The Chanute Area Chamber of Commerce & Office of Tourism Board of Directors welcomes you to our community.
Chanute is located in the Neosho River Valley of Southeast Kansas. The topography is composed mainly of rolling hills, containing fertile soil that supports our agricultural base. Chanute, as so many towns in the Midwest, was founded as a result of the railroads. In the early 1870s the communities of New Chicago, Tioga, Chicago Junction and Alliance were located at the intersection of two rail lines in Neosho County. In 1873, Octave Chanute, the civil engineer who was surveying the railroad right-of-way, suggested that the four settlements merge and combine their efforts to secure a railroad depot. His suggestion became a reality and the four communities united as one and named the new city in his honor.
The city’s prosperity in the 19th and early 20th centuries was heavily dependent on the railroad. The city became a center for the shipment of grain, corn, potatoes and seed. Milling operations were also profitable and the community supported an active livestock market. In 1889, the first natural gas well in the region was successfully drilled. This, along with oil, soon became the major source of employment and wealth in the community. The discovery of gas and oil in the area led to the development of brick kilns, zinc smelters, glass works and cement factories. Each of the industries used the inexpensive fuel and excellent railroad connections in the manufacturing and marketing of their products. Along with these industries came the mercantile and financial institutions required to support the population. Chanute soon became the trade center for southeast Kansas.
Our Present and Future…
Our community of nearly 10,000 residents enjoys the small-town feel and quality of life found in this region of the state. In our community you will find a school system dedicated to educating children, a progressive medical center that provides state-of-the-art healthcare and city leadership that maintains a strong vision for the future.
We believe in investing in the education of our youth. Evidence of that dedication is found in the 2006 passing of a $43M school bond issue that resulted in the construction of a new high school, a new elementary school and extensive renovation of Royster Middle School. Nothing says more about a community than the investment it is willing to make in the education of its youth.
The City of Chanute is also making a significant investment in the installation of a fiber optic utility. Chanute’s fiber network will work in concert with our city-owned electric utility that has been in existence since the 1920s. The city staff and management, the city commission, project partners and community volunteers are working to establish a playing field for economic development opportunities not typically available in communities our size. The strong industrial base, medical facilities, state-affiliated service agencies and retail shopping opportunities make Chanute a great place to live and work. Our 1.4 “pull-factor” is one of the highest in the state of Kansas and serves as evidence that Chanute is a destination of choice for employment, shopping or visiting one of our wonderful tourist attractions.
Chanute is known throughout the state as “the Hub of Southeast Kansas.” The first and most obvious reason for this nickname is that when one looks at a map of the 15 counties in the Southeast Kansas region, Chanute lies exactly in the middle of the region. However, Chanute also deserves its title because of its central location between surrounding major cities. Kansas City, Tulsa, Wichita, Joplin and Topeka all lie just two short hours by car from Chanute making the city a convenient stopping place for those traveling through the region. This feature also makes Chanute a great place to live. One can enjoy the safety of small-town living while being just a short distance from the services of surrounding major cities. Of course, Chanute itself has one of the best selections of restaurants, shopping outlets, wholesalers and services in the region.
The Chanute Area Chamber of Commerce & Office of Tourism is proud to be a part of this vibrant community. Since 1928, the Chamber has been working to support and promote the business community and the city in general. We thrive because of our dedicated members and together we will continue to make a difference in the quality of life in our community.
Whether you are here for a day, a week or a lifetime we encourage you to explore Chanute, the Hub of Southeast Kansas.