Humboldt, Kansas

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Humboldt is a city situated along the Neosho River in the southwest part of Allen County, located in southeast Kansas, in the Central United States. The population was 1,999 at the 2000 census, and it was estimated to be 1,906 in the year 2006.[3] Humboldt only has one traffic light.[citation needed]



Humboldt, named after Baron von Humboldt, was founded in 1857. Germans migrating from Hartford, Connecticut, began organizing a colony during the winter of 1856–57. They arrived in Lawrence, Kansas, in March 1857, and at the townsite on May 10, 1857. Orlin Thurston, a young attorney, moved to Humboldt during the summer of 1857 and put up a steam sawmill; he began sawing wood and building houses on the prairie side of town. The first frame building was erected by J.A. Coffey; and in May 1858, W.C. O'Brien opened the first gristmill in the county. The United Brethren Denomination erected the first church in 1859.[4]

The city was organized as a village in 1866 and incorporated as a city of the second class by the act of February 28, 1870. In October 1870 the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston railway was run through Humboldt;[5] the railway is currently a short line owned by BNSF Railway.

Humboldt was the Allen county seat for seven years, from 1858 until 1865, when Iola became the seat. Humboldt won two contentious legislative elections to become the seat in 1858 and 1860, but another election in 1865 in the midst of the American Civil War resulted in the re-location of the county seat to Iola. The legitimacy of this election was questioned by Humboldt residents due to low turnout arising from soldiers fighting the War. Some residents claim that the county seat was "stolen". Iola effectively secured the seat by donating 100 lots to the county to aid in the construction of public buildings and subsequently raising funds to build a courthouse. County seat wars of this sort were common in Kansas and the American West.

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