Paola, Kansas
Paola is a city in and the county seat
County seat
A county seat is an administrative center, or seat of government, for a county or civil parish. The term is primarily used in the United States....

 of Miami County
Miami County, Kansas
Miami County is a county located in East Central Kansas, in the Central United States. As of the 2010 census, the county population was 32,787. Its county seat and most populous city is Paola...

, Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 5,602.


Native American Indians, then Spanish explorers such as Francisco Vasquez de Coronado
Francisco Vásquez de Coronado
Francisco Vásquez de Coronado y Luján was a Spanish conquistador, who visited New Mexico and other parts of what are now the southwestern United States between 1540 and 1542...

 in 1541, and French missionary explorers in 1673 lived and traveled throughout the area of what is now Paola.

Settlement of the area primarily occurred however when Kaskaskia
The Kaskaskia were one of about a dozen cognate tribes that made up the Illiniwek Confederation or Illinois Confederation. Their longstanding homeland was in the Great Lakes region...

, Peoria
Peoria (tribe)
The Peoria people are a Native American tribe. Today they are enrolled in the federally recognized Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma. Historically, they were part of the Illinois Confederation.-History:...

, Wea
The Wea were a Miami-Illinois-speaking tribe originally located in western Indiana, closely related to the Miami. The name Wea is used today as the a shortened version of their many recorded names...

, and Piankeshaw
The Piankeshaw Indians were Native Americans, and members of the Miami Indians who lived apart from the rest of the Miami nation. They lived in an area that now includes western Indiana and Ohio, and were closely allied with the Wea Indians...

 Indian tribes were forced to move to the area between 1827 and 1832. These formed the Confederated Allied Tribe which was led by Baptiste Peoria who was of both French and Indian ethnicity. They called their settlement Peoria Village.

By the 1840s, settlers were moving into the area, and several missionaries lived in and near "Peoria Village". One of those missionaries was an Italian priest who moved to the area in 1852. The priest, Father Paul D. Ponziglione, was credited with re-naming Peoria Village to Paola, after a small town on the coast of Calabria
Calabria , in antiquity known as Bruttium, is a region in southern Italy, south of Naples, located at the "toe" of the Italian Peninsula. The capital city of Calabria is Catanzaro....

, Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. The Peoria Indians of the area continued to call it Paola, because they had great respect for Father Ponziglione.

By 1854 there was a large number of settlers who moved to the settlement and a town plat was laid out by 1855. In 1855, the First Territorial Legislature passed an act that incorporated the Paola Town Company. The Paola Town Company and specifically its member Baptiste Peoria are credited as being influential in the founding and development of Paola through the mid 1860's. Following Kansas' admission to the Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

 in 1861, and after the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 pressure to move the native American Indian tribes increased, and they were exiled to Oklahoma by 1868. Some individuals stayed and became citizens of the United States, however, their leader Baptiste Peoria left Paola with the tribe. From the late 1860s and through the 1870s, Paola grew and progressed, building its first school, jail, and bank.

The railroad came to serve Paola in 1870, which also aided its progress through this time. Following the discovery of natural gas in 1882, Paola became the first town west of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 to use it commercially and have the town illuminated using natural gas lanterns. In 1898 the Miami County Courthouse was built, designed by architect George Washburn. Several homes and buildings were designed by Washburn, including the Paola Free Library completed in 1906 and the Paola Park Square's Victorian-style gazebo from 1913. The library, courthouse, gazebo, and several homes are among those still in use today.

Paola Park Square

Paola's town square has much historical significance, beginning with the Indian tribes who once lived in the area and used it as their primary gathering place. Prior to their exile to Oklahoma, Indian leader Baptiste Peoria gave this area to the Paola Town Company (of which he was a member). The Paola Town Company later gave the square to the City of Paola, with the provision that no building be built on it. This provision has been honored to this day. In 1867, the original gazebo was put on the square, and was a bandstand. In the 1800s the square was used as a track for racing horses in addition to serving as a central point for parades, celebrations, and other community events. In 1913, a new Victorian-style gazebo was built, designed by George Washburn. Today, the Paola Park Square is still honored as the center of the downtown area, and remains a central meeting and gathering place during various community events each year. The 1913 gazebo is still used, a common place for events such as weddings. Next to the gazebo are two replicas of the Wellsbach gas street lanterns that once illuminated Paola. A fountain in the center of the square was also added for people to enjoy.


Paola is the largest city in Miami County, and is the county seat. Paola offers residents and visitors several choices for shopping, entertainment, and recreation. Annually, Paola hosts the Miami County Fair in July, the Roots Festival in August and the Harvest Festival in October. There is also a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, arrival of Santa, and carriage rides throughout the historic streets shortly after Thanksgiving. Also available is water recreation and camping at Lake Miola, a contemporary Aquatic Center in Wallace Park, the Swan River Museum, and the Miami County Historical and Genealogical Society, and a variety of events held at the Paola Community Center.


Paola is located at 38°34′25"N 94°52′24"W (38.573599, -94.873456). According to the United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

, the city has a total area of 4.4 square miles (11.4 km²), of which, 4.1 square miles (10.6 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square mile (0.776996433 km²) of it (7.08%) is water.


As of the census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

of 2000, there were 5,011 people, 1,927 households, and 1,244 families residing in the city. The population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 was 1,229.9 people per square mile (475.4/km²). There were 2,009 housing units at an average density of 493.1 per square mile (190.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.43% White, 3.55% African American, 0.74% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 0.44% from other races
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

, and 1.54% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.08% of the population.

There were 1,927 households out of which 34.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.3% were married couples
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.4% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the city the population was spread out with 28.1% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 28.4% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 89.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,285, and the median income for a family was $50,804. Males had a median income of $36,209 versus $22,392 for females. The per capita income
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

 for the city was $22,191. About 4.4% of families and 9.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.0% of those under age 18 and 13.3% of those age 65 or over.


  • USD 368 offers education to children in grades K-12 with some education opportunities for adults as well.
    • Cottonwood Elementary (grades K-2)
    • Sunflower Elementary (grades 3-5)
    • Hillsdale Elementary (grades K-5) (closed)
    • Paola Middle School (grades 6-8)
    • Paola High School (grades 9-12)
    • Paola Adult Education Center
  • Holy Trinity Catholic School is a private school offering education for grades kindergarten through eight.
  • Fort Scott Community College is a community college with a satellite campus in Paola.

Notable people

  • Justice Brothers
    Justice Brothers
    Edward Ray Justice, Sr. Lawrence Milton "Zeke" Justice James Russell "Gus" Justice The Justice Brothers...

    , automobile racers
  • Danny Carey
    Danny Carey
    Daniel Edwin "Danny" Carey is an American drummer best known for his work in American Grammy Award-winning rock band Tool...

    , drummer for the band Tool
    Tool (band)
    Tool is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California. Formed in 1990, the group's line-up has included drummer Danny Carey, guitarist Adam Jones, and vocalist Maynard James Keenan. Since 1995, Justin Chancellor has been the band's bassist, replacing their original bassist Paul D'Amour...

Further reading

External links

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