Dighton, Kansas

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Dighton is a city in Lane County, Kansas, United States. The population was 1,261 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Lane County[3].

Contents

Geography

Dighton is located at 38°28′53″N 100°27′54″W / 38.48139°N 100.465°W / 38.48139; -100.465 (38.481506, -100.464893)[4], at the intersection of K-96 and K-23. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.9 square miles (2.3 km²), all of it land.

History

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 doubled again to 370, and the town had banks; a flour mill; a grain elevator; 2 newspapers; public schools; a hotel; merchants; Baptist, Catholic, and Methodist churches; telegraph service; a band; and telephones.[5]

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.

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 has remained ever since.

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