Russell, Kansas

Russell is the most populous city in and the county seat of Russell County, Kansas, United States.[5] As of the 2010 census, the city population was 4,506.[6]

Russell, Kansas
Main Street in downtown Russell (2009)
Main Street in downtown Russell (2009)
Location within Russell County and Kansas
Location within Russell County and Kansas
KDOT map of Russell County (legend)
Coordinates: 38°53′23″N 98°51′26″W / 38.88972°N 98.85722°W / 38.88972; -98.85722Coordinates: 38°53′23″N 98°51′26″W / 38.88972°N 98.85722°W / 38.88972; -98.85722
CountryUnited States
Named forRussell County
 • Total4.82 sq mi (12.47 km2)
 • Land4.82 sq mi (12.47 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
1,827 ft (557 m)
 • Total4,506
 • Estimate 
 • Density918.40/sq mi (354.59/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code785
FIPS code20-61825
GNIS ID0475222[4]


1915 Railroad Map of Russell County

In 1865, the Butterfield Overland Despatch established a short-lived station named Fossil Creek Station along its route from Atchison, Kansas to Denver near the site of modern Russell. In 1867, the Kansas Pacific Railway reached the area and built its own station, also named Fossil Creek, later just Fossil, north of the Butterfield station. That same year, the Kansas Legislature established the surrounding area as Russell County. In 1871, colonists from Ripon, Wisconsin established a permanent settlement at Fossil Station, renaming it Russell after the county.[7] Russell was incorporated and named the provisional county seat in 1872, and, after a two-year dispute with neighboring Bunker Hill, it became the permanent county seat in 1874.[8][9] In 1876, Volga Germans, mostly from the area around Saratov and Samara in Russia, began settling in and around Russell.[10]

The first discovery oil well in Russell County was drilled west of Russell in 1923. An oil boom ensued and lasted through the 1930s, attracting settlers from Oklahoma and Texas. Petroleum production became a staple of the local economy.[11]

Russell came to national attention in the mid-1990s as the hometown of U.S. Senators Bob Dole and Arlen Specter when both men campaigned for the U.S. presidency.[12] Dole was born and raised in Russell, and it remained his official place of residence throughout his political career.[13]


Russell is located at 38°53′23″N 98°51′26″W / 38.88972°N 98.85722°W / 38.88972; -98.85722 (38.889807, -98.857113) at an elevation of 1,827 feet (557 m).[4][14] Located in north-central Kansas at the intersection of Interstate 70 and U.S. Route 281, Russell is approximately 113 miles (182 km) northwest of Wichita, 231 miles (372 km) west of Kansas City, and 336 miles (541 km) east-southeast of Denver.[15][16]

The city lies in the Smoky Hills region of the Great Plains approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) south of the Saline River and 8 miles (13 km) north of the Smoky Hill River.[15][17] Fossil Creek, a tributary of the Smoky Hill River, passes immediately south of the city where it has been dammed to form a small reservoir, Fossil Lake.[17]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.87 square miles (12.61 km2), all of it land.[18]


Russel has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), with hot, humid summers and cold, dry winters.[19] On average, January is the coldest month, and July is both the hottest month and the wettest month.[20]

The average temperature in Russell is 55 °F (12.5 °C).[20] Over the course of a year, temperatures range from an average low of 18 °F (−8 °C) in January to an average high of 92 °F (33 °C) in July.[20] The high temperature reaches or exceeds 90 °F (32 °C) an average of 59 days a year and reaches or exceeds 100 °F (38 °C) an average of 11 days a year. The minimum temperature falls below the freezing point 32 °F (0 °C) an average of 126 days a year.[21] The hottest temperature recorded in Russell was 114 °F (46 °C) in 1980; the coldest temperature recorded was -24 °F (-31 °C) in 1989.[20]

The city is located near the eastern edge of western Kansas's semi-arid steppe climate (Köppen BSk), and precipitation is sometimes scarce. The city receives 26 inches (660 mm) of precipitation during an average year with the largest share being received from May through August.[20] The average relative humidity is 64%.[22] There are, on average, 86 days of measurable precipitation each year. Annual snowfall averages 20 inches (51 cm). Measurable snowfall occurs an average of 12 days a year with at least an inch of snow being received on seven of those days. Snow depth of at least an inch occurs an average of 26 days a year. Typically, the first fall freeze occurs by the second week of October, and the last spring freeze occurs by the last week of April.[21]

