Population: 274 (2017 Census)

Source: United States Census Bureau

Candy, Helium and Rural Beauty Mark this Scenic Town

Community, service, tourism and academics are proudly promoted by the Dexter-area community residents. It is an amazing place to live and visit.

Dexter, located in the rolling Flint Hills in the southeast Cowley County, was named after a famous winning trotter horse owned by Robert Bonner of New York.

Established on the banks of Grouse Creek, the Dexter town plat was surveyed in November, 1875, and the seal of the Dexter Town Association was filed in July, 1876.

Discovery of Helium

A major claim to fame by the town of Dexter was the discovery of helium in the early 1900s.

The story of helium’s discovery in natural gas begins in May 1903 in Dexter, Kan., about 45 miles southeast of Wichita.

The town put on a daylong celebration of a local company’s discovery of a natural gas well, including the release of a stream of natural gas. The gas was supposed to explode and light up the sky when it came into contact with a hay bale set on fire above it.

Instead, the natural gas extinguished the burning hay. Several more trials also fizzled.

Erasmus Haworth, a Kansas geology professor who was puzzled by the incident, sent a cylinder of the Dexter gas to the University of Kansas. The university had just built a chemistry building and had acquired a liquid air machine, the only one of its kind west of the Mississippi.

On Dec. 7, 1905, Professor Hamilton Cady and Associate Professor David McFarland analyzed the sample and discovered that it was nearly 2 percent helium.

“At the time, they just shrugged it off because they didn’t know of any use for helium,” said Grover Everett, a retired Kansas chemistry professor who researched the story, “It was a number of years before its importance was realized,

“In the decade that followed, helium remained a curiosity and the entire U.S. supply rested in three glass tubes on a shelf at Kansas, the American Chemical Society said.

That changed in 1917, when the British suggested that the United States produce enough helium to raise lighter-than-air craft for the Allied war effort.

Large-scale production to inflate blimps came too late for World War I. But the helium-filled blimps and anti-aircraft balloons were used extensively in World War II.


USD 471  Dexter holds high expectations for their students and will help them succeed in any manner they choose to succeed. A student really has to try hard not to become successful due to the care and work of the teachers and staff. USD 471 have combined most of the sports teams with Cedar Vale to give the students an opportunity for league, regional, state championships. While maintaining the red, white, and black Dexter Cardinals identity  a unique and tight bond with our friends and neighbors to the east was formed to become the gold and black Spartans.

Dexter Events, Businesses, and Attraction

Dexter Tourism Flyer

Annual Dexter BBQ and Fun Run

Downtown Dexter and City Park
Second Saturday in July. An all-day community celebration with activities for all ages.  Kicks off with a 2Mile Walk/5K Fun Run. Come back for the delicious pit roasted BBQ served at 5 p.m followed by music.

Barn Quilt Trail

Barn Quilts dot the county and also throughout the town of Dexter.

Dexter Barn Quilt Map

See all of the barn quilts on the Cowley County Quilt Trail or all of the barn quilts across the 22 counties in the Kansas Flint Hills Quilt Trail.

Beaver Creek Farm

26882 271st Road, Dexter
At Beaver Creek, they strive to provide you with the best grass fed beef raised locally in the beautiful Kansas Flint Hills.  Raised on native grass with no hormones or antibiotics.

Blue Diamond Liquor

21286 K-15 Highway
Monday – Thursday 2-8 pm; Friday -Saturday 11:30 am-9 pm; Sun noon-6 pm.
Local wines and spirits.

Brian’s Woodworking

21172 K-15 Highway
Intriguing wood crafts and award winning scroll work for sale at Henry’s Candy.

Cowley County Fishing Lake and Waterfall

20467 US Hwy 166
Named #12 most beautiful waterfall in the U.S. by Yahoo travel and most recently named The Most Gorgeous Waterfall in Every State by Reader’s Digest. Located 16 miles east of Arkansas City, this unique fishing, hunting and camping destination is the perfect family venue. During the wet season, check out the waterfall on the west end of the lake.
Cowley State Fishing Lake Brochure

Dexter Swimming Pool

110 W. School Street

Grouse Valley Equipment

(formerly Dave’s Enterprises)
115 N. Main Street, Dexter
Recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Cowley County Business. Largest authorized Hustler mower dealer in Kansas.  Wide selection of mowers and parts.

