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Pittsburg, Kansas

Coordinates: 37°24′39″N 94°41′54″W / 37.41083°N 94.69833°W / 37.41083; -94.69833
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Pittsburg, Kansas
View of downtown Pittsburg (2017)
View of downtown Pittsburg (2017)
Location within Crawford County and Kansas
Location within Crawford County and Kansas
KDOT map of Crawford County (legend)
Coordinates: 37°24′39″N 94°41′54″W / 37.41083°N 94.69833°W / 37.41083; -94.69833[1]
CountryUnited States
Named forPittsburgh
 • TypeCommission/Manager
 • MayorStu Hite[2]
 • City ManagerDaron Hall[3]
 • Total13.16 sq mi (34.09 km2)
 • Land13.06 sq mi (33.84 km2)
 • Water0.10 sq mi (0.25 km2)
Elevation925 ft (282 m)
 • Total20,646
 • Density1,600/sq mi (610/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code620
FIPS code20-56025
GNIS ID485643[1]

Pittsburg is a city in Crawford County, Kansas, United States,[1] located in southeast Kansas near the Missouri state border. It is the most populous city in Crawford County and southeast Kansas. As of the 2020 census, the population of the city was 20,646.[5][6] It is the home of Pittsburg State University.


On October 23, 1864, a wagon train of refugees had come from Fort Smith, Arkansas, and was escorted by troops from the 6th Kansas Cavalry under the command of Col. William Campbell. These were local men from Cherokee, Crawford, and Bourbon counties. Their enlistment was over, and they were on their way to Fort Leavenworth to be dismissed from service. They ran into the 1st Indian Brigade led by Maj. Andrew Jackson Piercy near the current Pittsburg Waste Water Treatment Plant. They continued to the north when a small group of wagons broke away in an unsuccessful rush to safety. The Confederate troops caught up with them and burned the wagons. The death toll was three Union soldiers and 13 civilian men who had been with the wagon train. It was likely that one of the Confederates had also been killed. A granite marker memorial for the "Cow Creek Skirmish" was placed near the Crawford County Historical Museum on October 30, 2011.[7]

Pittsburg sprang up in the fall of 1876 on a railroad line being built through the neighborhood.[8] It was named after Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,[9] and maps of the time give the town's name as "New Pittsburgh". George Hobson and Franklin Playter are credited with being the city's founders, establishing a government after its beginnings as a coal mining camp in the 1870s. The city was incorporated in 1879.[10] The “New” was dropped upon incorporation of the city as a third class city on June 21, 1880, with M. M. Snow as its first Mayor. In 1892 it was advanced to a city of the second class, in 1905 Pittsburg attained the rank of first class.

The Kansas City Southern's Southern Belle at Pittsburg in 1967
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church (2012)

The first dwelling was built by J. T. Roach in July 1876.[11] The first post office in Pittsburg was established in August, 1876. The post office's name was shortened from "New Pittsburgh" to "Pittsburgh" in 1881 and to "Pittsburg" in 1894.[12] The latter renaming came after the United States Board on Geographic Names, in the interest of standardization, recommended that the 'h' be dropped from place names ending in "burgh".[13]

Pittsburg is the home to Pittsburg State University, founded in 1903 as a normal training institution. Through the years the college became more diversified in its aims and goals, so that it became a multi-purpose institution. It has always had a strong manual and industrial arts program and has trained many of the area's public and private school teachers.

In 1879, two miners from Joplin began the first commercial attempts at mining in close proximity of Broadway Street. A relic of the city's coal mining days was the Pittsburg & Midway Coal Company, founded in 1885, and one of the oldest continuously running coal companies in the United States (even though its headquarters moved several years ago to Denver, Colorado after the Kansas mines closed). In September 2007, Chevron which owned the company, merged it with its Molycorp Inc. coal mining division to form Chevron Mining, thus ending the Pittsburg corporate name.[14] Midway referred to a coal camp in eastern Crawford County, Kansas that was "midway" between Baxter Springs, Kansas and Fort Scott, Kansas.[15] Kenneth A. Spencer, whose father was among the founders of the company was to play an important role in Kansas and Missouri philanthropy.[citation needed]

Pittsburg was also the most heavily unionized city in Kansas at the beginning of the 20th century.[16] In addition to some coal mining, the economic base of the city now rests on industry.

