The Early History of Dighton
by Frank W. Blackmar (1912)
Dighton, the county seat of Lane county, is centrally located on the Great Bend & Scott division of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe R. R. 96 miles west of Great Bend. The land which forms the town site was entered by W. A. Watson in the spring of 1879 and a postoffice was established the same year, but six years elapsed before the town began to grow. In May, 1885, there were only three houses and seven voters in Dighton, but the prospects of early railroad communication brought an influx of population.
On Feb. 18, 1886, R. W. Montgomery issued the initial number of the Dighton Journal, which states that there then were 70 buildings and a population of 350, with about 50 new buildings in process of construction. The expectations of the founders at that time have not been realized, though Dighton is one of the active, energetic towns of western Kansas. It has a national and a state bank, a money order postoffice, a flour mill, a grain elevator, 2 weekly newspapers (the Journal and the Herald), graded public schools, the county high school, a hotel, several well stocked mercantile establishments, Baptist, Christian and Methodist churches, telegraph and express service, a cornet band, and is connected with the surrounding towns by telephone. It is an incorporated city of the third class, and in 1910 reported a population of 370. The population in 1900 was only 194, and the gain during the ten years has been of a permanent and substantial character.
Dighton is located at 38°28'53N, 100°27'54W (38.481506, -100.464893). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.3 km² (0.9 mi²), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,261 people, 563 households, and 342 families residing in the city. The population density was 553.3/km² (1,438.9/mi²). There were 653 housing units at an average density of 286.5/km² (745.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.07% White, 0.16% Asian, 0.63% from other races, and 2.14% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.90% of the population.
There were 563 households out of which 27.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.3% were married couples living together, 6.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.1% were non-families. 36.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 21.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.88.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.3% under the age of 18, 5.1% from 18 to 24, 25.0% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 23.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 96.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $33,500, and the median income for a family was $40,987. Males had a median income of $30,417 versus $19,464 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,232. About 6.5% of families and 8.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.8% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.