Climate data for Russell, Kansas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 84
Average high °F (°C) 42
Daily mean °F (°C) 30
Average low °F (°C) 18
Record low °F (°C) −20
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.54
Average snowfall inches (cm) 5.6
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 4.4 5.3 7.1 8.7 11.1 9.5 8.7 8.3 6.9 7.1 4.8 4.5 86.4
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 3.3 2.3 1.8 0.5 0 0 0 0 0.1 0.1 1.2 2.3 11.6
Source: The Weather Channel;[20] National Weather Service[21]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)4,423[3]−1.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[23]
2013 Estimate[24]

2010 censusEdit

As of the 2010 census, there were 4,506 people, 2,041 households, and 1,216 families residing in the city. The population density was 919.6 people per square mile (355.1/km2). There were 2,393 housing units at an average density of 488.4 per square mile (188.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.6% White, 1.0% African American, 0.6% American Indian, 0.5% Asian, 0.6% from some other race, and 1.6% from two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race were 2.1% of the population.[6]

There were 2,041 households, of which 26.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.6% were married couples living together, 4.7% had a male householder with no wife present, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.4% were non-families. 36.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16, and the average family size was 2.79.[6]

The median age in the city was 44.6 years. 22.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.2% were from 25 to 44; 27.3% were from 45 to 64; and 22.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.0% male and 51.0% female.[6]

The median income for a household in the city was $32,347, and the median income for a family was $43,834. Males had a median income of $31,727 versus $19,583 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,330. About 17.2% of families and 21.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 38.7% of those under age 18 and 14.1% of those age 65 or over.[6]

2000 censusEdit

As of the census of 2000, there were 4,696 people, 2,057 households, and 1,250 families residing in the city. The population density was 956.9 people per square mile (369.3/km2). There were 2,436 housing units at an average density of 496.4 per square mile (191.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.13% White, 0.96% African American, 0.57% Native American, 0.45% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.30% from other races, and 0.87% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.00% of the population.

There were 2,057 households, out of which 25.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.9% were married couples living together, 8.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.2% were non-families. 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 22.4% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 24.5% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 24.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.0 males.


Petroleum drilling is a major component of the local economy.

The economy of Russell is based primarily on agriculture with wheat gluten and ethanol manufacturing facilities located in the local industrial park. Russell County is also one of the leading petroleum producing counties in Kansas.[8]

As of 2012, 65.2% of the population over the age of 16 was in the labor force. 0.4% was in the armed forces, and 64.8% was in the civilian labor force with 61.6% being employed and 3.3% unemployed. The composition, by occupation, of the employed civilian labor force was: 33.9% in sales and office occupations; 24.4% in management, business, science, and arts; 17.5% in service occupations; 12.3% in natural resources, construction, and maintenance; and 11.9% in production, transportation, and material moving. The three industries employing the largest percentages of the working civilian labor force were: educational services, health care, and social assistance (28.3%); retail trade (20.0%); and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and mining (12.8%).[6]

The cost of living in Russell is relatively low; compared to a U.S. average of 100, the cost of living index for the city is 77.2.[25] As of 2012, the median home value in the city was $63,200, the median selected monthly owner cost was $935 for housing units with a mortgage and $412 for those without, and the median gross rent was $657.[6]


Russell is a city of the second class with a council-mayor-manager form of government.[26] The city council consists of eight members, two elected for each city ward.[27] The council sets policies and approves the city budget, meeting on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 4:30 p.m. in the City Council Room at the City Hall.[8][26] The city manager is hired by the council, enforces its policies, serves as its chief adviser, prepares the city budget, and administers city government personnel. The mayor presides at council meetings, serves as spokesperson for the city, and represents the city in intergovernmental relations.[8]

As the county seat, Russell is the administrative center of Russell County. The county courthouse is located downtown, and all departments of the county government base their operations in the city.[28]

