Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The change in an areal landscape pattern is dependent first upon the nature of the land, and second upon the character of the people who settle there. The morphology of the present Ellis County, Kansas, landscape has developed as a composite of traditional German-Russian Catholic culture interacting with the pre-existing physical and cultural milieu. A blend of adopted and imported culture traits had created within the Kansas study area a German-Russian settlement pattern which enabled the first successful agrarian exploitation of the American Great Plains. The German-agriculturalist who colonized the Russian-Volga under the invitation of Catharine the Great immigrated to the Western Kansas steppe during the decade of the 1870's. Conditioned by a century of life on the Volga steppe, the German-Russian colonist attempted to reestablish that rural-village settlement that he best understood. As a result, elements of German-Russian material culture have created a unique settlement situation that in both form and function has remained as a visible imprint on the local landscape.