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Galena, Kansas
Downtown Galena (2008)
Downtown Galena (2008)
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 1877
Incorporated 1877
Named for Galena
 • Total 4.66 sq mi (12.06 km2)
 • Land 4.60 sq mi (11.92 km2)
 • Water 0.05 sq mi (0.14 km2)
902 ft (275 m)
 • Total 3,085
 • Estimate 
 • Density 620.90/sq mi (239.73/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code 620
FIPS code 20-25100
GNIS ID 469360

Galena is a city in Cherokee County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 3,085.


Although the railroad was built through the territory of Galena in 1871, the town did not start until the discovery of lead there in the spring of 1877. The first post office was established in 1877.

The city was originally platted by the Galena Mining and Smelting Company and was to be known as Cornwall. The city was actually known as Short Creek when first established because of a nearby creek and was known as Bonanza briefly before taking the present name of Galena in 1877, which is named after the lead ore galena found in the area. The city was part of the tri state mining area and had over 30,000 inhabitants. After the mines closed in the 1970s, population decreased.

The Jayhawk Ordnance Works northwest of Galena, built during World War II, was a large ordnance plant producing ammonium nitrate. After the war it was privatized by its operator Kenneth Aldred Spencer and at one point was the world's largest producer of ammonium nitrate fertilizer in the world. It would form the basis for the Spencer Chemical Company's fortune which would eventually be funneled into numerous philanthropies throughout Missouri and Kansas. The Spencer family had been in the area because of their ownership of the Pittsburg and Midway Coal Co. mining operation. The plant is still in operation as the Jayhawk Fine Chemicals Corporation.


Galena is located at 37°4′28″N 94°38′8″W / 37.07444°N 94.63556°W / 37.07444; -94.63556 (37.074459, -94.635549). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.62 square miles (11.97 km2), of which, 4.57 square miles (11.84 km2) is land and 0.05 square miles (0.13 km2) is water. Galena is the eastern end of the segment of U.S. Route 66 that passes through Kansas.


The town's population has dropped by 70% since 1900.

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,463
1890 2,496 70.6%
1900 10,155 306.9%
1910 6,096 −40.0%
1920 4,712 −22.7%
1930 4,736 0.5%
1940 4,375 −7.6%
1950 4,029 −7.9%
1960 3,827 −5.0%
1970 3,712 −3.0%
1980 3,587 −3.4%
1990 3,308 −7.8%
2000 3,287 −0.6%
2010 3,085 −6.1%
2019 (est.) 2,858 −7.4%
U.S. Decennial CensusKansas Population Data
Galena Water Tower
Galena water tower (2008)

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 3,085 people, 1,198 households, and 792 families living in the city. The population density was 675.1 inhabitants per square mile (260.7/km2). There were 1,429 housing units at an average density of 312.7 per square mile (120.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.0% White, 0.4% African American, 3.0% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 1.3% from other races, and 4.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.6% of the population.

There were 1,198 households, of which 34.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.2% were married couples living together, 16.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 33.9% were non-families. 29.0% 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 2.51 and the average family size was 3.04.

The median age in the city was 39.1 years. 25.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.7% were from 25 to 44; 27.2% were from 45 to 64; and 15.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.3% male and 50.7% female.

In the media

  • Galena is home to the International Harvester L-170 truck that became the inspiration for the character "Mater" in Disney's Cars. The truck sits at 119 N. Main St. by the Four Women on the Route diner and souvenir store, a restored Kan-O-Tex Service Station.
  • In the book The Grapes of Wrath, the characters Sairy and Ivy Wilson came from Galena.
  • Galena has several historical buildings including the Front Street Garage with its famous advertising murals in the north side of the building, which John Lasseter, producer of the Disney/Pixar movie Cars said was a "tremendous influence for the town of Radiator Springs".




The community is served by Galena USD 499 public school district. Galena is home to Galena High School. In 1916 the Kansas Supreme Court heard a case where the school superintendent separated the African American ("colored") children and had them taught together from various grades by an African American teacher. The court rejected the district's decision making and requires students of different backgrounds be taught together.

Notable people

See also

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

Black History Month on Kiddle
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John T. Biggers
Thomas Blackshear
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