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In 2009, Wabaunsee County will celebrate its 150th anniversary. Although Wabaunsee County was first created in 1855 by the Kansas territorial legislature as Richardson County, it had no county government and was attached to neighboring Shawnee County in legal jurisdiction. In 1859, the legislature renamed the county Wabaunsee, after the Potawatomi Indian chief, and in March of that year, the first election for county officers was held. The county lies in the heart of the Kansas Flint Hills, and it boasts some of the most beautiful landscapes in the state. While located only 30 miles from the state capital in Topeka, it retains its rural atmosphere, even today. The largest of its seven incorporated towns has less than 1,000 residents. The earliest settlers lived among large populations of Native Americans. During the Civil War, the Underground Railroad operated actively in the county. In 1880, the first railroad was built in the county, and the towns along its line boomed. When a second line was introduced in 1887, the county saw its greatest growth. Today residents enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the rugged Flint Hills, lush pastures, and fertile bottomland sustaining the local economy as it has for a century and a half. A large section of highway across the county has been designated the Kansas Native Stone Scenic Byway, and tourism has begun to play an increasingly larger role in the county's economy.