Baxter Springs is a city situated along the Spring River in the extreme southeastern part of Cherokee County, located in southeast Kansas, in the Central United States. The population was 4,602 at the 2000 census, and it was estimated to be 4,221 in the year 2006. It is the most populous city of Cherokee County. After the American Civil War, in the late 1860s, the town developed as one of the first "cow towns" in Kansas, where thousands of head of Texas cattle were driven to market. It was a stopping place on their way to northern markets. Baxter Springs downtown main street is part of the historic U.S. Route 66 that passes through Kansas.