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About Ellis County

Year founded: 1867
Population: 29,000 (approx., as of 2015)
County seat: Hays
Total area: 900 square miles (~899 sq. mi. land, ~0.5 sq. mi. water)
Approximate distance:

  • Topeka Approx. 200 miles east
  • Kansas City Approx. 262 miles east
  • Wichita Approx. 180 miles southeast

Ellis County is a slice of Northwest Kansas that offers a unique opportunity for real estate buyers eyeing residential, commercial, investment, and acreage properties.

With a population of 29,000, Ellis County ranks among the top 20 most populous counties in Kansas. From this total, approximately 21,000 live in Hays, the county seat. In fact, all of Ellis County is also known as the Hays Micropolitan Statistical Area.

The local economy thrives on a workforce of about 17,000 employed in diverse sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, energy, retail, health, and government. In Northwest Kansas, the city of Hays is the regional retail hub for national chain supermarkets and home improvement centers, as well as hotels and restaurants, auto dealerships, and hardware stores.

Ellis County is bordered by the following adjacent counties:

  • Rooks (north)
  • Osborne (northeast)
  • Russell (east)
  • Trego (west)
  • Ness (southwest)
  • Rush (south)

Access to the cities, townships, census-designated places, and other unincorporated communities of Ellis County is mainly through US Route 183 and Interstate 70.

History of Ellis County, KS

Named for Lieutenant George Ellis of the Twelfth Kansas Infantry, Ellis County was officially founded on February 26, 1867. In October of the same year, a petition to organize the county was made to Governor Samuel J. Crawford. Hays was then declared the temporary county seat, becoming permanent following a special election held in April 1870.

Beginning 1872, settlers from Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania moved to the area. Around 300 English farmers followed suit when George Grant purchased 50,000 acres of land in the area.

Large groups of people left the county after the grasshopper scourge in 1874. They were replaced by Russian settlers who established five main settlements in what is today Catherine, Munjor, Pfeifer, Schoenchen, and Victoria/Herzog.

During the 1870s and 1880s, a significant number of German immigrants also found a home in Hays, Ellis, Victoria, and the neighboring villages – this earned Ellis County the nickname, the German Capital of Kansas.

Today, Ellis County attracts homebuyers and investors for its sprawling parcels of land where homes are surrounded by exceptional natural surroundings.

Schools in Ellis County, KS

Public education in Ellis County is provided by the following unified school districts (USD):

  • Ellis USD 388
  • Hays USD 489
  • Victoria USD 432

The county also features notable private schools such as the Holy Family Elementary School and Thomas More Prep-Marian High School in Hays, and the St. Mary’s Elementary School in Ellis City.

For tertiary level students, the Fort Hays State University and North Central Kansas Technical College both have campuses in Hays. A specialty school, the Hays Academy of Hair Design, is also located in Hays.

Read more about schools in Hays here.

Real estate in Ellis County, KS

Discover a wide range of real estate opportunities in Hays, Ellis, Victoria, and the rest of Ellis County, KS with Platinum Group, LLC. Our agents are ready to respond to your inquiries and requests, so you can get started on reaching your goals.

Call Platinum Group, LLC today at 785.621.4663 or email [email protected].