Downs, Kansas, was founded in 1879 when Major William F. Downs brought the Central Branch Union Pacific Railroad into the area. Downs sprang up from the prairie almost overnight. In its boom, the railroad had eighteen trains running daily. With both passengers and freight, the trains were constantly on the move. Downs also had one of the largest roundhouses in the state with a capacity for ten locomotives and, with its well-balanced turntable, could turn the heaviest locomotive with ease. Several freight trains still run through Downs weekly, operated by the Kyle Railroad of Phillipsburg.
Downs started out as a railroad town and that tradition still continues. The newly restored train depot was unveiled in 2005 and is a brilliant addition to the downtown Downs area where the Kansas Storytelling Festival takes place.
Downs is located in North Central Kansas and Osborne County.
The Kansas Storytelling Festival is held in various location on Morgan Street (the main street that runs through Downs). Locations include the Depot, the historic Lipton Hotel (formerly Stuff 'n Such) building, the Memorial Hall, and the Downs Senior Center.