Russell lies within Kansas's 1st U.S. Congressional District, represented by Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend). For the purposes of representation in the Kansas Legislature, the city is located in the 36th district of the Kansas Senate, represented by Sen. Elaine Bowers (R-Concordia) and the 109th district of the Kansas House of Representatives, represented by Rep. Troy Waymaster (R-Bunker Hill).[26]


Russell High School (2011)

The community is served by Russell County USD 407 public school district, and operates four public schools in the city:[29]

  • Russell High School (9-12)
  • Ruppenthal Middle School (6-8)
  • Bickerdyke Elementary School (2-5)
  • Simpson Elementary School (K-1)


The Russell Public Library, located downtown on West Wisconsin (6th) Street, is the city's main library. A member of the Central Kansas Library System, it has a collection of more than 32,000 volumes.[30][31] The library opened in 1901 and expanded into a Carnegie library in 1907, finally moving to its current facility in 1962.[32]



Interstate 70 and U.S. Route 40 run concurrently east–west immediately south of Russell, intersecting U.S. Route 281, which runs north–south through the town, at Exit 184. U.S. Route 40 Business follows U.S. 281 north 1.5 miles to its intersection with the old alignment of U.S. 40, which runs east–west through Russell. The business route then follows the old alignment east, ending at its intersection with I-70 at exit 189.[15]

Russell Municipal Airport is located southeast of the city on the U.S. 40 business route.[17] Publicly owned, it has two runways, one concrete and one turf, and is used for general aviation.[33]

Union Pacific Railroad operates one freight rail line, the Kansas Pacific (KP) Line, through Russell. It runs east–west through the city.[34]


Electricity production and distribution, recycling and trash removal, waste water management, and water production and distribution are all provided by separate departments of the city government.[35] Eagle Communication and Rural Telephone provide landline telephone service; Eagle Communication and Nex-Tech offer cable television and internet access.[36] Most residents use natural gas for heating fuel; service is provided by Kansas Gas Service.[25][36]

Health careEdit

Russell Regional Hospital is the sole hospital in the city. Established in 1942, it is a private, non-profit, 54-bed general medical and surgical facility.[37][38]


The Russell County News is the local newspaper, published weekly on Thursdays. It was a daily newspaper until 2000, then was a twice-weekly newspaper from 2001–15.[39]

Three radio stations broadcast from Russell. KRSL broadcasts on 990 AM, playing a Classic Country format.[40][41] Its sister station KRSL-FM broadcasts on 95.9 FM, playing a Classic Hits format.[41][42] KCCV-FM, a Christian station in Overland Park, Kansas, operates a translator station in Russell which broadcasts on 95.1 FM.[43]

Russell is in the Wichita-Hutchinson, Kansas television market.[44] KAKE, the ABC affiliate in Wichita, operates a translator station (K38GH) in Russell which broadcasts on analog channel 38.[45] KBSH-DT, KOCW, and KSNC, the respective satellite stations of the CBS, Fox, and NBC affiliates in Wichita, are located in neighboring counties, placing Russell within their broadcast radius.[46] Smoky Hills Public Television, the PBS affiliate for western Kansas, has its headquarters in nearby Bunker Hill.[47]

Parks and recreationEdit

The city government's Park Department maintains seven parks in the city. The largest is Memorial Park, located on the north side of the U.S. 40 business route in the far eastern part of the city. It includes baseball fields, tennis courts, a skateboard park, a play park, a frisbee golf course, and Russell Municipal Golf Course.[48] The municipal course is a 9-hole, regulation length course that opened in 1952.[49] In addition, the city government operates a municipal swimming pool next to Memorial Park.[50]


The Fossil Station Museum (2011)

Arts and musicEdit

Located downtown, the Deines Cultural Center is a non-profit art gallery that hosts exhibits featuring the work of local and regional artists. Its permanent collections consist of paintings by Birger Sandzén and the wood engravings of local artist E. Hubert Deines. In addition, the Center also hosts concerts, recitals, lectures, readings, and workshops.[51] The Center opened in 1990 with the Deines family's donation of its building, the Deines engravings, and a cash endowment to the city of Russell.[52]

Ad Astra Music Festival

In the month of July, Russell hosts the Ad Astra Music Festival, a music concert series featuring student and professional artists from all over the United States and the world. Music performed range from classical Bach and Brahms to contemporary compositions and jazz. The festival was started in 2015.