The city has a rich cultural heritage from many Southern and Eastern European mine workers who settled in and around Pittsburg and Southeastern Kansas. It is situated in a once productive coal field. It now relies heavily on education and government-related employment.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.90 square miles (33.41 km2), of which, 12.80 square miles (33.15 km2) is land and 0.10 square miles (0.26 km2) is water.[17] Pittsburg sits in the Ozark Highlands region, a mix of prairie and forests.

It lies 90 miles (140 km) west of Springfield, Missouri, 124 miles (200 km) south of Kansas City, Missouri, and 137 miles (220 km) northeast of Tulsa, Oklahoma.


Pittsburg has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) bordering on a hot-summer humid continental climate (Dfa). Summers are hot and humid, with as many as 73 mornings per year staying above 68 °F or 20 °C and eight mornings remaining above 77 °F or 25 °C – indeed in July 2012 the temperature did not fall below 69 °F or 20.6 °C.[18] The hottest morning, however, was on August 10, 2006 when the temperature did not fall below 83 °F (28.3 °C), and the hottest temperature has been 115 °F (46.1 °C) on July 13 and 14, 1954.[18] Heavy thunderstorm rains often punctuate the heat with heavy rainfall: 7.93 inches or 201.4 millimetres fell on July 30, 2013. Periods of hot weather without much rain are not uncommon: only trace precipitation fell between July 28 and September 10, 2000, and only 0.22 inches (5.6 mm) between July 7 and August 20, 1984.

During the fall season, temperatures cool off fairly rapidly: the last 90 °F or 32.2 °C temperature can be expected on September 22, and by the end of October temperatures have usually fallen to a comfortable level. Heavy rainfall from frontal systems or remnant tropical storms are common during this period: the wettest day with 8.77 inches (222.8 mm) was on September 25, 1993, a year which saw 47.85 inches (1,215.4 mm) between April and September as against only 10.54 inches (267.7 mm) during the same period in 1980. September 1993 was also the wettest month on record with 19.37 inches or 492.0 millimetres, while the wettest calendar year overall has been 1985 with 66.52 inches (1,689.6 mm) and the driest 1963 with only 21.50 inches (546.1 mm).

As with all of Kansas, winter weather is extremely variable, although extreme maxima are not as hot as in the southwest of the state as Pittsburg is far from the influence of hot chinook winds. Arctic outbreaks bring temperatures to or below 0 °F or −17.8 °C on average once per winter, while maxima over 70 °F or 21.1 °C can be expected four times between December and February. Winter weather is less dry than in most of Kansas since moist Gulf air often penetrates without reaching most of the state: December 2015 saw 7.91 inches (200.9 mm) of rain, and the very cold January 1979 saw sixteen days with at least 0.01 inches or 0.25 millimetres of measurable precipitation. Because the moister air masses are warm, heavy snowfall is uncommon in Pittsburg: the mean is 11.9 inches or 0.30 metres and only twelve months have seen more than 10 inches or 0.25 metres, with the most in a month being 24.5 inches (0.62 m) in January 1979. The most snow in a day has been 13 inches (0.33 m) on December 13, 2000, and the most snow on the ground 14 inches (0.36 m) on February 4 and 5, 2011 and March 17, 1970.

Spring weather is changeable and often suspect to severe storms: Pittsburg lies in the heart of “Tornado Alley”. The changeable weather from hot to cold can be accompanied by frequent heavy precipitation: Pittsburg can expect 20.24 inches or 514.1 millimetres of precipitation between March and June, approximately what Dodge City or Liberal further west receive in a whole year. Temperatures warm up during the spring: the first temperature of 80 °F (26.7 °C) can be expected on March 27, but the first of 90 °F (32.2 °C) does not normally occur until May 28.

