the western bank of the Walnut River, southwest of El Dorado Lake. It is located 30 miles (48 km) east-northeast of Wichita at the junction of U.S. Routes 54 and 77 and K-254. The Kansas Turnpike, designated as Interstate 35, bypasses northwest of the city.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.92 square miles (23.10 km2), of which 8.86 square miles (22.95 km2) is land and 0.06 square miles (0.16 km2) is water.


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


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,411
1890 3,339 136.6%
1900 3,466 3.8%
1910 3,129 −9.7%
1920 10,995 251.4%
1930 10,311 −6.2%
1940 10,045 −2.6%
1950 11,037 9.9%
1960 12,523 13.5%
1970 12,308 −1.7%
1980 10,510 −14.6%
1990 11,504 9.5%
2000 12,057 4.8%
2010 13,021 8.0%
2020 12,870 −1.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

El Dorado is part of the Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 13,021 people, 5,227 households, and 3,277 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,469.6 inhabitants per square mile (567.4/km2). There were 5,797 housing units at an average density of 654.3 per square mile (252.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.8% White, 2.3% African American, 1.1% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.5% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.7% of the population.

There were 5,227 households, of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.8% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.3% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.98.

The median age in the city was 34 years. 24.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 14.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.1% were from 25 to 44; 23.1% were from 45 to 64; and 14.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.2% male and 51.8% female.


In April 2010, the Hot Rod Cafe (formerly the El Dorado theater on Main Street) was filmed for the documentary reality television series American Pickers episode "Easy Riders", which aired July 26, 2010.

The 1969 film The Gypsy Moths was filmed in part in El Dorado. It featured Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Gene Hackman, William Windom and Bonnie Bedelia.

Parks and Recreation

The City of El Dorado maintains an extensive parks and recreation system, including: 12 neighborhood parks, 12 playgrounds, 5 soccer fields, 4 baseball fields, 4 softball fields, 2 spray parks, 2 pools, 2 tennis courts, 2 outdoor basketball courts, a baseball stadium, an 18-hole golf course, and a 6.3 mile bike path.

In addition, the community boasts a new athletic complex. The venue was completed in 2012 by the Educational Facilities Authority of Butler County, which consists of representatives from the City of El Dorado, Butler Community College and El Dorado Schools (USD 490). The complex provides a venue for football, soccer, track and other community events.

El Dorado State Park is also located just beyond the city limits and provides many recreational activities, such as boating, fishing, hiking, swimming, horse trails and archery.


El Dorado Courthouse, Butler County, Kansas
Butler County Courthouse, built 1909

The El Dorado Refinery is currently owned and operated by HollyFrontier, is situated on the southwest edge of El Dorado. It was constructed and originally owned by what would later become Skelly Oil. Later, the refinery changed hands and was rebranded after Skelly was purchased by Getty Oil, and then rebranded again after Texaco attempted to purchase Getty. In 2011 it was rebranded again when Frontier Oil and Holly Corporation merged. El Dorado Refinery is the largest in Kansas. Capacity is 135,000 barrels per day (21,500 m3/d), with production split up into gasoline (55% of production); diesel and jet fuel (34% of production); and asphalt, chemicals and other refined petroleum products (11% percent of production).


Butler Community College fields teams in both men's (mascot: Grizzlies) and women's (mascot: Lady Grizzlies) sports. Butler competes in the NJCAA's Jayhawk Conference, and its teams have won numerous league and national accolades. Butler's football team has won five NJCAA national championships (1981, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2007, and 2008), and also played in the NJCAA championship game in 2004 and 2010. The 1985 squad also finished the season ranked #1 nationally. The program has produced numerous NFL players, most notably Rudi Johnson. Butler's men's basketball program also has a rich tradition, including a national championship in 1953, NJCAA national tournament runners-up in 1992 and 1993, a national tournament third-place finish in 1996, seven Jayhawk Conference championships since 1990, four NJCAA players of the year, ten NJCAA All-Americans, and three NBA draft picks. Notable former Grizzlies with NBA experience include Stephen Jackson, Tony Allen, and Kasib Powell. Butler's men's and women's track and cross-country teams also have won numerous conference, regional, and national accolades.

The El Dorado Broncos are a summer amateur baseball team composed primarily of college players. The team competes within the Jayhawk League as part of the National Baseball Congress, or NBC. The Broncos have won three NBC World Series in 1996, 1998 and 2009. Several former Broncos players currently play in Major League Baseball, including Nate Robertson and Heath Bell .


El Dorado, KS public library building funded by Andrew Carnegie
Former El Dorado Carnegie Library (2013)

El Dorado is home to Butler Community College.

Most of the community is served by El Dorado USD 490 public school district, which has one high school, one middle school, and three grade schools. The west side of El Dorado is served by Circle USD 375 public school district.

Notable people

  • Granville Pearl Aikman, Kansas state judge, attorney
  • Tom Borland, major league baseball pitcher
  • Beals Becker, major league baseball player
  • Steve Brodie, actor
  • Bobby Douglass, NFL football player
  • Stanley Dunham, maternal grandfather of Barack Obama
  • Alfred W. Ellet, Brigadier General in U.S. Civil War
  • Maude Fulton, Broadway stage actress, playwright, screenwriter
  • Ralph Graham, college football coach, pioneer of racial integration in college sports
  • Sarah D. Grant, Arizona Court of Appeals judge, attorney
  • Alex Graves, film director, television director, television producer, screenwriter
  • Larry Hartshorn former NFL football player
  • Roger Marshall, former United States Representative, US Senator from Kansas, obstetrician
  • Marion Koogler McNay, artist, philanthropist, founder of McNay Art Museum
  • Robert L. Rodgers, US Congressman
  • Almon Brown Strowger, inventor of Strowger switch
  • Mort Walker, cartoonist, creator of Beetle Bailey
  • William Allen White, journalist
  • Gerald Burton Winrod, anti-semitic evangelist

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: El Dorado (Kansas) para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Distinguished Hispanic diplomats
Bill Richardson
Horacio Rivero Jr
Julissa Reynoso Pantaleón
Edward C. Prado
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