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Oberlin, Kansas
City
Downtown Oberlin (1999)
Downtown Oberlin (1999)
Location within Decatur County and Kansas
Location within Decatur County and Kansas
KDOT map of Decatur County (legend)
KDOT map of Decatur County (legend)
Country United States
State Kansas
County Decatur
Founded 1872
Platted 1878
Incorporated 1885
Area
 • Total 1.91 sq mi (4.95 km2)
 • Land 1.91 sq mi (4.95 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 2,562 ft (781 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 1,788
 • Estimate (2015) 1,761
 • Density 936.1/sq mi (361.2/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 67749
Area code 785
FIPS code 20-52000
GNIS feature ID 0471014
Website OberlinKS.com

Oberlin is a city in and the county seat of Decatur County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 1,788.

History

Oberlin was platted as a town in 1878. It was named after Oberlin, Ohio.

The first post office in Oberlin was established in April, 1878.

On September 30, 1878, Northern Cheyenne fleeing from Indian Territory to their homes in the north, the Northern Cheyenne Exodus, attacked homesteaders near Oberlin, then a tiny hamlet. The Last Indian Raid in Kansas room in the Decatur County Museum and a monument in the town cemetery near the graves of the victims commemorate those depredations.

Oberlin was incorporated as a city in 1885.

Geography

Oberlin is located at 39°49′16″N 100°31′42″W / 39.82111°N 100.52833°W / 39.82111; -100.52833Coordinates: 39°49′16″N 100°31′42″W / 39.82111°N 100.52833°W / 39.82111; -100.52833 (39.821235, -100.528369) at an elevation of 2,562 feet (781 m). It lies on the northwest side of Sappa Creek, a tributary of the Republican River, in the High Plains region of the Great Plains. Located at the intersection of U.S. Route 36 and U.S. Route 83 in northwest Kansas, Oberlin is 228 miles (367 km) northwest of Wichita, 238 miles (383 km) east of Denver, and 320 miles (510 km) west-northwest of Kansas City.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.91 square miles (4.95 km2), all land.

Climate

Lying in the transition zone between North America's humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), and semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk), Oberlin experiences hot, humid summers and cold, dry winters. The average temperature in Oberlin is 52 °F (11 °C) with temperatures exceeding 90 °F (32 °C) an average of 62 days a year and dropping below 32 °F (0 °C) an average of 158 days a year. Oberlin typically experiences precipitation 66 days a year and snowfall 11 days a year. Precipitation averages 23 inches (574 mm) per year, and snowfall averages 32 inches (80 cm) per year. On average, January is the coldest month, and July is both the hottest month and the wettest month. The hottest temperature recorded in Oberlin was 111 °F (44 °C) in 1954; the coldest temperature recorded was -31 °F (-35 °C) in 1989.

Climate data for Oberlin, Kansas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 78
(25.6)
85
(29.4)
93
(33.9)
97
(36.1)
103
(39.4)
110
(43.3)
111
(43.9)
109
(42.8)
107
(41.7)
99
(37.2)
88
(31.1)
83
(28.3)
111
(43.9)
Average high °F (°C) 40
(4.4)
46
(7.8)
55
(12.8)
65
(18.3)
74
(23.3)
86
(30)
92
(33.3)
89
(31.7)
81
(27.2)
69
(20.6)
51
(10.6)
43
(6.1)
65.9
(18.84)
Daily mean °F (°C) 28
(-2.2)
33
(0.6)
41
(5)
51
(10.6)
61
(16.1)
72
(22.2)
77
(25)
75
(23.9)
66
(18.9)
54
(12.2)
38
(3.3)
30
(-1.1)
52.2
(11.2)
Average low °F (°C) 13
(-10.6)
17
(-8.3)
25
(-3.9)
35
(1.7)
47
(8.3)
57
(13.9)
63
(17.2)
60
(15.6)
50
(10)
36
(2.2)
24
(-4.4)
16
(-8.9)
36.9
(2.73)
Record low °F (°C) −28
(-33.3)
−19
(-28.3)
−25
(-31.7)
10
(-12.2)
22
(-5.6)
34
(1.1)
41
(5)
40
(4.4)
22
(-5.6)
9
(-12.8)
−19
(-28.3)
−31
(-35)
−31
(-35)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.49
(12.4)
0.63
(16)
1.65
(41.9)
2.20
(55.9)
3.65
(92.7)
3.30
(83.8)
3.75
(95.3)
2.74
(69.6)
1.50
(38.1)
1.17
(29.7)
1.03
(26.2)
0.48
(12.2)
22.59
(573.8)
Snowfall inches (cm) 6.5
(16.5)
4.8
(12.2)
6.7
(17)
2.4
(6.1)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.3
(0.8)
1.1
(2.8)
4.5
(11.4)
5.2
(13.2)
31.6
(80.3)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 2.7 3.1 5.5 6.1 9.3 7.7 8.0 7.3 5.3 4.5 3.8 2.8 66.2
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 2.5 1.8 2.3 0.8 0 0 0 0 0.1 0.2 1.4 2.1 11.2
Source: National Weather Service; The Weather Channel

