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The Smith Center Townsite Company chartered the town site in September 1871. The name Smith Centre was the legal spelling on the charter, but the more common spelling of Smith Center began in 1873. The first building on the town site was constructed in May 1872 and used as a boardinghouse. Other buildings and homes were built that summer and fall, and in November, there was an election for the county seat. Cedarville claimed to have won, but the victory was challenged by Smith Centre. Another election held a year later gave the county seat permanently to Smith Center.
The post office was established on January 8, 1873.
The ethnicity of its settlers is unknown.
Pletcher, Vera Edith Crosby. "A History of Smith County, Kansas to 1960". Masters thesis, Kansas State University, 1960.
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