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Downtown Olathe 1926

Johnson County Government was formed 164 years ago

Johnson County Government is celebrating its 164th anniversary on Tuesday, Sept. 7, as a local government organized in bygone Gum Springs, now the city of Shawnee.

Back in 1855, when Johnson County was created as one of the first 33 counties in the Territory of Kansas, the Territorial Legislature designated Gum Springs as the first county seat. The county tribunal held its initial meeting on Sept. 7, 1857 in Gum Springs. The name of the community apparently originated because logs of sweetgum trees were used to dam a creek. 

During this time, Gum Springs changed its name to Shawneetown. Olathe was chosen as the seat of the county government in an election in 1858 and was declared the permanent county seat by the Territorial Legislature the following year. Two years later, Kansas became a state.

Shawneetown was re-incorporated in 1922 as Shawnee in honor of the Indian tribe.

The rest is history.

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