Latitude / Longitude:
922 ft (281 m)
Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Willard is a city in Shawnee and Wabaunsee counties in the State of Kansas.
In 1887, the Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railway built a main line from Topeka through Willard to Herington. The Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railway was foreclosed in 1891 and taken over by Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway, which shut down in 1980 and reorganized as Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas Railroad, merged in 1988 with Missouri Pacific Railroad, merged in 1997 with Union Pacific Railroad. Most locals still refer to this railroad as the “Rock Island”.
As of the 2010 census, the city population was 92.
Before 1883, Willard was not much of a town but when the Rock Island Railroad laid tracks through the community, Willard became the typical railroad town. In the early 1920s, Willard boasted a of over 300 and was a major cattle shipping point for this region. During the 1930s many businesses closed, the railroad became less important and, finally, in 1951, a flood destroyed much of the town and caused the roadway bridge over the Kansas River to collapse isolating the town from surrounding communities. A new roadway bridge was built in 1955.