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Photographer's Note

I love old municipal buildings like this old courthouse. I was a bit disappointed by the sky and the lighting, as it was evening and it really blanched out the background, but I liked the serenity in this shot.

Fort Scott, KS is located in Bourbon County, about 90 miles south of Kansas City, on the Mamaton River. It has a population of about 8,000, and is also home to the Fort Scott National Historic Site, of which I've posted several photos here also. The town was established by the US Army from 1842-1853, when it built an actual fort there, intended to protect the frontier, but the army abandoned it in 1853 and the buildings were purchased by local settlers. The town itself was laid out in 1857, so it's not all that old, as far as some Midwest towns go.

It underwent a period of serious hardship from 1855-1861, however, enduring a violent state of unrest known as Bleeding Kansas, the period immediately preceding the Civil War, which was in many respects already being fought on the frontier, long before war was actually declared and the focus shifted to the southern states. Kansas entered the Union as a Free State in Jan., 1861, but that did nothing to quell the unrest. Its primary contention was with neighboring Missouri, which was a slave state; having visited and asked questions about the states' histories, I get the feeling that there is still some animosity between the two, more than 150 years later.

Despite the upheaval, however, Fort Scott became a thriving frontier city after the war, and on three different occasions between 1870 and 1900, it was in competition with Kansas City to become the largest railroad center west of the Mississippi, which would have had dramatic effects on its development and history had it won out. It was not to be, however: the town became an agricultural and small industrial center, but nothing like the rapid growth and urbanization of Kansas City, which is one of the largest cities in the region today. In fact, the population has actually shrunk: it declined from a reported 8,297 in the 2000 census to 8,087 in the 2010 census. Curious to see what the 2020 census reveals, as 2016 estimates indicate about 7,800 now.

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Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 79 W: 78 N: 850] (1663)
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