Gardner was founded where the Santa Fe Trail and the Oregon/California Trails divided as a Free-Stater settlement in 1857. Settled primarily by emigrants from Massachusetts, it was named for Henry Gardner, then governor of Massachusetts. Four years after its establishment, it became the first community in Johnson County—and perhaps the first in the state—to experience an attack by Confederate forces. The first post office in Gardner was established in 1858.
Gardner has changed significantly since it was founded, growing from 203 people in 1880 to 23,287 people 2020,
but it has retained aspects of a small town.
This section of the website contains memories of Gardner shared by residents as a way to preserve the history of
Gardner and our surrounding area.