Neodesha, Kansas

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Neodesha (pronounced /niːˈoʊdəʃeɪ/) is a city in Wilson County, Kansas, United States. The population was 2,848 at the 2000 census. The name is derived from the Osage Indian word, Ni-o-sho-de, and is translated as The-Water-Is-Smoky-With-Mud.[3]



The first settlers in the area that would eventually become Neodesha established a trading post in October 1867 to the northwest of the present town. They were allowed by the Osage Indians to establish a trading post on the Osage Diminished Reserve because the nearest trading post was over thirty miles away. After the Drum Creek Treaty had been signed by the Osage tribe in September 1870 and the tribe moved to Indian Territory; it opened the way for settlers to move to the area. Neodesha was incorporated March 2, 1871 and the original plat was filed with the U.S. Land Office in July 1871.[4]

The first commercially successful oil well drilled in what would become the Mid-Continent Oil Field was drilled in Neodesha in 1892. Norman No. 1 Oil Well was located in the southeast part of the city. The Norman No. 1 Museum is near the location of the original wellsite.[5]

In 1943, German and Italian prisoners of World War II were brought to Kansas and other Midwest states as a means of solving the labor shortage caused by American men serving in the war effort. Large internment camps were established in Kansas: Camp Concordia, Camp Funston (at Fort Riley), Camp Phillips (at Salina under Fort Riley). Fort Riley established 12 smaller branch camps, including Neodesha.[6]


Neodesha is located at 37°25′25″N 95°40′52″W / 37.42361°N 95.68111°W / 37.42361; -95.68111 (37.423512, -95.681185)[7], along the Verdigris and Fall Rivers. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.1 square miles (3.0 km²), of which, 1.1 square miles (2.9 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (2.63%) is water.

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