Fort Scott is a city in Bourbon County, Kansas, United States, 88 miles (158 km) south of Kansas City, on the Marmaton River. The population was 8,297 at the 2000 census, and it was estimated to be in the year . Fort Scott is the county seat of Bourbon County, and is the home of the Fort Scott National Historic Site.
Between 1855 and 1861, the citizens of Fort Scott experienced the violent unrest that preceded the American Civil War on the Kansas and Missouri border. Eastern newspapers described this violence as "Bleeding Kansas", a result of the national controversy concerning the extension of slavery into the new territories. Murder, mayhem, robbery, and arson were committed by bold free-state and pro-slavery advocates in the name of their cause. On January 29, 1861, Kansas entered the union as a free state, but the turmoil of "Bleeding Kansas" continued throughout the Civil War.
During the Civil War, Fort Scott was a U.S Army district Headquarters, quartermaster supply depot, training center, and recruitment station. It was strategically vital to the defense of Kansas and the Midwest. A battle over the fort occurred in August 1861 just across the Missouri line in the Battle of Dry Wood Creek. The battle was a pro-South victory for Sterling Price and his Missouri State Guard. Price did not hold the fort and instead continued a northern push into Missouri in an attempt to recapture the state. James H. Lane (Senator) was to launch a Jayhawker offensive behind Price from Fort Scott that led to the Sacking of Osceola. The ill will of these actions was to be the basis for the 1976 Clint Eastwood film The Outlaw Josey Wales.
After the Civil War, Fort Scott was a premier city of the frontier, one of the largest cities in eastern Kansas. On three different occasions, between 1870 and 1900, Fort Scott was in competition with Kansas City to become the largest railroad center west of the Mississippi. During the first half of the 20th century, Fort Scott became the agricultural, small industrial, and insurance center which it continues to be today.
In March 2005, a fire destroyed several historic buildings in Fort Scott's downtown. The Victorian-era buildings were among many that are a symbol of the town.
Fort Scott is about 88 miles (158 km) south of Kansas City.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.4 square miles (14.1 km²), of which, 5.4 square miles (14.1 km²) of it is land and 0.18% of it is water.
Fort Scott's population was estimated to be in the year , .
As of the census of 2000, there were 8,297 people, 3,481 households, and 2,081 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,529.4 people per square mile (590.0/km²). There were 3,914 housing units at an average density of 278.3 persons/km² (721.5 persons/sq mi). The racial makeup of the city was 91.53% White, 5.15% African American, 0.93% Native American, 0.53% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.40% from other races, and 1.41% from two or more races. 1.68% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 3,481 households out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% were married couples living together, 11.5% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 40.2% were non-families. 35.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.97.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.9% under the age of 18, 11.3% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 19.0% from 45 to 64, and 21.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 85.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $26,871, and the median income for a family was $34,531. Males had a median income of $25,919 versus $20,583 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,997. About 10.9% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.3% of those under age 18 and 12.9% of those age 65 or over.
An annual town festival, the Good Ol' Days, has been held the first weekend of June since 1980. The celebration begins Friday evening with a parade and a picnic downtown. Over the rest of the weekend, a street fair, a melodrama and vaudeville-style show are among other features of the festival.
The melodrama is also performed each Friday and Saturday night after Good Ol' Days until the end of July.
Gunn Park is a park with picnic areas, playgrounds, two lakes and a flying disc golf course near the Marmaton River on the west side of town.
The Lyon's Mansion Bed and Breakfast and Spa is located in a historic mansion on South National.