Olathe ( /o?'le???/ oh-lay-th?) is a city
in and the county seat of Johnson County, Kansas, United
States. Located in northeastern Kansas, it is also the fifth
most populous city in the state, with a population of 125,872 at the 2010
census. As a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri,
Olathe is the fourth-largest city in the Kansas City Metropolitan
Area. It is bordered by the cities of Lenexa to the north, Overland
Park to the east, and Gardner to the southwest. In 2008,
the US Census Bureau ranked Olathe the 24th fastest-growing city in
the nation. The same year, CNN/Money and Money magazine
ranked Olathe #11 on its list of the "100 Best Cities to Live in
the United States."
Olathe was founded by Dr. John T. Barton in the spring of 1857. He rode
to the center of Johnson County, Kansas, and staked two quarter
sections of land as the town site. He later described his ride to friends:
"...the prairie was covered with verbena and other wild
flowers. I kept thinking the land was beautiful and that I should name
the town Beautiful."Purportedly, Barton asked
a Shawnee interpreter how to say "Beautiful" in
his native language. The interpreter responded, "Olathe."[citation
Olathe was not the first city established in Johnson County, but it
quickly became the largest and was named the county seat in
October 1859 . The city's early days were filled with violence,
as pro-slavery forces from nearby Missouri often clashed with
local abolitionists. These conflicts were known on a large scale
as Bleeding Kansas.
As the 1850s came to a close, and as Kansas entered the Union as a free
state in 1861, the violence lessened. However, a year later Confederate guerrillas
from Missouri led by William Quantrill surprised the residents
and raided the city on September 7, 1862, killing a half dozen men,
robbing numerous businesses and private homes, and destroying most of
the city. Quantrill launched the raid because the people of Olathe were
known for their abolitionism.
Olathe served as a stop on the Oregon Trail, the California
Trail, and the Santa Fe Trail. Catering to travelers was the main
source of income for local stores and businesses. The Mahaffie
House, a popular resupply point for wagons headed westward, is today
a registered historical site maintained by the City of Olathe. The staff
wears period costumes, and stagecoach rides and farm animals make the
site a favorite among children. Visitors participate a Civil War re-enactment,
Wild West Days, and other activities there.
After the construction of the transcontinental railroad, the trails
to the west lost importance, and Olathe faded into obscurity and remained
a small, sleepy prairie town.
In the 1950s, the construction of the Interstate Highway system
and, more directly, I-35, linked Olathe directly to nearby Kansas
City. The result was tremendous residential growth as Olathe became
a part of the Kansas City Metro Area. In the 1980s, Olathe experienced
tremendous commercial growth, which also drew more residents. It is
estimated that Olathe's population surpassed 100,000 in 2001, and current
projections show Olathe's growth continuing as the city expands into
the farm fields south, west and north of town.
Olathe is located at 38°52'51?N 94°48'11?W. 2003
Orthophoto Aerial According to the United States Census Bureau,
the city has a total area of 60.42 square miles (156.48 km²), of
which, 59.66 square miles (154.52 km²) of it is land and 0.76 square
miles (1.96 km²) is water. Olathe has two public lakes: Lake Olathe
with 172 acres (0.70 km2) of water surface and Cedar Lake with
45 acres (0.18 km2).
Olathe has a humid-continental climate, with frigid winters and hot
summers. Temperatures range from an average high of 40 °F (4 °C) and
low 18 °F (-8 °C) in January to an average
high of nearly 90 °F (32 °C) in July. The
temperature reaches 90 °F (32 °C) an average
of 36 days per year and 100 °F (38 °C) an
average of 3 days per year. The minimum temperature falls below freezing
(32°F) an average of 102 days per year, but rarely drops below 10
°F (-12 °C). Typically the first frost occurs between
mid-October and the first week of November, and the last frost occurs
between the end of March and the third week of April.
The area receives over 40 inches (1,000 mm) of precipitation during
an average year with the largest share being received in May and Junethe
AprilJune period averages 30 days of measurable precipitation.
