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Oswego is a city situated along the Neosho River in the eastern part of Labette County, located in southeast Kansasmarker, in the Central United Statesmarker. The population was 2,046 at the 2000 census, and it was estimated to be in the year . It is the county seat and second most populous city of Labette County.


Oswego was the outgrowth of a trading post established in the early 1840s by John Mathews. Up to 1865 there were no other white persons in the community and the place was called "White Hair's Village" because an Indian chief of that name made his home there. In 1865 a number of settlers located at this point and the name was changed to "Little Town." Two years later the Oswego town company was organized and so named for Oswegomarker, New Yorkmarker, whence many of the settlers had come. Lots were given away to every person who would erect a building, with the result that the town grew very rapidly. The organization of Oswego as a city of the third class took place in February 1870. The town was made a city of the second class by proclamation of the governor in 1880.

The first frame house was put up by Dr. William S. Newlon in September 1865. The first frame store building was erected by Thomas J. Buntain, though the first store was opened in a log building in 1865 by Rexford & Elsbee. The postoffice was established in 1867 with Nelson Carr postmaster. At that time there were two provision stores, since Oswego was on the military road. M. George had opened a blacksmith shop and D.W. Clover a hotel, which was not only an inn for the public, but the county headquarters, a political rendezvous and a news center. This was the second hotel, the first having been built in 1866 by William A. Hogaboom. In 1868 Mr. Shanks operated the first pottery and made several kilns of stoneware; a cotton-gin was set up the same year. The first bank was opened in 1868 by W. M. Johnson, who was forced two years later to make an assignment of all that he had to satisfy his creditors. The second bank was started in July 1870, by B. F. Hibart and H. L. Taylor, which was a success. The State Bank of Oswego started business a few weeks later, but discontinued after a short time, as there was not business enough for two banks. In September 1870, a steam sawmill was erected by Macon, Krell & Cowell.

The first newspaper was the Oswego Register, established in 1868 by E.R. Trask. The first church was the Congregational, which was organized in May 1868, and the Presbyterian church was founded in July of the same year. The first school was taught in 1867. The public library association was organized in 1877 and continues in the form of Oswego Public Librarymarker[17628], a Carnegie Library, today. The telephone system was put in operation in 1882; the waterworks in 1887; and the first electric lights were turned on July 12, 1888, but were turned off a few months later.

Several murals can be found around the city.
The most famous is this reproduction of E.
Marie Horner's “The Village of White Hair” depicting the relationship between white trader John Mathews and the Osage, led by Chief White Hair, who dwelled east of the bluff near Horseshoe Lake.


Oswego is located at (37.167728, -95.109453). The city is about 12 miles north of the Oklahomamarker state line and 30 miles west of the Missourimarker line. It is situated along the southern bluffs overlooking the Neosho River valley. It is at the junction of U.S. Route 59 and U.S. Route 160.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.1 square miles (5.5 km²), all of it land.


Oswego's population was estimated to be in the year , .

As of the census of 2000, there were 2,046 people, 776 households, and 489 families residing in the city. The population density was 956.9 people per square mile (369.1/km²). There were 890 housing units at an average density of 416.2/sq mi (160.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.30% White, 3.32% Black or African American, 1.42% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.88% from other races, and 2.88% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.81% of the population.

There were 776 households out of which 30.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.0% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.9% were non-families. 35.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.2% under the age of 18, 14.1% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 18.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 105.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,656, and the median income for a family was $38,631. Males had a median income of $26,289 versus $20,000 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,974. About 8.5% of families and 10.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.9% of those under age 18 and 13.0% of those age 65 or over.


Local School Systems

The Oswego-Service Valley Unified School District Number 504 (USD 504), with four schools, serves more than 500 students.

  • Neosho Heights Elementary School, grades PK–5
  • Service Valley Charter Academy, an agricultural magnet school, grades K–8
  • Oswego Middle School, grades 6–8
  • Oswego High School, grades 9–12

The Southeast Kansas Interlocal District Number 637, in conjunction with USD 504, offers an At-Risk Preschool (ages 3-5).

Higher Education

Parsons,marker Kansasmarker-based Labette Community Collegemarker holds classes on the Oswego High School site.

Pittsburg State Universitymarker, an NCAA Division II school in the Kansas Board of Regents system, is located approximately thirty miles away in nearby Pittsburg,marker Kansasmarker.


Oswego is also served by two museums.

The Oswego Historical Museum and Genealogy Department, owned by the Oswego Historical Society, Inc., offers guided museum tours featuring period-style theme rooms, genealogical research, and tours of an original log cabin, a partially reconstructed building original to the Oswego townsite.

The newer of the two museums, the Southeast Kansas Education Museum offers exhibits "to collect, preserve and make available history & artifacts of Southeast Kansas and other countries of the world." They cover subjects such as Japanmarker, Native American culture, Wildlife, the United States Postal Service, Nautilus, and international life.


Each of the USD #504 building sites includes a library for student access. These school libraries provided extended services such as inter-library loan through Southeast Kansas Library System and access to Internet2 and online databases through Kan-ed, a service sponsored by the State of Kansasmarker.

The community of Oswego is served by the Oswego Public Librarymarker (OPL), a Carnegie Library. OPL offers a vast collection of books, DVDs, periodicals, audio books, and videos. Internet access is also available through the use of patron-access computers or the Library's free Wi-Fi access. Two meeting rooms are available to the community for reservation. The Library also operates a small coffee bar featuring coffee, select teas, and hot chocolate for the enjoyment of its patrons.


Oswego is served by Oswego Community Hospital, a twelve bed Critical Access hospital administered by HMC/CAH, Inc.

Labette Health of Parsons,marker Kansasmarker, in conjunction with the Labette County Health Department, provides emergency ambulatory services to the hospital best-qualified to treat each patient.

Oswego Community Hospital has a contractual agreement with Eagle-Med to provide Air Ambulance services to any local or regional hospital.


Labette Avenue is a weekly paper owned by Taylor Newspapers that covers mostly local stories and events. The newspaper is a continuation of the historic Oswego Independent and other local weekly newspapers. Labette Avenue is based in Oswego and serves the rural areas of Labette County, Kansasmarker.

Oswego is located in the Joplin,marker Missourimarker/Pittsburg,marker Kansasmarker broadcast market area and receives the majority of its television and radio signals from those two cities.


Along with two U.S. Federal Highways (U.S. 160 and U.S. 59), Oswego Municipal Airport serves Oswego and the surrounding area.

See also


External links

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