The establishment of Highland begins with the Iowa, Sac and Fox Indian Mission established in 1827 by Father Samuel Irvin, a Presbyterian missionary from Pennsylvania. A portion of the original mission still stands at the Native American Heritage Museum, which is operated by the Kansas State Historical Society. Father Irvin brought the first printing press to Kansas to help teach the Indian children.
Later when the tribes were moved, Father Irvin built the first structure on what is now the campus of Highland Community College. The building, Irvin Hall, has been in use ever since and is listed on the Historic American Building Survey. Highland Community College was chartered in 1858 and is the oldest institution of higher education in Kansas. The college thrives today and provides excellent educational opportunities for people in northeast Kansas and elsewhere.
The Highland Presbyterian Church began from Father Irvin's mission in 1843. The present building was dedicated in l914 and then later united with the Methodist Church to form the present Highland United Methodist Presbyterian Church.
The Highland Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, celebrated its centennial in 1984. Highland is also the home of the oldest Masonic Lodge in Kansas, Smithton Lodge No. 1 A.F. & A.M. The lodge was organized in 1854 and chartered in 1856.
In Highland you will find all the advantages of a small town community: friendly neighbors, peaceful atmosphere, relaxed pace, and security. A drive of between 30 to 90 minutes, however, will take you to the hustle and bustle of city life in St. Joseph, Kansas City or Topeka.