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Kansas Heritage: Sedgwick County

Aimed at preserving the heritage of central and western Kansas

Sedgwick County Map 1899

Sedgwick County map

Prentis, Noble Lovely. "History of Kansas". Winfield, KS: E. P. Greer, 1899

Homesteading in Sedgwick County

Sedgwick County is known as the airplane capital of the world because of the many aviation industries that are located there. This county is located in south-central Kansas. It shares its border with Reno, Harvey, Butler, Sumner and Kingman Counties. The biggest city in Sedgwick is Wichita, and the Big and Little Arkansas Rivers meet in this city’s downtown area. Wichita is also the permanent county seat. The county was officially organized in 1870, and was named in memory of John Sedgwick of the United States Army.

The first settlers to come to the area later known as Sedgwick County were mostly tradesmen and ranchers. These first settlers organized into a township attached to Butler County for judicial reasons. In 1867, the county was formed by an act of legislature. In 1872, after Sedgwick County was officially organized, some of the townships were given to the neighboring counties of Reno and Harvey.

The city of Wichita, along with being the county seat, played a crucial role in Sedgwick County’s growth and development. This city is named after the Wichita tribe, with who many local business people established trade. The tribe was relocated so the area could be opened for white settlement in 1867. Trading became more established after the move, and Wichita as base for trade and the Chisholm Trail as a route for transport.

Wichita is also the location where the first airplane, the Cessna Comet, was built in 1917. Cessna Aircraft Company, founded by aviation pioneer Clyde Cessna, manufactured the plane.


Blackmar, Frank W. , ed. Kansas: a Cyclopedia of  State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, etc.. Chicago, IL: Standard Publishing Company, 1912. 662-65. Print.

"Clyde Cessna." Kansapedia. Kansas Historical Society, 2011. Web. 23 Apr 2012.

"Wichita History at a Glance." City of Wichita. N.p., 2012. Web. 23 Apr 2012.


Paragraphs written by intern Holly Younger 2012