of Pratt, Kansas
here for information about the Pratt County Historical Museum.
was named after Caleb Pratt, a young Civil
War officer from the KS Infantry, who was killed in the Battle
of Wilson Creek near Springfield Mo. He had probably never been
In addition to the rich prairie history , which included the
typical "town seat" wars of that time, Pratt has an
abundance of other history as well.
Pratt is located just north of Medicine Lodge, where
the great council of the Kiowa, Comanche, Arapahoe, Apache and
Cheyenne Indians relinquished their claims to their
hunting grounds in Kansas. It was not until after that agreement
that any White Man ever entered Pratt County to homestead and
claim a right to the soil.
Trapper Skunk Johnson is a legend in the area.
The story goes that he hunted and trapped, but because of the
Indians, lived in a cave, which was easier to conceal. A successful
trapper, and after two years of being in the area, he had his
first encounter with the Indians. To avoid discovery, he knew
his only safe place would be in his cave where he hid, which
he did. The Indians, however, did discover his hiding place,
but not before he had managed to tunnel back farther out of
sight and was able to fend off the Indians. After exhausting
his supply of food he kept alive by consuming the skunk oil
he had rendered from the animals he caught during the winter.
He left the country shortly after this.
The railroad was a great contributor to the
economy of Pratt and the area and still remains a major economic
force. WWII brought a tremendous amount of change to the area
with the Army Airfield Base located at what is now the Pratt
Airport Industrial Park. Playing a major role in the war, B-29's
trained in Pratt and many WWII notables trained at this base
including those men on the Enola Gay. The airfield began in
September of 1942 and was closed in 1946 but the history still
Agriculture has been and still remains the
mainstay of the economy. Having seen many changes over the years,
crops have changed to include irrigation and a larger variety
of crops along with raising cattle.