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Whitewater, Kansas
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 1870s
Platted 1885
Incorporated 1890
Government
 • Type Mayor–Council
Area
 • Total 0.41 sq mi (1.06 km2)
 • Land 0.41 sq mi (1.06 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation
1,368 ft (417 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 661
 • Density 1,612/sq mi (624/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
67154
Area code 316
FIPS code 20-78050
GNIS ID 473708

Whitewater is a city in Butler County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2020 census, the population of the city was 661.

History

Early history

See also: History of Kansas

For many millennia, the Great Plains of North America was inhabited by nomadic Native Americans. From the 16th century to 18th century, the Kingdom of France claimed ownership of large parts of North America. In 1762, after the French and Indian War, France secretly ceded New France to Spain, per the Treaty of Fontainebleau.

19th century

In 1802, Spain returned most of the land to France. In 1803, most of the land for modern day Kansas was acquired by the United States from France as part of the 828,000 square mile Louisiana Purchase for 2.83 cents per acre.

In 1854, the Kansas Territory was organized, then in 1861 Kansas became the 34th U.S. state. In 1855, Butler County was established within the Kansas Territory, which included the land for modern day Whitewater.

The city originally formed several miles to the east. A post office was established as White Water (as two words) on August 7, 1871. The post office was renamed to Ovo on July 7, 1882.

In 1887, the Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railway built a branch line north-south from Herington through Whitewater to Caldwell. It foreclosed in 1891 and was taken over by Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway, which shut down in 1980 and reorganized as Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas Railroad, merged in 1988 with Missouri Pacific Railroad, merged in 1997 with Union Pacific Railroad. Most locals still refer to this railroad as the "Rock Island".

Between 1885 and 1888, several buildings were moved to the present location on the Whitewater River after the Missouri Pacific railroad came through the area. The city was established where the Missouri Pacific and Rock Island railroads intersected. The post office was renamed to White Water on May 15, 1888.

20th century

The historic Oak Lawn Farm Dairy Barn was built near Whitewater in 1926.

On November 1, 1950, the post office name was changed to Whitewater (one word).

In 1961, Frederic Remington High School was built immediately north of Brainerd. Leading up to this new school, Whitewater, Potwin, Brainerd, Elbing, Furley, Countryside, and Golden Gate schools merged to form a joint rural high school. Heated opposition between Whitewater and Potwin occurred during the discussion for the location of the new high school. Rural voters pushed for a centralized location in neither town. A public vote was passed to build the new school near Brainerd.

Geography

Whitewater is located at 37°57′47″N 97°8′51″W / 37.96306°N 97.14750°W / 37.96306; -97.14750 (37.963178, -97.147435), along the West Branch of the Whitewater River. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.40 square miles (1.04 km2), all of it land.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 184
1900 267 45.1%
1910 518 94.0%
1920 556 7.3%
1930 556 0.0%
1940 515 −7.4%
1950 453 −12.0%
1960 499 10.2%
1970 520 4.2%
1980 751 44.4%
1990 683 −9.1%
2000 653 −4.4%
2010 718 10.0%
2020 661 −7.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 718 people, 254 households, and 189 families living in the city. The population density was 1,795.0 inhabitants per square mile (693.1/km2). There were 267 housing units at an average density of 667.5 per square mile (257.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.3% White, 1.8% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 0.8% Pacific Islander, 0.4% from other races, and 3.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.6% of the population.

There were 254 households, of which 37.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.2% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 25.6% were non-families. 23.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.05.

The median age in the city was 42.7 years. 25.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.4% were from 25 to 44; 27% were from 45 to 64; and 19.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.8% male and 52.2% female.

Education

Public

The community is served by Remington USD 206 public school district. The Remington High School mascot is a Bronco.

  • Frederic Remington High School north of Brainerd.
  • Remington Middle School in Whitewater.
  • Remington Elementary School in Potwin.

Library

  • Whitewater Memorial Library

Infrastructure

Kansas Map 1914 Chase Dickinson Marion Morris
1914 railroad map

Transportation

K-196 highway runs along the south side of the city. The Oklahoma Kansas Texas (OKT) line of the Union Pacific Railroad runs through the north-west side of the city.

Notable person

  • Hattie Louthan (1865–1950), writer, author of five books and contributed to newspapers and magazines.
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