Galena, Kansas

Galena is a city in Cherokee County, Kansas, United States.[1] As of the 2020 census, the population of the city was 2,761.[3]

Galena, Kansas
Downtown Galena (2008)
Downtown Galena (2008)
Location within Cherokee County and Kansas
Location within Cherokee County and Kansas
KDOT map of Cherokee County (legend)
Coordinates: 37°4′28″N 94°38′8″W / 37.07444°N 94.63556°W / 37.07444; -94.63556Coordinates: 37°4′28″N 94°38′8″W / 37.07444°N 94.63556°W / 37.07444; -94.63556[1]
CountryUnited States
Named forGalena
 • Total4.66 sq mi (12.06 km2)
 • Land4.60 sq mi (11.92 km2)
 • Water0.05 sq mi (0.14 km2)
Elevation902 ft (275 m)
 • Total2,761
 • Density590/sq mi (230/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code620
FIPS code20-25100 [1]
GNIS ID469360 [1]


Although the railroad was built through the territory of Galena in 1871, the community did not start until the discovery of lead there in the spring of 1877.[4] The first post office was established in 1877.[5]

Galena Museum (2008), former Galena train station for the M-K-T railroad.

The city was originally platted by the Galena Mining and Smelting Company and was to be known as Cornwall. The city was actually known as Short Creek when first established because of a nearby creek and was known as Bonanza briefly before taking the present name of Galena in 1877, which is named after the lead ore galena found in the area.[6][7] The city was part of the tri state mining area and had over 30,000 inhabitants. After the mines closed in the 1970s, population decreased.

The Jayhawk Ordnance Works northwest of Galena, built during World War II, was a large ordnance plant producing ammonium nitrate. After the war it was privatized by its operator Kenneth Aldred Spencer and at one point was the world's largest producer of ammonium nitrate fertilizer in the world. It would form the basis for the Spencer Chemical Company's fortune which would eventually be funneled into numerous philanthropies throughout Missouri and Kansas. The Spencer family had been in the area because of their ownership of the Pittsburg & Midway Coal Company mining operation.[8] The plant is still in operation as the Jayhawk Fine Chemicals Corporation now owned by CABB.


Galena is located at 37°4′28″N 94°38′8″W / 37.07444°N 94.63556°W / 37.07444; -94.63556 (37.074459, -94.635549).[9] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.62 square miles (11.97 km2), of which, 4.57 square miles (11.84 km2) is land and 0.05 square miles (0.13 km2) is water.[10] Galena is the eastern end of the segment of U.S. Route 66 that passes through Kansas.


The town's population has dropped by 70% since 1900.

Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census
Galena water tower (2008)

2010 censusEdit

As of the census[11] of 2010, there were 3,085 people, 1,198 households, and 792 families living in the city. The population density was 675.1 inhabitants per square mile (260.7/km2). There were 1,429 housing units at an average density of 312.7 per square mile (120.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.0% White, 0.4% African American, 3.0% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 1.3% from other races, and 4.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.6% of the population.

There were 1,198 households, of which 34.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.2% were married couples living together, 16.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 33.9% were non-families. 29.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.04.

The median age in the city was 39.1 years. 25.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.7% were from 25 to 44; 27.2% were from 45 to 64; and 15.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.3% male and 50.7% female.

Superfund siteEdit

In 1983 as a result of historic practices involved in the mining and smelting of toxic metals, including the deposition of lead, zinc, antimony and cadmium, the Cherokee County Superfund site was listed on the EPA's National Priorities List (NPL). These sites include the most serious abandoned hazardous waste sites in the United States and represent the priority list for remedial action under the Superfund program. The site consists of approximately 115 square miles, divided into seven subsites including Galena. The Cherokee County site encompasses the Kansas portion of the Tri-State district, the latter including Northeastern Oklahoma and Southwestern Missouri. Acidic waters in mine shafts throughout the site, chat piles, tailings impoundments, and surface waters both in mine pits and streams draining the site contain substantial concentrations of these toxic wastes.[12]


The community is served by Galena USD 499 public school district. Galena is home to Galena High School. In 1916 the Kansas Supreme Court heard a case where the school superintendent separated the African American ("colored") children and had them taught together from various grades by an African American teacher. The court rejected the district's decision making and requires students of different backgrounds be taught together.[13]

In the mediaEdit

  • Galena is home to the International Harvester L-170 truck that became the inspiration[14] for the character "Mater" in Disney's Cars. The truck sits at 119 N. Main St. outside of the Cars on the Route diner and souvenir store,[15] a restored Kan-O-Tex Service Station.
  • There are several museums in Galena such as the Galena Mining and Historical Museum located at 319 West 7th Street (Route 66) in Galena. According to the museum's Facebook page,[16] the building is an Old Katy Railroad Depot which was moved to its current location on 7th Street in 1983. The museum opened in 1984 with a 42 × 42 ft annex added in 1988, and then another 42 × 42 ft annex added in 2010. The museum is home to mining, school, Route 66 and historic memorabilia of city of Galena. It features a 1919 Model T Touring Car; a 1924 Model T Roadster; a 1931 Model A 2+12-ton Truck as part of its many exhibits.

Notable peopleEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e "Galena, Kansas", Geographic Names Information System, United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior
  2. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Profile of Galena, Kansas in 2020". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on November 9, 2022. Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  4. ^ Blackmar, Frank Wilson (1912). Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc. Standard Publishing Company. p. 705. ISBN 9780722249055.
  5. ^ "Kansas Post Offices, 1828-1961, page 2". Kansas Historical Society. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  6. ^ Kansas Place-Names, John Rydjord, University of Oklahoma Press, 1972, p. 77 ISBN 0-8061-0994-7
  7. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 133.
  8. ^ "Surplus Property: Jayhawk Goes Civilian". Time. June 17, 1946.
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  11. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  12. ^ Environmental Use Control Work Plan June 1, 2009 to June 1, 2014, Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  13. ^ Supreme Court, Kansas; Banks, Elliot V.; Webb, William Craw; Randolph, Asa Maxson Fitz; Clemens, Gaspar Christopher; Dewey, Thomas Emmet; Graham, Llewellyn James; Moore, Oscar Leopold; Hatcher, Earl Hilton; McCue, Howard Franklin (1916). "Kansas Reports".
  14. ^ Wallis, Michael; Suzanne Fitzgerald Wallis. "The Art of Cars". Chronicle Books. p. 4.
  15. ^ Shelton, Missy (June 25, 2011). "'Cars' Fans Get Their Rusty Kicks On Route 66". National Public Radio. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
  16. ^ Galena, Kansas on Facebook

Further readingEdit

  • Pioneer Days of Galena, KS; Galena Bicentennial Committee; 1984.

External linksEdit