Treece, Kansas

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Treece, Kansas
Ghost town
Location of Treece, Kansas
Location of Treece, Kansas
Coordinates: 37°0′1″N 94°50′37″W / 37.00028°N 94.84361°W / 37.00028; -94.84361Coordinates: 37°0′1″N 94°50′37″W / 37.00028°N 94.84361°W / 37.00028; -94.84361
Country United States
State Kansas
County Cherokee
Disincorporated 2012[1]
 • Total 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
 • Land 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 840 ft (256 m)
Population (May 2012)[2][3][4]
 • Total 2
 • Density 20/sq mi (10/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 66778
Area code(s) 620
FIPS code 20-71350[5]
GNIS feature ID 0469375[6]

Treece is a ghost town in Cherokee County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 138.[3] As of May 2012 the city was abandoned and most buildings and other facilities demolished due to pervasive problems with lead pollution resulting from past mining. Two people who had refused an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) buyout remained.[2]


Treece and neighboring former cities Picher, Cardin and Douthat were formed as a result of mining operations in the early 20th century. Realtor J. O. Treece lent the town his name.[7] The first post office in Treece was established in 1917.[8] Treece was a major supplier of lead, zinc, and iron ore. During its maximum production, Treece and Picher combined had a population of over 20,000 and produced $20 billion worth of ore mainly during World War I and World War II. After the 1970s, ore production declined rapidly as did the city's population.[9]

It is located less than a mile north of Picher, Oklahoma, a town which has been closed due to lead pollution, and its residents' property bought out by the Environmental Protection Agency. Residents of Treece were also demanding a buy-out, but at first were not certain of receiving one.[10] As of September 2009, it was reported that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wanted to clean up the soil in Treece, instead of moving its residents away.[11] Congress, however, passed an environmental appropriations bill on October 29, 2009, that authorizes the EPA to buy out the town.[12] Residents had until August 31, 2010 to apply for a Federal buyout[13] and offers are to be made to the 80 residents who applied in December.[14] As of May 2, 2012 only one couple has rejected the buyout offer and remain in Treece living in a double-wide trailer. Other than their location all other facilities in the former city have been sold, moved, or demolished.[2]

In 2012, the State of Kansas officially disincorporated the city of Treece.[1]


Treece is located at 37°0′1″N 94°50′37″W / 37.00028°N 94.84361°W / 37.00028; -94.84361 (37.000262, -94.843723).[15] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1930 749
1940 568 −24.2%
1950 378 −33.5%
1960 280 −25.9%
1970 225 −19.6%
1990 172
2000 149 −13.4%
2010 138 −7.4%
Est. 2016 1 −99.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 149 people, 59 households, and 37 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,134.9 people per square mile (821.8/km²). There were 66 housing units at an average density of 945.6 per square mile (364.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.91% White, 7.38% Native American, 2.01% African American, and 4.70% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.67% of the population.

There were 59 households out of which 33.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.5% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.6% were non-families. 33.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.26.

In the city the population was spread out with 30.9% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 19.5% from 45 to 64, and 16.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 96.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 106.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $22,500, and the median income for a family was $28,125. Males had a median income of $26,250 versus $33,125 for females. The per capita income for the city was $10,122. There were 20.0% of families and 26.4% of the population living below the poverty line, including 40.5% of under eighteens and 19.0% of those over 64.

As of May 2012, one couple who had rejected an EPA buyout offer remained in Treece.[2]

On August 30, 2016, Timothy Busby, one of the two remaining Treece residents, died at the age of 54. He is survived by his wife, Della Busby, who lived with him in Treece until his death, as well as their three grown children and other relatives. Currently, no information can definitively confirm if Della is still living in Treece, though it is possible she may have relocated to nearby Baxter Springs.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Former residents say goodbye to contaminated town of Treece". The Wichita Eagle. September 27, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d Wes Enzinna (May 16, 2012). "Last Ones Left in a Toxic Town". The New York Times. Retrieved May 16, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "2010 City Population and Housing Occupancy Status". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved June 19, 2011. 
  4. ^ [1], Obituary report
  5. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ "Profile for Treece, Kansas". ePodunk. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "Kansas Post Offices, 1828-1961, page 2". Kansas Historical Society. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  9. ^ Saulny, Susan (September 14, 2009). "Welcome to Our Town. Wish We Weren't Here". The New York Times. Retrieved May 26, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Polluted Kansas Town Seeks Federal Buyout". All things considered. National Public Radio. August 25, 2009. Retrieved August 25, 2009. 
  11. ^ Treece Journal: Welcome to Our Town. Wish We Weren’t Here. SUSAN SAULNY, The New York Times, September 13, 2009
  12. ^ Lefler, Dion (October 30, 2009). "Congress approves buyouts for Treece". The Wichita Eagle. Retrieved October 30, 2009. 
  13. ^ "Aug. 31 buyout application deadline set for residents". The Lawrence Journal-World. August 3, 2010. Retrieved November 17, 2010.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  14. ^ Treece buyout offers to start next month. Staff reports, The Joplin Globe, November 5, 2010
  15. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 

External links[edit]