Severy, Kansas

Severy, Kansas Main Street Buildings by Kathy Alexander.

Severy, Kansas Main Street Buildings by Kathy Alexander.

Severy, Kansas Railroad Depot.

Severy, Kansas Railroad Depot.

Severy, Kansas, located in south-central Greenwood County, was first called Gould when it was established on Salt Creek.

When the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad was built in 1879, the small community moved north to the railroad. The Arkansas Valley Town Company laid out the town in January; by April, it had sufficient population to become incorporated. The first mayor was E. Ellingson. The town was named in honor of Luther Severy, a railroad employee.

The first building on the townsite was the combination store and residence of R. Dodds. The next was the blacksmith shop of A.R. Tomlinson. The first general store was built and opened by E. Ellingson. Other early businessmen were W.M. Stewart, liveryman, N.S. McDonald, a physician; and H.C. Reece, an attorney. The Commercial House Hotel was built in old Severy by Mr. Lindsay and removed to the present location on the building of the new town. The Pacific Hotel was opened in 1880 by Weir & Whittenhall. A Union Sabbath school was organized soon after the organization of the town.

Vintage Severy, Kansas.

Vintage Severy, Kansas.

In January 1882, the town received a severe blow when a virulent form of smallpox hit it. This dreaded disease broke out in one of the hotels and spread rapidly. By March, it had run its course and disappeared, but many vacant places told the story of its work. One of those places vacated was the Pacific Hotel.

The original Gould post office was moved to Severy on June 25, 1882, and the postmaster was R. Dodds. That year, a four-room school was built for $4,000 and was opened on October 1 with an attendance of 150 students.

By 1880, the town now had a population of 306, and its businesses included seven general stores, two hardware stores, two drug stores, two hotels, a furniture store, a lumberyard, a harness shop, a meat market, and two livery stables. The Severy Pioneer Republican weekly newspaper was started in March 1880

Severy, Kansas Business Buildings by Kathy Alexander.

Severy, Kansas Business Buildings by Kathy Alexander.

The Congregational Church began to be built in 1880 and was finished the following year for $1,600. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized in the country, about three miles from Severy, and held services in a schoolhouse until its removal to the town in 1881.

In 1910, Severy had become an important shipping point for livestock, grain, hay, and produce, and all lines of mercantile businesses were represented. It had two banks, a weekly newspaper called the Severyite, churches, schools, express and telegraph offices, and an international money order post office with three rural routes. That year, the town’s population peaked at 608.

In the following years, the population of Severy gradually declined, and its schools closed in school unification. Today, the City of Severy is unique in that the community can choose where to send their children to school, with a choice of Eureka or Howard.


Today, the town’s population is about 230.

Business building in Severy, Kansas by Kathy Alexander.

Business building in Severy, Kansas, by Kathy Alexander.

Severy is located 16 miles southeast of Eureka, the county seat.

©Kathy Alexander/Legends of Kansas, updated August 2023.

Also See:

Greenwood County

Kansas Counties

Kansas History

Kansas Places & Destinations