Main Births etc
Emporia, Kansas
—  City  —
Downtown Emporia (2012)
Location of Emporia within Lyon County and Kansas
Coordinates: 38°24′14″N 96°10′54″W / 38.40389, -96.18167Coordinates: 38°24′14″N 96°10′54″W / 38.40389, -96.18167[1]
Country United States
State Kansas
County Lyon
 • Type Mayor–Council
 • Mayor Jon Geitz [2]
 • City Manager Mark McAnarney [3]
 • City Clerk Kerry Sull [3]
 • Total 11.94 sq mi (30.92 km2)
 • Land 11.83 sq mi (30.64 km2)
 • Water 0.92 sq mi (0.28 km2)  0.6%
Elevation[1] 1,148 ft (350 m)
Population (2010)[5][6]
 • Total 24,916
 • Estimate (2012) 24,958
 • Density 2,100/sq mi (810/km2)
 • µSA 33,748
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 66801 [7]
Area code 620, exchange 341
FIPS code 20-21275 [1]
GNIS feature ID 0477524 [1]
Website City Website

Emporia is a city in and the county seat of Lyon County, Kansas, United States.[1][8] As of the 2010 census, the city population was 24,916.[9] Emporia lies between Topeka and Wichita at the intersection of U.S. Route 50 with Interstates 335 and 35 on the Kansas Turnpike. Emporia is the principal city of the Emporia Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Lyon and Chase counties.

Emporia is also a college town, home to Emporia State University and Flint Hills Technical College.


Sixth Avenue c. 1912

Located on upland prairie, Emporia was founded on in 1857, drawing its name from ancient Carthage, a place known in history as a prosperous center of commerce.[10] Emporia is particularly known for its newspaper, the Emporia Gazette, published in the first half of the 20th century by the legendary newspaperman William Allen White. The paper became the widely perceived model of excellence in small-town journalism.

The first railroad was extended to Emporia in 1869.[11]

In 1953, Emporia was the site of the first Veterans Day observance in the United States. At the urging of local shoe cobbler Alvin J. King, U.S. Representative Edward Rees introduced legislation in The United States Congress to rename Armistice Day as Veterans Day. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill into law on October 8, 1954.[12]

On June 8, 1974, an F4 tornado struck Emporia, killing six people, injuring 200 people, and causing $25 million in damages.[13]

The 1987 CBS miniseries Murder Ordained was filmed in Emporia. It dramatized an actual event in Emporia involving the 1983 death of Sandra Bird. Her husband, Rev. Tom Bird, was convicted of first-degree murder in her death and served 20 years in prison.

On Sunday, March 6, 1988 a heavily armed gunman walked into the Calvary Baptist Church during services and opened fire. The 29 year old gunman, Cheunphon Ji, had no particular target, killing one person and injuring four others.[14][15]


Emporia is located at 38°24′14″N 96°10′54″W / 38.40389, -96.18167 (38.408148, -96.187054) [1] in east-central Kansas. It lies along the Kansas Turnpike at its intersection with Interstate 35 and U.S. Highway 50, 108 miles (174 km) southwest of Kansas City, 58 miles (93 km) southwest of Topeka, and 87 miles (140 km) northeast of Wichita on the eastern edge of the Flint Hills. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.94 square miles (30.92 km2), of which 11.83 square miles (30.64 km2) is land and 0.11 square miles (0.28 km2) is water.[4] The Neosho River flows along the northern side of the city. The Cottonwood River, one of its tributaries, flows along the city's southern edge and of two large city parks, Peter Pan and Soden's Grove; the two rivers meet near the eastern boundary of Emporia and flow southeast to join the Arkansas River in Oklahoma.


The city averages about 60 rainy days per year, 59 days with high temperatures of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher, and 124 days with low temperatures below freezing. The average temperature in January is 29 °F (−2 °C), and in July it is 79 °F (26 °C). Annual snowfall averages 10.2 inches (25.9 cm).[16]

Climate data for Emporia, Kansas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 40
Average low °F (°C) 19
Precipitation inches (cm) 0.7
Source: Weatherbase[16]


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 843
1870 2,168 157.2%
1880 4,631 113.6%
1890 7,551 63.1%
1900 8,223 8.9%
1910 9,058 10.2%
1920 11,273 24.5%
1930 14,067 24.8%
1940 13,188 −6.2%
1950 15,669 18.8%
1960 18,190 16.1%
1970 23,327 28.2%
1980 25,287 8.4%
1990 25,512 0.9%
2000 26,760 4.9%
2010 24,916 −6.9%
Est. 2012 24,958 −6.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census[]