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 976
1900 937 −4.0%
1910 1,157 23.5%
1920 1,247 7.8%
1930 1,629 30.6%
1940 1,878 15.3%
1950 2,019 7.5%
1960 2,337 15.8%
1970 2,291 −2.0%
1980 2,387 4.2%
1990 2,197 −8.0%
2000 1,994 −9.2%
2010 1,788 −10.3%
Est. 2015 1,761 −1.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 1,788 people, 824 households, and 477 families residing in the city. The population density was 936.1 inhabitants per square mile (361.4/km2). There were 1,046 housing units at an average density of 547.6 per square mile (211.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.9% White, 0.7% African American, 0.7% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.0% of the population.

There were 824 households of which 21.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were married couples living together, 7.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.1% were non-families. 39.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.07 and the average family size was 2.73.

The median age in the city was 52 years. 20% of residents were under the age of 18; 4.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 17.4% were from 25 to 44; 29% were from 45 to 64; and 29.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.4% male and 52.6% female.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,994 people, 879 households, and 550 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,039.7 people per square mile (401.0/km²). There were 1,048 housing units at an average density of 546.5 per square mile (210.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.79% White, 0.25% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.25% from other races, and 1.30% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.15% of the population.

There were 879 households out of which 25.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.8% were married couples living together, 7.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.4% were non-families. 36.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.15 and the average family size was 2.78.

In the city, the population was spread out with 22.6% under the age of 18, 5.1% from 18 to 24, 21.0% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 29.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females there were 85.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,816, and the median income for a family was $34,583. Males had a median income of $27,177 versus $16,488 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,271. About 5.0% of families and 6.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.1% of those under age 18 and 4.4% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

Oberlin is home to the Last Indian Raid Museum, which contains multiple late 19th and early 20th century buildings filled with artifacts chronicling the history of Oberlin and early Plains settlers. Examples include a 1930s grocery store and a one-room school house built in 1922.

Oberlin is also home to a recreation center completed in 2010 that is home to a 3D-capable, one-screen movie theater and a bowling alley.

The Oberlin Area Band is an intergenerational band. It rehearses weekly and performs quarterly.

Parks and recreation

The Oberlin City Park is near the Decatur Community High School and has a playground, picnic shelter, band shell, full basketball court, and is home to the Oberlin swimming pool.

Sappa Park

The City of Oberlin is the owner of the Sappa Park two miles east of town. Formerly a state park complete with a lake, Sappa Park today is home to a man-made wetlands, bike and hiking paths, a nine-hole disc golf course, and a shelter house built by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. The park is currently in the middle of a multi-year improvement project. Adjacent to the park is a 9-hole golf course.

The park was developed in 1935 by the National Park Service, with the Works Progress Administration (WPA) hiring unemployed young men to build the park's dam and shelter house. The park was dedicated in 1939, but over the years silt filled up the lake and it was drained. Only recently has part of the lake been restored as a wetlands.

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