Scott County in History

Throw Back Thursday!

Welcome to our new feature --- "Throw Back Thursday!"  I can't guarantee that we'll update every Thursday, but we wanted a place to start posting some historic photos from Scott City and Scott County. 

This first post is about the development of irrigation.  There are many concerns about the current use of the Ogallala Aquifer.  Here are some photos and news articles which show the very start in Scott County.

This first photo is of the C. W. Proudfoot well, taken in 1910.  With a capacity of 1200 gallons per minute, it would have been a phenomenal well.  Notice the cost of the well was $3000.  That would be equivalent to $77350 today.


Read more: Throw Back Thursday!

Cretaceous Sea

89 to 85 Million Years Ago

Over millions of years, streams left sediment which filled in valleys and flattened the topography. This explains why western Kansas has a flat-topped covering of sand and gravel.   In northern Scott County, chalk beds add interest to the landscape and harbor some of the best Cretaceous fossils in the world.  A Gillicus was found during a 4-H fossil dig by Rusty Ricker and, with the help of his father and brothers in preserving the fossil, it is now on display at the El Quartelejo Museum. Unusual animals such as prehistoric hippos and saber-toothed Tigers once roamed in this region of Kansas. Fossil remains of such creatures have been found in the area.   More common fossils, such as clams, oysters, and huge fish, have been easily collected by geologists and paleontologists. Multiple layers of rock laid down over several million of years and many different soil types are right under our feet in Scott County.   

The exposed bedrock is composed of sedimentary rock layers. These strata represent only a few minute slices of the earth’s history, a continuation from when dinosaurs were alive. Fossils are evidence of past life trapped inside rock. Most fossil shells or bone has changed very little since an animal’s death millions of years ago.The top predators of this Cretaceous ocean were short-necked plesiosaurs, mosasaurs, and large sharks.

Ice Age

bigoldanimalssmApproximately twenty thousand years ago, continental glaciers covered almost all of Canada and the northern United States.  Although the term "Ice Age" sounds very harsh and frigid, some science suggests there was less variation in temperature between the seasons than the present day.  During this time, the region was home to mammoth, giant bison, ground sloth, and camels. People were not in this era until the very end of the Ice Age; 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.

You may want to read more about the Ice Age and Kansas:

Kansas Archeology Basics

Kansas City Glacial Geology

Prehistoric Kansas


The Ogallala is a very extensive geological formation. It is a vitally important aquifer mainly in the western parts of Kansas. Five million years ago, Ogallala sediments were up to 800 feet thick. The modern Ogallala formation in Scott County varies from 0 to 215 feet in thickness. The sands of this formation provide a filter system for the groundwater, making its quality generally high, suitable for domestic, livestock and irrigation uses. 

Read more!:

Scott County Geohydrology

Water Encyclopedia

ogallala sediment in Scott County

Prehistoric Peoples

              Pleistocene              Clovis People      Folsom People    Plano People     Archaic/Woodland Hunters

                                                                 ______________/____________ _ /_____________/_____________/_________________

                                                                  12,000 years       10,000-9,000BC   9,000-8,000 BC   8,000-6,000 BC     6,000-1,000 BC


The first people in North America arrived in during the Pleistocene Epoch. Low sea levels exposed the land between Asia and Alaska.   This occurred over 12,000 years ago.

The Clovis people lived at the end of the Pleistocene; about 10,000 to 9.000 B.C. They hunted mammoths and other Ice Age animals.   The Clovis were tied to the land by the resources they used, which included water, plants, animals, and shelter.

Folsom people existed between 9,000 and 8,000 B.C. They lived in small groups or bands. The Folsom people hunted deer and antelope and gathered wild plants. Folsom hunters used spears and darts tipped with thin leaf-shaped stone points.

The Plano (or late Paleoindian) people lived between 8,000 and 6,000 B.C. The presence of Plano people is indicated by finds of various types of stone tools, primarily spear and dart points.

Archaic is a period of human history about 8,000 to 2,000 years ago. These people continued to hunt bison and other animals with spears and darts. Very dry conditions during this and later periods resulted in the destruction or deep burial of many remains of these people.

As the environment of Western Kansas changed after the Ice Ages, its native people adjusted their ways of living. Hunting continued to provide much of the food for the people. Streams fed by rainwater and springs cut valleys through the nearly level plains. Shallow depressions dot the rolling uplands. Occasional pools form after heavy or continuous rains. The water was provided for animals and humans.

The Plains Woodland period was a time of transition from hunting and gathering wild plants and animals to farming. The Plains Woodland people used seeds from plants to supplement wild foods.


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