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Clay Center, Kansas

Clay Center, Kansas

In 1862 John and Alonzo Dexter came to what is now Clay Center. The Dexter's selected almost the exact center of Clay County for the town and hoped it would become the county seat. Their hopes were realized in 1866.

As was the common practice, the Dexter brothers used "center" as part of the name, hoping this would help give the city the county seat. Original spelling was Clay Centre.

The county was named for Henry Clay, the famous U.S. statesman, so Clay Center implies the center of Clay County. For one day in its history, Clay Center was called Reynolds for General Reynolds.

Clay Center is a traditionally built community with an historic center that surrounds the Clay County Courthouse. The core area is still pedestrian friendly which allows one to park and walk anywhere within a matter of minutes. With its increasingly vibrant downtown business and entertainment district, Clay Center is a unique place. While many communities of the 60's and 70's were spoiled by the unsightly sprawl development of big box discount retailers, fast food chains and parking lots fronting miles of highway, Clay Center was not. Clay Center's design resembles that from which many of neo-traditional communities are being patterned.

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Clay County Courthouse

The Clay County Courthouse at Clay Center was constructed in 1900-1901 on land donated in the 1860's for use as a public square by the town's founder, Alfonzo F. Dexter.

Clay Center, KS Historic Courthouses

Civil War Memorial

The Civil War Memorial erected in 1911 is dedicated to those who fought in the war between the states, and proudly graces the courthouse square on the west side of the historic courthouse.

Clay Center, KS Memorials

Heritage Row Museum Complex

Heritage Row is representative of the early founders of our community. Some of the first buildings of Clay Center can be found there. It is located at the West end of Clay Center on highway 24

Clay Center, KS Museums

Vietnam War Memorial

The Vietnam War Memorial, dedicated in 1997, was created by Sandy Scott and stands in tribute to those veterans at the West entrance to the historic courthouse in downtown Clay Center.

Clay Center, KS Memorials

Carnegie Library

Circa 1912, the Library is on the National Register of Historic Places

Clay Center, KS Carnegie Libraries

Things to do near Clay Center, KS

Sage/Laverty Residence

This house, built in the early 1880s was originally a four room house, owned by Frank I. Sage. Mr. Sage added four more rooms...

Docking Memorial

Erected in honor of Kansas Governor Robert Docking who served from 1967 to 1975....

Self-Guided Walking and Driving Tours

Emporia, founded in 1857, includes several sites of national and local significance. These tours provide a view of Emporia fr...