About Kiowa County
Kiowa County is one of the 64 counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,398, making it the fifth-least populous county in Colorado. The county seat is Eads.
Kiowa County was created on April 11, 1889, taking its name for the Kiowa Indians. The Missouri Pacific Railroad crossed the Kansas border in 1887 when the area was still part of a larger Bent County. The railroad platted towns approximately every seven miles and they were named alphabetically from the east. Kiowa County is dedicated to providing economic, social, health, and other services to its citizens. Sheridan Lake was the county seat of Kiowa County, and was not at first a stop on the railroad line; only after local citizens built a railroad depot and turned it over to the Missouri Pacific did the railroad build a telegraph station and make Sheridan Lake a stop. The county seat moved to rival Eads in 1902. Today Eads, along the old railroad line, is the largest town in the county. It serves the surviving farming and ranching interests, and hosts the county’s largest high school. Sheridan Lake does have a combined junior-and-senior high, and still surviving in some form are the towns of Towner, Arlington, Brandon, Chivington, and Haswell.
Agriculture in eastern Colorado collapsed in the dust bowl days of the 1930s; today mostly dry-land farms and some ranching interests survive. Colorado’s Front Range cities and agriculture interests upstream have acquired most of the water rights, and the groundwater aquifers are drying up. Kiowa County faces ever-decreasing water supplies and further economic decline. It is conceivable that much of the county will eventually revert to its original sparse grassland and prairie conditions of the pre-1880s.
Sand Creek massacre
On November 29, 1864, more than a decade before Colorado became a state and long before Kiowa County was formed, a massacre of Native Americans, a group of old men, women, and children, occurred on Sand Creek that initially was greeted as a victory in the Colorado War against hostile Indians; within months, Congressional inquiries revealed the truth, and a national scandal erupted. It happened in what is now Kiowa County, and is known as the Sand Creek Massacre.