The city hosts the annual Russell County Free Fair during the last week of July.[53] Sponsored by local businesses and organizations, the Fair includes a 4-H livestock sale, carnival, live music, and other entertainment.[54] Other annual events include the annual Blarney Stone Hunt, the Independence Day Freedom Fireworks Celebration, Bricks, Broncs & BBQ and Flatland Car & Cycle Show the first weekend in October, the Lighted Christmas Parade, and Weihnachtsfest, a Christmas festival held the second Saturday in December for over 25 years.

Every ten years since 1941, Russell has held Prairiesta, a festival commemorating the city's foundation and celebrating its heritage. Held in June, the festival includes a parade, carnival rides, live music, arts and crafts exhibits, and a historical pageant.[55]

Points of interestEdit

The Fossil Station Museum, also located in downtown Russell, displays artifacts from Russell County history dating back to the mid-1800s. Home to the Russell County Historical Society, the museum is housed in the former sheriff's office and county jail, a fortress-like structure constructed of native “post rock” limestone in 1907.[56]

The Russell County Historical Society has restored and maintains two examples of early limestone homes built in Russell, the Gernon House and the Heym-Oliver House. The Gernon House was built in 1872 by blacksmith Nicholas Gernon, one of the town's original settlers, and doubled as a smithery.[57] The Heym-Oliver House was built by settler Nicholas Heym in 1878.[58]

The Oil Patch Museum, located just north of I-70 Exit 184, houses exhibits on area geology and the history of local petroleum drilling, production, and transportation.[59]

Notable peopleEdit

Notable individuals who were born in and/or have lived in Russell include: {{Columns-list|colwidth=30em|