Climate data for Pittsburg, Kansas (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1950–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 74
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 42.7
Daily mean °F (°C) 33.2
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 23.8
Record low °F (°C) −6
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.77
Average snowfall inches (cm) 3.4
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 7.4 7.2 9.8 10.6 12.1 10.1 8.6 7.5 7.6 8.1 7.7 7.5 104.2
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 2.2 1.2 0.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 1.5 5.9
Source: NOAA[18][19]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census[edit]

The 2020 United States census counted 20,646 people, 8,268 households, and 4,123 families in Pittsburg.[20][21] The population density was 1,578.9 per square mile (609.6/km2). There were 9,650 housing units at an average density of 738.0 per square mile (284.9/km2).[21][22] The racial makeup was 77.27% (15,954) white or European American (74.95% non-Hispanic white), 3.74% (773) black or African-American, 1.07% (221) Native American or Alaska Native, 1.78% (367) Asian, 0.76% (156) Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian, 5.38% (1,110) from other races, and 10.0% (2,065) from two or more races.[23] Hispanic or Latino of any race was 10.53% (2,174) of the population.[24]

Of the 8,268 households, 27.1% had children under the age of 18; 31.1% were married couples living together; 32.9% had a female householder with no spouse or partner present. 36.4% of households consisted of individuals and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older.[21] The average household size was 2.3 and the average family size was 3.0.[25] The percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher was estimated to be 17.3% of the population.[26]

21.9% of the population was under the age of 18, 23.9% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 17.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27.7 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.3 males.[21] For every 100 females ages 18 and older, there were 103.3 males.[21]

The 2016-2020 5-year American Community Survey estimates show that the median household income was $34,353 (with a margin of error of +/- $3,233) and the median family income was $45,946 (+/- $5,025).[27] Males had a median income of $20,107 (+/- $2,989) versus $17,708 (+/- $3,426) for females. The median income for those above 16 years old was $19,176 (+/- $2,042).[28] Approximately, 18.6% of families and 27.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.9% of those under the age of 18 and 8.8% of those ages 65 or over.[29][30]

The median value of owner-occupied housing units was $86,800. The percent of persons age 25 years or older with a high school diploma was 90.8%.[citation needed]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census of 2010, there were 20,233 people, 8,142 households, and 4,087 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,580.7 inhabitants per square mile (610.3/km2). There were 9,210 housing units at an average density of 719.5 per square mile (277.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 87.1% White, 3.3% African American, 0.9% Native American, 2.0% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 3.0% from other races, and 3.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.7% of the population.

There were 8,142 households out of which 24.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.3% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 49.8% were non-families. 32.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.97.

The median age in the city was 26.2 years. 20.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 27% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.3% were from 25 to 44; 17.3% were from 45 to 64; and 11.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.9% male and 50.1% female.

Arts and culture[edit]

Little Balkans Days (2018)


Little Balkans Days is a three-day festival celebrating the community's European ethnic heritage, held on the Labor Day weekend. It features games, entertainment, competitions, and arts and crafts.[31] The Pittsburg Art Walk takes features vendors, artists, and musicians; it occurs multiple times per year on Broadway Street in Pittsburg's downtown district.[32]

Points of interest[edit]

A photo of the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, notable for its glowing lights, on a cloudy day in March 2022.
The Front Sign of the Memorial Auditorium (2020)
Aerial view on Carnie Smith Stadium (2013)
  • The Bicknell Family Center for the Arts houses multiple performance halls.
  • Memorial Auditorium opened in 1925, and features Egyptian Revival Style architecture. It hosts concerts and performances.
  • Pittsburg Aquatic Center is a community swimming pool.
  • Carnie Smith Stadium is a Classical Revival style stadium opened in 1924, and is Pittsburg State University’s home football field and outdoor track facility.
  • Jaycee Ballpark.
  • Veteran's Memorial features a 250-seat amphitheater, a Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Wall replica, a reflecting pool, and plaza with over 2,000 engraved paving stones.
  • Robert W. Plaster Center is a track-and-field facility.
  • Block 22 is a commercial district.
  • Crawford County Historical Museum and Green Elm School.
  • Miners' Memorial and Immigrant Park.
  • Kansas Crossing Casino


Parks and recreation[edit]

