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Reno County, Kansas

Clinton Carter Hutchinson; Lewis M. Thomas; John Hart; J. H. D. Rosan; and Charles Street organized Reno County on January 1, 1872. The city of Hutchinson was incorporated on August 15, 1872. Pretty Prairie, Arlington, Partridge, Willowbrook, Haven, Langdon, Buhler, Turon, Nickerson, Plevna, South Hutchinson, Sylvia and Abbyville are also cities in the county. The county was named for Major General Jesse Lee Reno, Union army, killed in the Battle of South Mountain in 1862.

The first organized church was the Hutchinson Methodist established in 1872. The first church building was the Hutchinson Presbyterian constructed in 1873. Hutchinson, the home of the official State Fair, established a county fair about 1873. The first school was formed in 1864 while Reno County was still part of Marion County. School District 1, established in Hutchinson in 1872, covered the entire county.

Interesting public figures from the county include W. Y. Morgan, editor of the Hutchinson News, 1895-1932, was a Lieutenant Governor of Kansas and a member of the Board of Regents. James Dick, world-renowned concert pianist and founder of the Round Top, Texas, music festival. American poet William Stafford is from the county. Governor Walter A. Huxman (1937-1939), Congressmen William Brown (1875-1877) and George Neeley (1912-1975) were natives of the county. Also John F. Fontron served as a Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court from 1964 to 1975.

Two movies, Wait Until the Sun Shines, Nellie, and portions of Picnic, by Kansan Willian Inge, were filmed in Hutchinson.

Interesting sites in the county include the Sugar Mill, the Great American Life Building, the Reno County Courthouse and Andrew Carnegie Library. According to some stories, during an Indian raid, Hutchinson's citizens all took refuge in the Sugar Mill. Another relates that a swimming pool was supposed to have been located in the Central High School building, but no one can find the location.

For more information see the Reno County website. The Reno County Historical Society has an archives and research library. The county retains all its original county records, and the Kansas Room of the Hutchinson Public Library has source materials.

Entry: Reno County, Kansas

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: February 2010

Date Modified: April 2016

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.