Grouse Valley Grill and Catering

501 N. Hwy K-15, Dexter
Monday – Saturday: 7 am – 7 pm
Sunday: closed
Homemade biscuits & gravy, hearty breakfasts, freshly made burgers, pizza, a wide selection of tots, fries and breaded veggies. Catering also available.

Grouse Creek Outfitters

16849 251st Rd., Cambridge
Located 6 miles north east of Dexter, this 5 bedroom lodge is perfect for any country getaway.  Great for hunters, family vacation, weddings or any other escape from reality! Guided deer hunts available.

Grouse Valley Lodge

107 S. Main, Po Box 40, Dexter
The ocean-themed lodge, complete with a lighthouse on the property, has a kitchenette  with a microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator, cook stove, bathroom with shower, queen sized bed, pull-out couch (twin) & upstairs loft for the kids. Enjoy the sunset on the deck or a cookout in the yard. Relax in warm weather in the Jacuzzi set in a beautiful private outdoor setting. Rent by the week or night.

Helium Memorial Park

109 N. Main Street, Dexter
A beautiful park commemorating the United State’s discovery of helium in Dexter, an event that marked the town’s spot in the history books. Be sure to check out the historical marker at the intersection of K15 and Hwy 166 commemorating the discovery of the helium well and helium plant.

Henry’s Candy Company

21172 K-15 Highway, Dexter
Another claim to fame is Henry’s Candy Co., and the O’Henry candy bar. Bring your sweet tooth to Dexter and stop at the world famous Henry’s Candy Company. Operated by the same family for 60 years, the factory is a must stop for the young and young at heart.  Shop from the huge variety of sugary treats made on site.  Do not miss the experience of watching fourth generation candy-makers create their specialty items!  Call ahead for a schedule.  Large groups and tour buses are welcome.  Open 363 days a year from 10-5; closed Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Honeysuckle Lodge

107 S. Main, Suite B, Dexter
Proceeds from Honeysuckle Lodge help fund Lighthouse Library, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit with a mission to improve reading & computer skills for families & promote fun, safe community events. The lodge is a more rugged setting than the nearby Grouse Valley Lodge. It is great for a fall retreat or for your hunting trip. Set in a rural village in the middle of the Kansas Heartland. Lots of historical festivals & places to see in the area. Scenic highways that lead to area lakes and back-country. Book your rural adventure! Cottage is complete with full kitchen, lots of sleeping possibilities including a full bed, comfy futon, etc. Fun, safe, & peaceful setting.

Lighthouse Library

107 S Main, Po Box 40, Dexter
620.876.7323 or 620.876.READ

Stone Barn Farm

20438 K-15 Highway, Dexter
Rock was quarried locally for this historic barn with unique arch doorways. The small windows on the south are a mystery. Kansas’ 150 birthday mural is displayed on the roof.  Fall activities include a Vintage Camper Show and Market.  Log cabins and a hunting lodge are available for nightly or weekly rent.

Stone Bridges of Cowley County

Enjoy a self-guided tour of the 18 stone arch bridges that are located throughout Cowley County, the Stone Bridge Capital of Kansas, including rural Dexter.
Google Map of Historic Stone Arch Bridges

The Log Cabins at the Stone Barn and Gathering Place Lodge

20438 k-15 Highway, Dexter
Despite the primitive name, you will only find high quality lodging at the Log Cabins.  Open year round for nightly rentals, the cabins are equipped with refrigerator, microwave, heating and air conditioning and private bathroom.  Experience cozy accommodations in the Home on the Range Cabin, which features a Jacuzzi tub and king size bed; or enjoy the unique décor in the Hunting Lodge, Fishing Camp or Cowboy Bunk cabins.  Most cabins sleep up to eight, including beds in the lofts.  RV hook up also available.  The Gathering Place Lodge sleeps 10 and features a full kitchen, fire pit and BBQ grill.


Dexter City CouncilDexter Rural Health Clinic BQ 1

Mayor Steve Joyce
Council Rocky Randall
  Jim Bradley
  George Reimer
  Ryan Ware
  Brian Kuntz
City Clerk Monica Wise
City Attorney Tom Herlocker
Meeting are the 1st Wednesday at 7:00 pm

PO Box 6
Dexter, KS 67038
Phone: (620) 876-5569
Fax: (620) 876-3216
Office Hours: M-W-F 8:30-12:30

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