Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cottonwood Falls, Kansas

Cottonwood Falls, Kansas is the county seat of Chase county, Kansas, situated in the heart of the Flint Hills prairie.

It’s one of my favorite places in the state, and we passed through there a week ago on our trip to Missouri. Chase county is one of the least populated counties in Kansas, and Cottonwood Falls (the only large town) has just over 3,000 residents.

In 1931, Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne died in a plane crash in the county. In 1991, William Least Heat Moon wrote a wonderful book, PrairyErth: A Deep Map, from which I learned everything I know about Chase county.

The town features an imposing courthouse, the oldest courthouse in continual use west of the Mississippi. Built in 1873, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places. The town also has a wide brick Main Street and a neat old hotel, the Grand Central Hotel. The Cottonwood River flows through the town. A few years ago, the town was in sad shape - many of the stores along Main Street were empty and deserted. Today, a resurgence has taken place, and Cottonwood Falls is thriving with new businesses and lots of activity, but without losing the charm it always had.

We had lunch in town the day we were there, and also took the chance to get some pictures:

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