Lakeside Fountain

Pittsburg hosts a multitude of parks inside its city limits

  • 23rd Street Bike Park - single track mountain biking park, a skills area, pump track, and dirt jump area
  • Countryside Park - playground and pavilion
  • Deramus Park - basketball court, playground, small sports field
  • Europe Park - unique water features and a seating area
  • Kiwanis Park - playground and pavilion
  • Lakeside Park - lake, accessible fishing dock and parking area, playground, two pavilions, tennis courts
  • Lincoln Park - J.J. Richards Band Dome, Kiddieland Amusement Park, Pittsburg Aquatic Center, Don Gutteridge Sports Complex, two bocce courts, nine-hole disc, golf course, fishing, playground, restrooms, and three pavilions
  • Paul B. Leffler Rotary Park - basketball court, grill, playground, and a small sports fields
  • Schlanger Park - Katherine's playground (ADA accessible), Ronald O. Thomas Dog Park, basketball court, pickleball court, sensory garden, two pavilions, skate park, sand volleyball, 18-hole disc golf course, and a splashpad
  • Sunflower Kiwanis Park - playground and pavilion
  • Trail Head Park/Watco Trail - pergola, benches, 1.5-mile paved walking and biking trail
  • Wilderness Park - four miles of trail and four pits for fishing. (Most of the trail is ADA accessible)


Pittsburg City Hall (2023)

Pittsburg is a charter city of the first class with a commission/manager form of government. The City Manager oversees all City operations and is responsible for all City departments and employees.

City Hall is located at 201 West 4th Street. Offices are open from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm Monday through Friday, but are closed on most holidays.

The responsibilities of the City Commission are to pass ordinances and resolutions, establish policies for the city, approve the annual budget, appoint members of citizen advisory boards and committees, and appoint the City Manager.

Elections for the City Commission are held every other year. In each election, three seats are vacant on the City Commission. The two candidates acquiring the most votes receive four-year terms, while the candidate obtaining the third most votes secures a two-year term. The City Commission annually elects the Mayor and President of the Board. The Mayor, who has the same authority as the other commissioners, presides over the commission meetings, provides the official signature on documents, represents the City at official and ceremonial functions and presents the annual State of the City address. In the absence of the Mayor, the President of the Board fulfills the duties of the Mayor.[33][34]


Historic Pittsburg Community Middle School (2020)
St. Mary's-Colgan High School (2016)
Pittsburg Public Library (2020)

Public schools[edit]

The city is served by Pittsburg USD 250 public school district, which operates the following schools:

  • Pittsburg High School
  • Pittsburg Community Middle School
  • George Nettels Elementary School
  • Lakeside Elementary School
  • Meadowlark Elementary School
  • Westside Elementary School

Private schools[edit]



The Pittsburg Morning Sun is the main newspaper in the city, published five days a week.[35][36] In addition, Pittsburg State University publishes a weekly student newspaper, the Collegio.[37]

Pittsburg is a center of broadcast media for southeastern Kansas. Two AM and five FM radio stations are licensed to and/or broadcast from the city, and it is the second principal city of the Joplin-Pittsburg television market.[38][39] The market's CBS and Fox network affiliates both broadcast from the city along with an independent station.[40][41][42]


Public transportation[edit]



  • Via Christi Hospital (formerly Mt. Carmel Regional Medical Center) serves the area with services such as Regional Cancer and Heart Centers.

Notable people[edit]

Notable individuals who were born in and/or have lived in Pittsburg include actor Roy Glenn,[43] chemical entrepreneur Kenneth A. Spencer,[44] and broadcast journalism pioneer Paul White.[45]

In popular culture[edit]

In late 2012, NBC news anchor Brian Williams, who started his career in Pittsburg as a journalist at KOAM-TV, covered the local story of a fried chicken war between Chicken Annie's and Chicken Mary's on the Travel Channel.[46] The competition began in 1941 when Chicken Mary's opened across the street from Chicken Annie's (founded 1934). The friendly rivalry continues, with members of each restaurant's founding family, who married, running a third restaurant.[47]


