The smallest unincorporated town in Kansas had a population of 4 according to the 2020 census

CJ Coombs

At its peak in 1892, the now unincorporated community of Freeport in Harper County, Kansas had a population of 700. According to the 2020 census, the population was 4. Freeport was incorporated until its status dissolved in 2017.

At its peak of 700 people, there was a bank, two hotels, two newspapers, five dry good stores, nine grocery stores, three drugstores, two hardware stores and two elevators, among other businesses. The town even boasted a police force for a time, according to historical articles and a story in The News. (Source.)

In the November 2017 elections, there was a vote of 4-0 to dissolve the city. The municipality ceased to exist, there was no official mayor or city council, and further services were to be provided to the city by Harper County. Even before the vote, Freeport was the smallest incorporated city in Kansas.

Prior to Freeport becoming a city, it used to be a settlement referred to as Midlothian and at that time, Midlothian was a few miles from where Freeport became established. A post office was organized in 1879 as well as a school and church. Benjamin H. Freeman was the first postmaster.

In 1885, Freeport was founded on the Missouri Pacific Railway (previously St. Louis, Fort Scott & Wichita Railroad) and in the late 1800s, it was a growing community. Back then, it had lumberyards, grain elevators, a number of grocery and dry goods stores, and drug stores. Freeport also had a bank and two hotels. Eventually, the Midlothian post office was renamed to Freeport.

Midlothian

Midlothian is an actual place in Scotland. It's also a Scottish word meaning mid-ocean or mid-land.

You could say Midlothian was a few blocks from Freeport. Cities used to be spaced every 10 miles, which made sense if you thought about how far a farmer could travel by horse while doing business with others.

Since the railroad didn't go through Midlothian, Freeman moved the post office a couple of miles to the southeast in early 1885. By then, the new town of Freeport was not even a month old.

It's not known with certainty how Freeport was named, but some speculate it was named after the postmaster.

Both Midlothian and Freeport wanted the railroad depot to be in their towns and it was eventually built in Freeport. Once the depot was constructed, hotels and grain elevators went up. In time, Midlothian became known as West Freeport since it was essentially absorbed into that city.

The Freeport State Bank, chartered in 1902, was the only state bank in Harper County for years, and closed in 2009. In 2016, the post office closed as well.

For further reading on the history of Freeport, visit here.

Thanks for reading.


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Multi-genre writer and author/publisher with a BA in Eng Journalism/Creative Writing. I worked in law firms for 30+ years and retired early to pursue writing. I was born into the Air Force, so you could say I'm from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, research, history, true crime, reading, art, and travel.

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