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Hugoton is a city in and the county seat of Stevens County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 3,904.
Settlers from McPherson, Kansas established a settlement in what was then west-central Seward County, Kansas in 1885. They originally named this settlement Hugo in honor of French writer Victor Hugo, but then changed its name to Hugoton to distinguish it from Hugo, Colorado. Hugoton's first church, Hugoton United Methodist, was also the first in Stevens County and was founded in 1886; it is still active as of 2019. The first post office in Hugoton was established in April 1886.
In 1886, the Kansas Legislature reestablished the surrounding area as Stevens County, and Gov. John Martin designated Hugoton as the interim county seat. This set off a violent county seat war with nearby Woodsdale. Hugoton became the permanent county seat in 1887, but the conflict continued, culminating in the Hay Meadow Massacre of 1888. Woodsdale founder and attorney Samuel Newitt Wood, heavily invested in the conflict for the county seat, was assassinated by James Brennen, one of the men involved in the Hay Meadow Massacre, outside the Hugoton courthouse on June 23, 1891.
During the 1890s, economic decline drove many residents to leave for newly opened territories in the American Southwest, and the population declined significantly. The Santa Fe Railway reached Hugoton in 1913, which spurred growth. Natural gas was discovered southwest of the city in 1927, leading to the development of the Hugoton Natural Gas Area and the transformation of Hugoton into a major center of natural gas extraction.
Hugoton reportedly served as a temporary home for infamous criminals Bonnie and Clyde.
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