Cottonwood River (Kansas)

Cottonwood River is one of the principal tributaries of the Neosho River in central Kansas of the United States.[5]

Cottonwood River
1886 Clements Stone Arch Bridge over Cottonwood River near Clements (2006)
CountryUnited States
RegionFlint Hills
Physical characteristics
 ⁃ locationWest of Marion, Kansas
 ⁃ coordinates38°21′25″N 097°04′14″W / 38.35694°N 97.07056°W / 38.35694; -97.07056[1]
 ⁃ elevation1,056 ft (322 m)
MouthNeosho River
 ⁃ location
East of Emporia, Kansas
 ⁃ coordinates
38°23′09″N 096°03′23″W / 38.38583°N 96.05639°W / 38.38583; -96.05639Coordinates: 38°23′09″N 096°03′23″W / 38.38583°N 96.05639°W / 38.38583; -96.05639[1]
 ⁃ elevation
322 ft (98 m)[1]
Basin size1,912 sq mi (4,950 km2)[4]
 ⁃ locationNeosho Rapids[2]
 ⁃ average1,239 cu ft/s (35.1 m3/s)[3]
Basin features
River systemNeosho River


The river begins near the west line of Marion County as two tributaries, the North Cottonwood River and the South Cottonwood River. They both start within 2 miles of each other, and within a few miles northwest of Lehigh.[6]

The North Cottonwood starts near the west line of Marion County,[6] crosses into McPherson County and roughly parallels the county line northward for 5 miles, then crosses back into Marion County.[7] It flows through Durham then into the Marion Reservoir.[6]

The South Cottonwood also starts near the west line of Marion County, flows southward about 1 mile west of Lehigh, then flows eastward about 2 miles south of Hillsboro, then northeast towards the lower side of the Marion Reservoir.[6]

The North and South Cottonwood join about 1 mile southeast of the Marion Reservoir to become the North Fork Cottonwood River, before flowing through the city of Marion.[6] The river flows southeast to Florence, then eastward towards Chase County.[8] In Chase County, it flows northeast through Cedar Point then near Clements and Elmdale. It then flows eastward through Strong City, Cottonwood Falls.[8]

The South Fork Cottonwood River starts south of Matfield Green, then flows northward along the east side of Matfield Green and Bazaar. It merges with the North Fork Cottonwood River about 3 miles east of Cottonwood Falls[8] then flows eastward near Saffordville and across into Lyon County near Plymouth, Kansas, then along the south edge of Emporia. It flows into the Neosho River about 5 miles east of Emporia.[9]


In 1806, Zebulon Pike led the Pike expedition westward from St Louis, Missouri, of which part of their journey followed the Cottonwood River through Marion County near the current towns of Florence, Marion, Durham.[10]

Cities and towns along the riverEdit



The following lakes are located in the Cottonwood River drainage basin:


The following bridges over the Cottonwood River are on the National Register of Historic Places list:


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Cottonwood River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 1978-10-13. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Kansas : A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc; Frank W. Blackmar; Standard Publishing Co; 1912. Archived 2012-05-11 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b c d e Marion County Map; KDOT.
  7. ^ McPherson County Map; KDOT.
  8. ^ a b c Chase County Map; KDOT.
  9. ^ Lyon County Map; KDOT.
  10. ^ "1806 Pike Expedition map through Marion County" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2012-04-13.
  11. ^ Cottonwood River Pratt Truss Bridge - NRHP Application
  12. ^ Cottonwood River Pratt Truss Bridge - NRHP Photos
  13. ^ Clements Stone Arch Bridge - NRHP Application
  14. ^ Clements Stone Arch Bridge - NRHP Photos
  15. ^ Cottonwood River Bridge - NRHP Application
  16. ^ Cottonwood River Bridge - NRHP Photos
  17. ^ Soden's Grove Bridge - NRHP Application
  18. ^ Soden's Grove Bridge - NRHP Photos

External linksEdit

Cottonwood River current depth and history