As of the 2010 census, there were 24,916 people, 9,812 households, and 5,571 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,491.6 inhabitants per square mile (962/km²). There were 11,352 housing units at an average density of 1,135.2 per square mile (440/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 79.2% White, 3.2% African American, 3.1% Asian, 0.8% American Indian, 10.5% from some other race, and 3.1% from two or more races. 25.4% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.[9]

There were 9,812 households of which 31.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.0% were married couples living together, 5.3% had a male householder with no wife present, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.2% were non-families. 32.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39, and the average family size was 3.08.[9]

In the city, the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 19.7% from 18 to 24, 24.5% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.8 males age 18 and over.[9]

The median income for a household in the city was $34,443, and the median income for a family was $47,500. Males had a median income of $32,873 versus $25,821 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,485. About 12.0% of families and 22.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.9% of those under age 18 and 11.9% of those age 65 or over.[9]


In addition to Emporia State University and other large public-sector employers such as the city and county governments, the public schools, and the county hospital, Emporia has several large private-sector employers.[17] Previously, a Tyson Foods beef-packing plant employed more than 2,400 workers.[17] Dolly Madison has a bakery in Emporia. Hopkins Manufacturing Corporation, founded in Emporia in 1953, by E.L. "Bud" Hopkins, and recognized in 2003 as the city's Large Employer of the Year,[18] makes products for the automotive aftermarket. The Braum dairy store chain, based in Oklahoma City, originated in Emporia in 1952 under the name Peter Pan.[19] Menu Foods operates a multi-acre plant in Emporia that manufactures wet dog food.[20]

On January 25, 2008, Tyson unexpectedly announced the layoff of 1,500 workers (more than 60 percent) by March 25, 2008.[21] The company said it needed to move its slaughter operations closer to where the cattle are raised in western Kansas.[22] As the city's largest employer for 37 years, the Tyson plant creates almost 10 percent of the local economy.[23]

Historic structures[]

Emporia has 13 structures on the National Register of Historic Places. They are the Old Emporia Public Library, the Finney (Warren Wesley) House, the Granada Theater (also known as the Fox Theater), the Harris-Borman House, the Howe (Richard) House, the Keebler-Stone House, the Kress Building, the Mason (Walt) House, the Anderson Carnegie Memorial Library, the Plumb (Mrs. Preston B.) House, the Soden's Grove Bridge, the Soden (Hallie B.) House, and the William Allen White House (also known as Red Rocks).[24] There is also an authentic one-room school house located on the Emporia State University campus (near Merchant Street) that is available for tours through the ESU Teachers College and The National Teachers Hall of Fame.


2005 KDOT Map of Lyon County (map legend)

The city is served by the Emporia Municipal Airport as well as the Lyon County Area Transportation (LCAT) municipal bus system. The city once had an Amtrak stop and was served by the east and westbound Southwest Chiefs daily. The station was eliminated in 1999 after a fire destroyed the station but local efforts in 2014 are trying to bring back that station.


Bus service within the city is provided by LCAT or Lyon County Area Transportation. The agency provides fixed-route bus service to the city of Emporia, and paratransit service to the disabled and the rest of Lyon County. The buses are a service of Lyon County, with significant support coming from the Kansas Department of Transportation. The Greyhound Lines has a bus stop in Emporia.[25]


Emporia is served by the following highways.

  • I-35
  • I-335
  • Kan. Tpk.
  • US-50
  • K-99


The Emporia Gazette is the city's main newspaper, published six days a week.[26] The Gazette also publishes a Spanish language monthly paper, La Voz.[27] Emporia State University publishes a bi-weekly student newspaper, the Emporia State University Bulletin.[28]

Emporia is a center of broadcast media for east-central Kansas.[29] One AM radio station and ten FM radio stations are licensed to and/or broadcast from the city.[29] Emporia is in the Topeka, Kansas television market, and one television station, a translator of the Fox affiliate in Topeka, broadcasts from the city.[30][31]

Notable people[]

Rainbow Arch in Emporia (2012)

