LARNED, Kan. (KSNW) — The first stop on the first full day of the KSN Summer Road Trip was Larned. The KSN News team arrived at the Pawnee County Courthouse, 715 Broadway Street, around 9 a.m. We appreciate all the people who came by to visit with us.

The town of Larned, with a population of 3,769, is the county seat of Pawnee County. It is along the old Santa Fe Trail, one of America’s most important trade routes.

The trail is the reason the town got its start. The military decided it needed an establishment along the Santa Fe Trail. So, in 1859, it built Camp Alert. The name was changed to Camp on the Pawnee and Fort Larned in 1860.

Captain Henry Booth ran the post store. When the railroad started to extend west, Booth and several Topeka investors started the Larned Town Company in 1871. In 1872, they chose a spot about seven miles away for the town site, and the town had its start. The first building served as a saloon, a restaurant, a school, and a church.

Fort Larned still stands and is one of the few frontier forts with its original buildings preserved. The Santa Fe Trail Center is between Fort Larned and the City of Larned. Visitors can still see the ruts of the wagons that traveled the Santa Fe Trail.

The leading industry in Pawnee County is agriculture. Many people in Larned work at the Larned State Hospital, a psychiatric facility about three miles west of town. Others are employed at the Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility just north of the state hospital and the Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in Larned is $42,378.

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