Parsons, Kansas: Wikis


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City of Parsons
—  City  —
Location of Parsons in Kansas.
Coordinates: 37°20′21″N 95°16′11″W / 37.33917°N 95.26972°W / 37.33917; -95.26972Coordinates: 37°20′21″N 95°16′11″W / 37.33917°N 95.26972°W / 37.33917; -95.26972
Country United States
State Kansas
County Labette
Founded 1870
Incorporated 1871
 - Total 10.4 sq mi (26.8 km2)
 - Land 10.4 sq mi (26.8 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 902 ft (275 m)
Population (2006)
 - Total 11,237
 Density 1,084/sq mi (418.7/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 67357
Area code(s) 620
FIPS code 20-54675[1]
GNIS feature ID 0469782[2]

Parsons is a city in the northern part of Labette County, located in Southeast Kansas, in the Central United States. The population was 11,514 at the 2000 census, and it was estimated to be 11,237 in the year 2006.[3] It is the most populous city of Labette County, and it is the second most populous city in the southeastern region of Kansas.

On June 5, 2006 the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Parsons a 2006 Great American Main Street Award winner for its successful efforts in revitalizing its downtown area through historic preservation. The award was presented during the 2006 National Main Streets Conference in New Orleans. Parsons was one of only five cities receiving the 2006 award.



Parsons was named after Levi Parsons, president of the Missouri - Kansas - Texas (Katy) Railroad. The town was founded in 1870 and incorporated the following year. During World War II it was home to the Kansas Ordnance Plant, which later operated for some years as the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant. In Spring of 2005, the munitions plant was placed on the BRAC list for closure. The community has rallied behind the current plant operator, Day and Zimmerman, to keep the company on the grounds after closure and to keep those jobs and more in the Parsons area. (See link to "Great Plains Industrial Park" in "External Links", below) Parsons is also home to the Parsons State Hospital & Training Center, which has been in operation since 1903 when it was opened as the Kansas State Hospital for Epileptics.

Main Street in 1908

In 1957 the hospital was renamed Parsons State Hospital and Training Center. At that time it began providing programs for individuals with developmental disabilities. The Hospital occupies 43 buildings on 163 acres. The hospital also includes residential services, the University Center on Developmental Disabilities and the Parsons Research Center for the University of Kansas, the Special Purpose School of the Southeast Regional Education Service Center. The Southeast Kansas Agricultural Research Center of Kansas State University is also located on the grounds, as is the Alzheimer's Association, Heart of America Chapter, Southeast Kansas Regional Office.

The first library began as a subscription library in 1904 and was located in city hall. Parsons Public Library, a Carnegie library, opened on May 18, 1909. A new library opened on April 18, 1977, and its former building has since been renovated to become a visual and performing arts center.

The sale of Katy Industries to Union Pacific, in 1988, eventually saw the loss of scores of railroad jobs and, in effect, severed a major part of Parsons' city history which stretched back to its 1871 incorporation. While, in return, the city received a million dollars to help it recover (and so that it would not file lengthy paperwork opposing the sale and thus delaying it), that money is kept in a fund by the city government, which uses the accrued interest on economic development projects. The only reminder of the Katy Railroad is now found in the local historical society's museum and of course the tracks, over which trains now speed through Parsons. The Kansas Army Ammunition Plant also was down scaled in the 1980s. Local authorities seemed powerless to halt the economic decline.

On April 19, 2000, an F3 tornado cut a devastating path of destruction through the center of Parsons. Eight hundred homes, one hundred twenty businesses, and hundreds of vehicles were destroyed or damaged.

In June 2008, new ownership of the daily newspaper, The Parsons Sun, began monthly charges for access to its internet site, making it one of the very few online newspapers to do so.

Parsons is the home of Dwayne's Photo, which is the last processor of K-14 Kodachrome film in the world.

The motion picture Zombiegeddon (2006) was filmed in Parsons.


Parsons is located at 37°20′21″N 95°16′11″W / 37.33917°N 95.26972°W / 37.33917; -95.26972 (37.339070, -95.269747).[4] The city is at the junction of U.S. Route 59 and U.S. Route 400. Along US-59, the city of Erie (the county seat of Neosho County) is 17 miles to the north and Oswego (the county seat of Labette County) is 20 miles south and east. Big Hill Lake is several miles to the west of the city, and Lake Parsons is situated northwest of the city.