  • Clint Bowyer, NASCAR driver
  • Wendell Castle, American furniture artist
  • Harry Cheshire, actor who played Judge Ben Wiley on Buffalo Bill, Jr. and Lawman; born in Emporia in 1891[32]
  • Don Coldsmith, author of the fictional Westerns, "Spanish Bit Saga"
  • Melora Creager, frontwoman of Rasputina
  • R. Lee Ermey, former U.S. Marine drill instructor, television host and actor
  • Mark Essex, black supremacist who killed 10 people in New Orleans
  • Jim Everett, former quarterback, National Football League
  • David Green, founder of Hobby Lobby
  • Thelma Hill, silent film comedienne
  • Chad Johnson, attorney
  • Marziah Karch, writer
  • J. L. Lewis, professional golfer
  • John Lohmeyer, NFL player
  • Edward Herbert Rees, congressman
  • Carl Salser, author, businessman and educator
  • Arthur Samuel, computer scientist
  • Dean Smith, former North Carolina Tarheels basketball coach
  • Gary Stinnett, NHRA Division win recordholder and multiple-time Super Comp World Champion[33]
  • Keith Waldrop, author and translator
  • William Allen White, author and newspaper editor
  • William Lindsay White, author, newspaper editor, CBS war correspondent, Reader's Digest Roving Editor

Fictional resident

  • Ray Krebbs, character in Dallas

See also[]

  • Emporia USD 253, Emporia High School
  • Great Flood of 1951


  1. ^ a b c d e f Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) details for Emporia, Kansas; United States Geological Survey (USGS); October 13, 1978.
  2. ^ "Emporia City Commission List;". Retrieved 14 October 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Emporia Citty Official List;". Retrieved 14 October 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  6. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-05-29. 
  7. ^ United States Postal Service (2012). "USPS - Look Up a ZIP Code".!input.action. Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  8. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "2010 City Population and Housing Occupancy Status". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 27, 2011. 
  10. ^ Federal Writers' Project (1939). Kansas: A Guide to the Sunflower State. Works Progress Administration. pp. 186. 
  11. ^ Federal Writers' Project (1939). Kansas: A Guide to the Sunflower State. Works Progress Administration. pp. 187. 
  12. ^ "Declaring Emporia, Kansas, to Be the Founding City of the Veterans Day Holiday -- (Senate -- October 31, 2003)". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2007-08-31. 
  13. ^ "1974 Emporia Tornado". National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office, Topeka, Kansas. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 
  14. ^ "Gunman Kills Man in Church". New York Times. 
  15. ^ "It did happen here". The Emporia Gazette. 2007-04-19. Archived from the original on 2013-03-25. Retrieved 2013-03-25. 
  16. ^ a b "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Emporia, Kansas, United States of America". Weatherbase. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-21. 
  17. ^ a b "Private Sector Employees". Regional Development Association of East Central Kansas. Archived from the original on 2007-06-29. Retrieved 2007-08-20. 
  18. ^ "Emporia's 2003 Employer of the Year". Hopkins Manufacturing Corporation. Retrieved 2007-08-26. 
  19. ^ "Our History". Braum's Online, LLC. Retrieved 2007-08-26. 
  20. ^ "Facilities". Menu Foods Income Fund. Retrieved 2007-08-26. 
  21. ^ "Tyson will eliminate slaughter in Emporia". Emporia Gazette. 2008-01-25. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  22. ^ "Tyson Plant in Emporia Ceasing Operations". WIBW-TV. 2008-01-25. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  23. ^ "Emporia Leaders Say They'll Make Do". KAKE-TV. 2008-01-26. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  24. ^ "National Register of Historic Places: Kansas, Lyon County". National Register of Historic Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  25. ^ "Greyhound Lines - Bus stops in Kansas". Retrieved 14 October 2014. 
  26. ^ "Emporia Gazette". Mondo Times. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  27. ^ "Record Details - La Voz". Kansas Press Association. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  28. ^ "Emporia State University Bulletin". Mondo Times. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  29. ^ a b "Radio Stations in Emporia, Kansas". Radio-Locator. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  30. ^ "Topeka, Kansas (TV market map)". EchoStar Knowledge Base. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  31. ^ "KTMJ TV 43". Mondo Times. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  32. ^ Billy Hathorn, "Roy Bean, Temple Houston, Bill Longley, Ranald Mackenzie, Buffalo Bill, Jr., and the Texas Rangers: Depictions of West Texans in Series Television, 1955 to 1967", West Texas Historical Review, Vol. 89 (2013), p. 114
  33. ^ NHRA Lucas Oil Super Comp World Champion Gary Stinnett, ( Retrieved 02/09/15

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