Hesston, Kansas

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Hesston is a city in Harvey County, Kansas, United States. The population was 3,509 at the 2000 census. Hesson is home of Hesston College.



Established in 1886 as a village, Hesston began to grow as the Missouri Pacific railroad was expanding westward through the state. By 1912 it had grown into an important shipping and receiving point for farmers throughout the region.

Many of the early settlers were Mennonite farmers. In 1909, the Mennonite Church founded Hesston College in the town. In 1981, the Dyck Arboretum of the Plains was founded at the college; the 13 acre (52,609 m²) arboretum showcases more than 600 varieties of native vegetation.

In 1947, Lyle Yost founded Hesston Manufacturing Co. in the city. The company specialized in farm equipment, including self-propelled windrowers and the StakHand hay harvester. in 1974, Hesston commissioned its first belt buckles [1], which became popular on the rodeo circuit and with collectors. In 1991, the American-based equipment manufacturer AGCO Corporation purchased Hesston Corporation; Hesston-brand equipment is still manufactured in the city.

A large portion of the town was damaged by an F-5 tornado on March 13, 1990. Two people lost their lives in this storm.


Hesston is located at 38°8′21″N 97°25′46″W / 38.13917°N 97.42944°W / 38.13917; -97.42944 (38.139097, -97.429550)[4]. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.6 square miles (6.7 km²), all of it land.


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 3,509 people, 1,227 households, and 904 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,353.2 people per square mile (523.1/km²). There were 1,308 housing units at an average density of 504.4/sq mi (195.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.56% White, 1.48% African American, 0.60% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 1.25% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.88% of the population.[5][6]

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