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Hamilton County, KS

Hamilton CountyBefore the advent of the white man, the only perennial inhabitants of western Kansas were the Comanche, who followed the transient buffalo herds across the High Plains. Occasionally the vagrant peoples of the Apache, Arapahoe, Cheyenne, and Kiowa tribes invaded the Comanche domain in search of food, but they stayed only briefly before moving on.

The greatest of the French plains explorers were Pierre and Paul Mallet of Canada, who set out in 1739 with a load of trade goods, and headed toward the Arkansas River. These daring Frenchmen were the first white men to set foot in Hamilton County.

Another early explorer through our county was Lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike, who was sent west in 1806 by President Jefferson to help secure the claim of the United States to its newly acquired Louisiana Territory.

Major Stephen H. Long was part of the Yellowstone Expedition in 1820, who traveled southward to the Arkansas River.

Fort Pleasant near the Kansas-Colorado border was the first permanent building in Hamilton County, being constructed in the early 1860s. It consisted of an adobe and sod floor and stockade which was garrisoned to protect overland mail service and caravan travel. The fort was soon abandoned, but was reoccupied in 1871, when the Hardesty Brothers moved their ranching operation from Colorado, making it their headquarters. Another early rancher was R.M. Wright, Dodge City, who began a ranching enterprise near the present site of Kendall in the early 1860s. He was ordered away by government authorities because the isolation of the ranch prevented adequate protection and was an invitation to Indian attack. The first homesteader in Hamilton County was John J. Donohue, who came on a government freight train drawn by oxen and mules in 1869. A farm implement he had sent away to be repaired was the first piece of freight hauled into the county on the newly built railroad.

Fort Aubrey was established in September, 1865, by two companies of the volunteer Wisconsin infantry and one company of cavalry. It was built to protect the Santa Fe Trail between Fort Dodge and Fort Lyon, Colorado. The site for the fort was recommended by Colonel Francis X. Aubrey, who discovered good water in the springs there when hostile Indians forced him to use the Bear Creek natural pass through the sandhills to the Arkansas River in 1849 or 1850. The outpost was consequently named in his honor.

The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad Company completed their road to the state line in 1872 and brought with them the first colony of settlers to Hamilton County, from Syracuse, New York. The Boundaries of Hamilton County, Kansas were established on March 6, 1873 by an act of the Kansas State Legislature. The county was named for Alexander Hamilton.

Explore Hamilton County

Syracuse Parks

Jaycee Park
409 S. Main
Shelter house, bathrooms, playground equipment, picnic tables, horseshoes, shade.

Benchmark Park
Huser and E. Ave. G

Syracuse, KS Recreation

Hamilton County Museum

Enjoy your stay at Syracuse with a visit to the Hamilton County Museum. There are many exhibits displayed in cases as well as period rooms set up to give you a glimpse of life at home for the early pioneers of the western plains.

Enjoy these attractions:

Syracuse, KS Museums

Tamarisk Golf Course

The Tamarisk Golf Course is a 9-hole regulation length course, fully irrigated, situated along the beautiful Arkansas River. Two distinct architectural types are featured. Golf cars are available for rent. Walk-ons accepted at all times. Steel spikes are banned.

Syracuse, KS Golf Courses

Historic Northrup Theater

The Northrup Theater in Syracuse opened April 7, 1930 with "Footlights and Fools" starring Colleen Moore. The ornate "art deco" paint job on the interior was added in the forties. The building has been restored and is operated by the Chamber of Commerce.

Syracuse, KS Theatres

Syracuse Sand Dunes Recreation Park

Syracuse Sand Dunes Recreation Park is 1300 acres of riding fun, plus a 40 acre fishing pond for the family. Water & Electric Hookup Campsites are available for $15.00

Syracuse, KS ORV Areas

Hamilton State Fishing Lake

Hamilton State Fishing Lake is located 3 miles west and 2 miles north of Syracuse and encompasses over 30 acres. Enjoy the use of boating ramps and camping and picnic areas. The lake is stocked depending on climate conditions, it can be full or dry;

Syracuse, KS Recreation

American Discovery Trail

Located along the River Road which follows the south side of the Arkansas River, the American Discovery Trail (ADT) passes close to the towns of Coolidge, Syracuse, and Kendall. The roadbed is well maintained and traffic is light making the ADT an excellent bike/

Syracuse, KS Hiking Trails

Explore Hamilton County