About This Place
El Dorado (pronounced /ɛldɵreɪdoʊ/ ( listen) el-də-ray-doh) is a city situated along the Walnut River in the central part of Butler County, located in south-central Kansas, in the Central United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 13,021. It is the county seat and most populous city of Butler County. El Dorado is included in the Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area.
In 1877, the Florence, El Dorado, and Walnut Valley Railroad Company built a branch line from Florence to El Dorado, in 1881 it was extended to Douglass, and later to Arkansas City. The line was leased and operated by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. The line from Florence to El Dorado was abandoned in 1942. The original branch line connected Florence, Burns, De Graff, El Dorado, Augusta, Douglass, Rock, Akron, Winfield, Arkansas City.
In 1943, German and Italian prisoners of World War II were brought to Kansas and other Midwest states as a means of solving the labor shortage caused by American men serving in the war effort. Large internment camps were established in Kansas: Camp Concordia, Camp Funston (at Fort Riley), Camp Phillips (at Salina under Fort Riley). Fort Riley established 12 smaller branch camps, including El Dorado. Prisoners commonly volunteered to help work on local farms; this enabled them to spend time outside of the camp, socialize and eat better food than that provided by prison guards. In some cases, smaller structures constructed by the work details still stand.