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  2. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-07-20.
  7. ^ "The Early History of Russell County". Russell County Historical Society. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
  8. ^ a b c d "The City of Russell, Kansas". City of Russell. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
  9. ^ Blackmar, Frank W., ed. (1912). "Russell County". Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. 2. Chicago: Standard. pp. 613–615.
  10. ^ "Volga Germans". Kansas Trails. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
  11. ^ "Russell". Russell County Economic Development & CVB. Retrieved 2010-12-11.
  12. ^ "Senators". Russell County Historical Society. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
  13. ^ Stengel, Richard (1996-04-01). "Campaign '96: Russell, Kansas: You Can Go Home Again". Time. Retrieved 2011-04-16.
  14. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  15. ^ a b c "2003-2004 Official Transportation Map" (PDF). Kansas Department of Transportation. 2003. Retrieved 2010-11-16.
  16. ^ "City Distance Tool". Geobytes. Retrieved 2010-03-23.
  17. ^ a b c "General Highway Map - Russell County, Kansas" (PDF). Kansas Department of Transportation. 2010-10-01. Retrieved 2010-11-16.
  18. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-07-02. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
  19. ^ Peel, M. C.; Finlayson, B. L.; McMahon, T. A. (2007-03-01). "Updated Köppen-Geiger climate classification map" (PDF). Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (4): 439–473. Retrieved 2012-01-25.
  20. ^ a b c d e f "Average weather for Russell, KS". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
  21. ^ a b c "NOWData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Weather Service Forecast Office - Wichita, KS. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
  22. ^ "Historical Weather for Russell, Kansas, United States of America". Weatherbase. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  23. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  24. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013". Archived from the original on May 22, 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-16.
  25. ^ a b "Russell, Kansas". Retrieved 2014-09-16.
  26. ^ a b c "Russell". Directory of Kansas Public Officials. The League of Kansas Municipalities. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-09-10.
  27. ^ "Council Members". City of Russell. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  28. ^ "Contacts". Russell County, Kansas. Archived from the original on 2012-03-13. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  29. ^ "USD 407 Russell County Schools". USD 407. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
  30. ^ "Russell Public Library". Central Kansas Library System. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
  31. ^ "Russell Public Library - Russell, KS". lib-web-cats - A directory of libraries throughout the world. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
  32. ^ "History of Russell Public Library". Central Kansas Library System. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
  33. ^ "KRSL - Russell Municipal Airport". Retrieved 2011-06-18.
  34. ^ "UPRR Common Line Names" (PDF). Union Pacific Railroad. Retrieved 2010-03-23.
  35. ^ "City Utilities". City of Russell. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  36. ^ a b "Utilities". Russell County, Kansas Economic Development & CVB. Retrieved 2014-09-14.
  37. ^ "History". Russell Regional Hospital. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  38. ^ "Russell Regional Hospital". U.S. News Best Hospitals. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  39. ^ "Russell County News". Mondo Times. Retrieved 2012-04-28.
  40. ^ "AMQ AM Radio Database Query". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2011-06-18.
  41. ^ a b "Station Information Profile". Arbitron. Retrieved 2011-06-18.
  42. ^ "FMQ FM Radio Database Query". Federal Communications Commission. Archived from the original on 2009-08-25. Retrieved 2011-06-18.
  43. ^ "Bott Radio Network - Dodge City/Southwest Kansas". Bott Radio Network. Retrieved 2011-06-18.
  44. ^ "TV Market Maps". EchoStar Knowledge Base. Archived from the original on 2008-08-20. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
  45. ^ "TVQ TV Database Query". Federal Communications Commission. Archived from the original on 2009-05-08. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  46. ^ "Coverage Maps for Wichita-Hutchinson, KS Designated Market Area" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
  47. ^ "Contact Us". Smoky Hills Public Television. Archived from the original on 2011-05-21. Retrieved 2011-02-16.
  48. ^ "Park/Cemetery Department". City of Russell. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  49. ^ "Russell Golf Course". Golflink. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  50. ^ "Swimming Pool". City of Russell. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  51. ^ "About Deines Cultural Center". The Deines Cultural Center. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
  52. ^ "History". The Deines Cultural Center. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
  53. ^ "Annual Events: Russell Kansas Area". Russell Area Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2010-10-26.
  54. ^ "Russell County Fair 2010: Entertainment". Russell County Free Fair. Retrieved 2010-10-26.
  55. ^ "Prairiesta 2011". Russell Prairiesta 2011. Retrieved 2010-10-26.
  56. ^ "Fossil Station". Russell County Historical Society. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
  57. ^ "Gernon House". Russell County Historical Society. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
  58. ^ "Heym-Oliver House". Russell County Historical Society. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
  59. ^ "Area Attractions: Russell Kansas Area". Russell Area Chamber of Commerce. Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
  60. ^ Anschutz, Philip F. (June 2004). "Whatever Happened to the Family Film?". Imprimis. Hillsdale College. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  61. ^ "Wendall Anschutz Obituary: View Obituary for Wendall Anschutz by McGilley State Line Chapel, Kansas City, MO". Retrieved 2011-04-01.
  62. ^ "Barzilay, Judith Morgenstern". Biographical Directory of Federal Judges. Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  63. ^ "Obituaries". The Santa Ynez Valley Journal. 2010-04-01. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  64. ^ "Localettes". The Emporia Gazette. Emporia, Kansas. September 27, 1977. p. 2. Retrieved December 22, 2017 – via
  65. ^ "Dole, Robert Joseph". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  66. ^ "USTR Robert Lighthizer Swears In Deputy USTR C.J. Mahoney | United States Trade Representative". Retrieved 2021-02-19.
  67. ^ Doocy, Steve (2009). Tales from the Dad Side. New York, New York: HarperCollins. p. 41.
  68. ^ "Biography of Marj Dusay". Marj Dusay. 2009. Retrieved 2010-11-23.
  69. ^ 'The Convention of 1846 (Wisconsin),' vo. 27, Milo Milton Qualife, Wisconsin Historical Society: 1919, Biographical Sketch of Asa Kinney, pg. 791
  70. ^ Karla, Ward (2013-01-26). "James R. Line, who played on two UK championship basketball teams, dies at age 87". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  71. ^ "Kenneth OCHS - Obituary". The Gazette. 2009-10-02. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  72. ^ "About Arlen Specter - Timeline". United States Senator Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on 2010-08-26. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  73. ^ Nelson, Stanley R.; Nelson, Peter S. "Introduction and Early Years on Rutger's Ranch, Russell, KS". Walter Sutton's Chromosome Theory of Heredity: One Hundred Years Later. University of Kansas Medical Center. Retrieved 2010-11-21.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit