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 quickly turn the heaviest locomotive. Several freight trains still run through Downs weekly, operated by the Kyle Railroad of Phillipsburg.
Downs started as a railroad town, and that tradition continues. 2005 the restored train depot was unveiled. The historic depot is a remarkable addition to downtown Downs, where the Kansas Storytelling Festival takes place.
Downs is in North Central Kansas and Osborne County.
The Kansas Storytelling Festival performances are indoors in four locations on Morgan Street (the main street that runs through Downs). Locations include the Historic Depot, the Memorial Hall, the Downs Christian Church and the Downs Senior Center.