"LaHarpe, Kansas -- A Nice Place to Live" is what is says on the sign on US Hwy 54 in Southeastern Kansas. The large majority of the population of seven hundred and fifty agree, and the dissenters are largely the very young, recently out of school and wanting to experience the world. LaHarpe is about six miles east of the County Seat of Allen County, where there are doctors, a fine hospital, a community college, an Arts Center, a library and shopping, so it is convenient.
LaHarpe is one of the older towns in the area. It was platted in 1885 as a stop on the St. Louis, Fort Scott and Wichita Railroad. It was named after LaHarpe, Illinois for the simple reason that the engineer on the first train through here lived in LaHarpe, Illinois. The town grew modestly to serve farmers until the Lanyon Smelting Company built a zinc smelter here, creating hundreds of jobs. The town grew like a weed.