During a typical year the total amount of precipitation may be anywhere
from 28½ to almost 53 inches. There are on average 96 days
of measurable precipitation per year. Winter snowfall averages about
17 inches, but the median is 11 inches (280 mm). Measurable
snowfall occurs an average of 10 days per year with at least an inch
of snow being received on seven of those days. Snow depth of at least
an inch occurs an average of 25 days per year.
Source: Monthly Station Climate Summaries, 19712000, U.S.
National Climatic Data Center
U.S. Decennial Census
As of the census of 2010, there were 125,872 people, 44,507
households, and 33,274 families residing in the city. The population
density was 2109.8 people per square mile (814.6/km²). There
were 46,851 housing units at an average density of 785.3 per square
mile (303.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 83.1% White,
5.3% African American, 0.4% Native American, 4.1% Asian,
0.1Pacific Islander, 4.1% from other races, and 3.0% from two or
more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were
10.2% of the population.
There were 44,507 households out of which 41.8% had children under the
age of 18 living with them, 60.9% were married couples living
together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.3%
had a male householder with no wife present, and 25.2% were non-families.
20.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.3% had someone
living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household
size was 2.80 and the average family size was 3.24.
The median age in the city was 32.9 years. 30% of residents were under
the age of 18; 7.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 32.1% were from
25 to 44; 23.1% were from 45 to 64; and 7.2% were 65 years of age or
older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.5% male and 50.5% female.
The median income for a household was was $61,111, and the median income
for a family was $68,498 (these figures had risen to $72,634 and $82,747
respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of
$45,699 versus $30,217 for females. The per capita income for
the city was $24,498. About 2.4% of families and 4.1% of the population
were below the poverty line, including 4.1% of those under age
18 and 4.1% of those age 65 or over.
Olathe's commercial and industrial parks are home to many companies,
including Honeywell, Husqvarna, ALDI, Garmin, Grundfos,
and Farmers Insurance Group. Although Farmers Insurance is based
in Los Angeles California, Olathe has more Farmers employees than any
other city in the United States.
The Federal Aviation Administration, a child agency of the United
States Department of Transportation, administers and maintains an Air
Route Traffic Control Center in Olathe, designated Kansas City
Center or ZKC. Kansas City Center is one of 20 regional Air Route Traffic
Control Centers that cover United States airspace. Johnson County maintains
an airport in Olathe, Johnson County Executive Airport, which is
located on about 500 acres (2.0 km2) of land with a 4,100-ft (1250-m)
runway, parallel taxiways, and a Federal contract air traffic control
tower. The airport is the second-busiest in the state.
The city of Olathe is served by the Olathe School District and Blue
Valley School District. As of 2008, there are 26,894 students enrolled
in the Olathe School District. The Olathe School District has
34 elementary schools, 9 middle schools, and 4 high schools: Olathe
North, Olathe South, Olathe East, and Olathe Northwest.
Olathe is the home of MidAmerica Nazarene University and the Kansas
State School For the Deaf (established in 1866).
Johnson County Executive Airport (KOJC) Tower (2004)
Johnson County Transit operates a bus system throughout the county,
Willie Aames, actor
John Anderson, Jr., Governor of Kansas (19611965)
Manute Bol, NBA player (19851994)
George Washington Carver, botanist and prominent African American leader
Stevana Case, professional video gamer
Adam Jamal Craig, Actor on several television shows. Currently on NCIS:
Johnny Dare, Kansas City radio personality
Don Davis, former NFL player
Mike Gardner, collegiate football coach
Herbert S. Hadley, former Missouri Governor and chancellor
of Washington University in St. Louis
Mark Parkinson, Governor of Kansas (20092011)
Larry Parks, actor
Rob Pope, emo band The Get Up Kids
Ryan Pope, emo band The Get Up Kids
Richie Pratt, professional musician, professional football player
J. Wayne Reitz, President of the University of Florida (19551967)
Charles "Buddy" Rogers, actor
Vince Snowbarger, US Congressmen (19971999)
Darren Sproles, NFL player, with the New Orleans Saints
John St. John, Governor of Kansas (18791883), Prohibition
Party Presidential candidate (1884)
Jim Suptic, emo band The Get Up Kids