The Kansas Army Ammunition Plant (KSAAP) is located southeast of the city. The facility was completed in 1942 to support World War II operations and consists of 21 separate facilities over 13,727 acres. The installation is actively used as a munitions loading, assembly, and packing facility.[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.4 square miles (26.8 km²), all land.[1]



City events

  • Katy Days
    • Held every year over the Memorial Day weekend.
    • See link to official website under "External links" below.
  • Art Show
  • Christmas Parade
    • At least 100 entries.
  • St. Patrick's Day Parade
  • Osage Prairie Bicycle Tour
    • 15, 40, and 70 mile rides
  • Concerts and Performances
    • Held throughout the year at Parsons Municipal Auditoruim.
  • Farmer's Market
    • Mid April through October at Forest Park. Every Tues. 4-7pm & Sat. 7-11am
  • Dawg Daze
    • Sidewalk sale and car show.
  • 4th of July
    • Large fireworks display.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1880 4,199
1890 6,736 60.4%
1900 7,682 14.0%
1910 12,463 62.2%
1920 16,028 28.6%
1930 14,903 −7.0%
1940 14,294 −4.1%
1950 14,750 3.2%
1960 13,929 −5.6%
1970 13,015 −6.6%
1980 12,898 −0.9%
1990 11,924 −7.6%
2000 11,514 −3.4%

Parsons's population was estimated to be 11,237 in the year 2006, a decrease of 247, or -2.2%, over the previous six years.[3]

As of the U.S. Census in 2000,[1] there were 11,514 people, 4,738 households, and 2,909 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,111.2 people per square mile (429.1/km²). There were 5,359 housing units at an average density of 517.2/sq mi (199.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.54% White, 8.17% Black or African American, 1.12% Native American, 0.42% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.90% from other races, and 2.84% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.64% of the population.

There were 4,738 households out of which 30.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.3% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.6% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.2% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 17.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 91.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,345, and the median income for a family was $36,557. Males had a median income of $28,667 versus $21,558 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,763. About 9.9% of families and 14.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.3% of those under age 18 and 11.5% of those age 65 or over.


USD 503 Parsons District Schools

  • Garfield Elementary, grades K-5
  • Guthridge Elementary, grades K-5
  • Lincoln Elementary, grades K-5
  • Parsons Middle School, grades 6-8
  • Parsons Senior High School, grades 9-12

USD 506 Labette County District Schools (Serves rural and western Parsons inside Labette County)

  • Meadow View Elementary, grades K-8

USD 504 Oswego District Schools (Serves eastern rural Parsons)

  • Service Valley Elementary, grades K-8

Private School

  • St. Patrick Catholic School, grades PK-8


Points of interest

Civil War veterans bought a portion of Oakwood Cemetery in 1886 and named it Antietam Circle

Notable residents

See also

Information on this and other cities in Kansas

Other information for Kansas


  1. ^ a b c "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ a b "Population Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division.  Annual estimates of the population to 2006-07-01. Released 2007-06-28. Population change is from 2000-07-01 to 2006-07-01.
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "Interim Soil Removal at Kansas Army Ammunition Plant". ECC. Retrieved 2006-07-22. 

External links

Official sites

Additional information

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

PARSONS, a city of Labette county, in south-eastern Kansas, U.S.A., situated at the junction of the Big and Little Labette creeks, about 138 m. S. by W. of Kansas City. Pop. (1890), 6736; (1900), 7682, of whom 807 were negroes; (1905, state census), 11,720. It is served by the Kansas City Fort Scott & Memphis (St Louis & San Francisco system) and the Missouri Kansas & Texas railways. The city has large machine shops of the Missouri Kansas & Texas railway and various manufactures. Natural gas is utilized for light and heat. The first settlement on the site of the city was made in 1869 and was called Mendota ("place of meeting" - i.e. of the creeks). In 1871 the city was chartered, and in 1910 government by commission went into effect. It was named in honour of Levi Parsons (1822-1887), the first president of the Missouri Kansas and Texas railway.

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