Our History

Streets of Ellsworth in 1867

Ellsworth 1867

Ellsworth is a city in and the county seat of Ellsworth County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 3,120. Known as a cow town in the 1870s, when the Kansas Pacific Railroad operated a stockyard here for shipping cattle to eastern markets, in the 21st century, it serves as the trading center of the rural county.
Sepia tone photo of Wild Bill Hickock

Wild Bill Hickock

Once called "The Wickedest Cattletown in Kansas", the city is named for Fort Ellsworth, which was built in 1864. Due to speculation on imminent railroad construction, the population of Ellsworth boomed to over two thousand by the time it was incorporated in 1867. It has since been said, "Abilene, the first, Dodge City, the last, but Ellsworth the wickedest".
Corner bank building


Ellsworth has been developing heritage tourism related to its unique 19th-century history. The city and activists have plans to restore Ellsworth's Signature Insurance Building for use as the National Drovers Hall of Fame.
Herd of cattle

Ellsworth Cowtown Days

An annual festival in Ellsworth, Cowtown Days is the third Saturday of August, and a must-see event!