Parsons is a city in the northern part of Labette County, located in Southeast Kansas, in the Central United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 10,500. It is the most populous city of Labette County, and it is the second most populous city in the southeastern region of Kansas.
Parsons was named after Levi Parsons, president of the Missouri - Kansas - Texas (Katy) Railroad. The town was founded in 1870 and incorporated the following year. During World War II it was home to the Kansas Ordnance Plant, which later operated for some years as the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant. In Spring of 2005, the munitions plant was placed on the BRAC list for closure. The community has rallied behind the current plant operator, Day and Zimmerman, to keep the company on the grounds after closure and to keep those jobs and more in the Parsons area. (See link to "Great Plains Industrial Park" in "External Links", below) Parsons is also home to the Parsons State Hospital & Training Center, which has been in operation since 1903 when it was opened as the Kansas State Hospital for Epileptics.
In 1957 the hospital was renamed Parsons State Hospital and Training Center. At that time it began providing programs for individuals with developmental disabilities. The Hospital occupies 43 buildings on 163 acres (0.66 km2). The hospital also includes residential services, the University Center on Developmental Disabilities and the Parsons Research Center for the University of Kansas, the Special Purpose School of the Southeast Regional Education Service Center. The Southeast Kansas Agricultural Research Center of Kansas State University is also located on the grounds, as is the Alzheimer's Association, Heart of America Chapter, Southeast Kansas Regional Office.