The area was once a part of the Lousiana Purchase and sold to the United States in 1803. The Osage Indians occupied this area with its vast native grasslands, game enriched woodlands, and fertile riverbottoms.
Texas longhorned cattle began arriving in the county in the late 1800s by the hundred thousands. Most were sent by rail to the town of Elgin, located in southern Chautauqua County, pastured on grass, and then shipped to Kansas City for marketing.
Throughout the county, bits of history can be viewed from a network of scenic back roads. Beautiful countryside vistas, history-filled museums, historic buildings and settings and restful parks can be appreciated throughout the year.
Explore Chautauqua County
The Emmett Kelly Museum houses memorabilia of the world famous Wearie Willie Emmett Kelly, who was born in Sedan in 1898 and of his son Emmett Jr.; also showing memorabilia of D.W. Washburn as Sparky The Clown, a juggler, ventriloquist, magician, and pantomimist. Sparky was born in Chanute, KS; 1500Sedan, KS Museums