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

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

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

Carnegie Library

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

Clay Center, KS Carnegie Libraries

Clay County Historical Museum

The Clay County Museum is housed in the former Clay Center Hospital building constructed in 1925. The structure served as a nursing home before it became the location of the museum in 1975.

Clay Center, KS Museums

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

Things to do near Clay Center, KS

Marion Reservoir Trails

For nature lovers who don't care to pursue the water sports, a 1-mile nature trail, called Willow Walk Trail, has been built ...

Rex Theatre

The historic combination house theatre, circa 1912, will provide a home for the North Central Kansas Community Chamber Orches...