About This Place
Blue Rapids is a city in Marshall County, Kansas in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 1,019.
The first endeavor to establish a town below the junction of the rivers, in 1857, failed due to misfortunes of two of the three participants. No further attempt to utilize the impressive water power was made until 1869–1870, when a colony of about 50 families from Genesee County, New York moved in, purchased land and water power rights, and began establishing a community. The Blue Rapids Town Company was formed, and by the end of 1870 the population was about 250. In 1872, Blue Rapids was incorporated as a city of third class under the statutes of Kansas.
Among the first projects in 1870 were a stone dam and a wrought iron bridge built on the Big Blue River. A hydroelectric power plant was then added to provide power for manufacturing and for the town. The power plant was destroyed by a flood in 1903. In the late 19th century and early 20th century there were four gypsum mines in the area. The population peaked around 1910 at over 1,750. The public library, built in 1875, is the oldest library west of the Mississippi in continuous operation in the same building.