Hays, Kansas

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Hays is a city in and the county seat of Ellis County, Kansas, United States.[3] It is the largest city in northwestern Kansas and an economic and cultural center of the region.[4][5] Hays is also a college town, home to Fort Hays State University.[6] As of the 2000 United States Census, the city population was 20,013.[2]

Contents

History

In late 1866, anticipating the construction of the Kansas Pacific Railway as far west as Fort Hays, a party from St. Louis, Missouri led by one William Webb selected three sections of land for colonization near the fort.[7] In June 1867, to better serve the railroad, the U.S. Army relocated Fort Hays to a site near where the railroad was to cross Big Creek, a tributary of the Smoky Hill River. Seeing a business opportunity, Buffalo Bill Cody and railroad contractor William Rose founded the settlement of Rome, Kansas near the fort's new location. Within a month, the population of Rome grew to over 2,000. Webb, meanwhile, established the Big Creek Land Company and then surveyed and platted a town site, which he named Hays City after the fort, roughly one mile east of Rome. The railroad reached Hays City soon thereafter and constructed a depot there. The railroad's arrival, combined with a cholera epidemic that hit Rome in the late summer of 1867, drove Rome businesses and residents to relocate to Hays City. Within a year, Rome was completely abandoned.[8][9] As the western terminus of the railway, Hays City grew rapidly, serving as the supply point for territories to the west and southwest.[7][10]

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