  1. ^ a b c d U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Pittsburg, Kansas
  2. ^ City Commissioners; City of Pittsburg, Kansas.
  3. ^ City Administration; City of Pittsburg, Kansas.
  4. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Profile of Pittsburg, Kansas in 2020". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on November 22, 2021. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c "QuickFacts; Pittsburg, Kansas; Population, Census, 2020 & 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on August 24, 2021. Retrieved August 24, 2021.
  7. ^ Engraved memorial marker dedicated to lives lost in Cow Creek Skirmish; The Morning Sun; November 1, 2011. Archived April 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ A Twentieth Century History and Biographical Record of Crawford County, Kansas. The Lewis Publishing Company. 1905. pp. 34.
  9. ^ Kansas State Historical Society (1916). Biennial Report of the Board of Directors of the Kansas State Historical Society. Kansas State Printing Plant. pp. 171.
  10. ^ Blackmar, Frank Wilson (1912). Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Volume 2. Standard Publishing Company. pp. 480.
  11. ^ "History of Pittsburg, Official Homepage of the city". Archived from the original on September 10, 2015. Retrieved January 24, 2015.
  12. ^ "Kansas Post Offices, 1828-1961, page 2". Kansas Historical Society. Archived from the original on October 9, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  13. ^ First Report of the United States Board on Geographic Names. 1890–1891. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. 1892. p. 8. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  14. ^ Chevron executive bullish on growth of coal industry – Denver Business Journal – November 16, 2007
  15. ^ Former Mining Communities of the Cherokee-Crawford Coal Field of Southeastern Kansas – Kansas Historical Quarterly – Summer 1972
  16. ^ Randy Roberts, Janette Mauk: Pittsburgh, Introduction, p. 9., 2009, ISBN 9780738561165
  17. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  18. ^ a b c "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved August 2, 2021.
  19. ^ "Station: Pittsburg, KS". U.S. Climate Normals 2020: U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1991-2020). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved August 2, 2021.
  20. ^ "US Census Bureau, Table P16: HOUSEHOLD TYPE". data.census.gov. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  21. ^ a b c d e "US Census Bureau, Table DP1: PROFILE OF GENERAL POPULATION AND HOUSING CHARACTERISTICS". data.census.gov. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  22. ^ "Gazetteer Files". Census.gov. Retrieved December 30, 2023.
  23. ^ "US Census Bureau, Table P1: RACE". data.census.gov. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  24. ^ "US Census Bureau, Table P2: HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE". data.census.gov. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  25. ^ "US Census Bureau, Table S1101: HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES". data.census.gov. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  26. ^ "US Census Bureau, Table S1501: EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT". data.census.gov. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  27. ^ "US Census Bureau, Table S1903: MEDIAN INCOME IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS (IN 2020 INFLATION-ADJUSTED DOLLARS)". data.census.gov. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  28. ^ "US Census Bureau, Table S2001: EARNINGS IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS (IN 2020 INFLATION-ADJUSTED DOLLARS)". data.census.gov. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  29. ^ "US Census Bureau, Table S1701: POVERTY STATUS IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS". data.census.gov. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  30. ^ "US Census Bureau, Table S1702: POVERTY STATUS IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS OF FAMILIES". data.census.gov. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  31. ^ "Little Balkans Days History". littlebalkansfestival.com. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  32. ^ ArtWalk, Pittsburg. "Promoting Fine Arts in Pittsburg". Pittsburg ArtWalk. Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  33. ^ Pittsburg - Directory of Public Officials
  34. ^ Pittsburg - Government
  35. ^ (24 March 2017). Morning Sun to move to five day schedule, Morning Sun
  36. ^ "Record Details - Pittsburg Morning Sun". Kansas Press Association. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  37. ^ "PSU Collegio". Mondo Times. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  38. ^ "Radio Stations in Pittsburg, Kansas". Radio-Locator. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  39. ^ "Joplin-Pittsburg TV Market". EchoStar Knowledge Base. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  40. ^ "Stations for Joplin, Missouri". RabbitEars.Info. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  41. ^ "TVQ TV Database Query". Federal Communications Commission. Archived from the original on May 8, 2009. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  42. ^ "AMGTV Affiliates" (PDF). AMGTV. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  43. ^ "Roy Glenn". IMDb. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  44. ^ "Kenneth & Helen Spencer of Kansas". Pittsburg State University. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  45. ^ Moore, Barbara (May 13, 2013). Sterling, Christopher H. (ed.). Biographical Encyclopedia of American Radio. Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge. p. 406.
  46. ^ Brian Williams covers Fried Chicken feud
  47. ^ Meyer, Diana Lambdin (April 30, 2020). "America's 'fried chicken war'". BBC News.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]