J. B. Corbett and Valentine Harbaugh, leaders of a colony from Ohio, founded Bunker Hill at a site on the Kansas Pacific Railway in the summer of 1871. The settlement received its name from a Butterfield Overland Despatch station, built in 1865, that had preceded it on the site. County commissioners declared Bunker Hill the county seat in 1872, but, two years later, a popular vote moved the seat to nearby Russell. Many Bunker Hill residents moved with it, stunting the growth and development of the town. By 1883, a small business community emerged, including a hotel, flour mill, and several shops.
Bunker Hill is located at 38°52′29″N 98°42′10″W (38.874716, -98.702759), at an elevation of 1,860 feet (567 m). Located in north-central Kansas, Bunker Hill is 108 miles (174 km) northwest of Wichita and 221 miles (355 km) west of Kansas City. Located 1 mile (1.7 km) north of Interstate 70, it is roughly 8 miles (13 km) east of Russell, the county seat.
The community lies in the Smoky Hills region of the Great Plains approximately 5 miles (8 km) north of the Smoky Hill River and 7 miles (11 km) south of the Saline River. Wilson Lake lies 6 miles (10 km) to the northeast.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.38 square miles (3.57 km2), all of it land.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Bunker Hill has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
As of the 2010 census, there were 95 people, 47 households, and 21 families residing in the city. The population density was 67.9 people per square mile (26.4/km²). There were 66 housing units at an average density of 47.1 per square mile (18.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.9% White, 1.1% Asian, and 1.1% from some other race. Hispanics and Latinos of any race were 1.1% of the population.
There were 47 households of which 23.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.2% were married couples living together, 2.1% had a male householder with no wife present, 6.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 55.3% were non-families. 53.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 42.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.02, and the average family size was 3.00.
In the city, the population was spread out with 21.1% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 14.8% from 25 to 44, 30.6% from 45 to 64, and 27.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48.9 years. For every 100 females, there were 102.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.5 males age 18 and over.
The median income for a household in the city was $31,875, and the median income for a family was $36,250. Males had a median income of $30,313 versus $37,917 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,661. 4.2% of families and 2.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.7% of those under age 18 and 0.0% of those age 65 or over.
As of the census of 2000, there were 101 people, 51 households, and 29 families residing in the city. The population density was 73.2 people per square mile (28.3/km²). There were 68 housing units at an average density of 49.3/sq mi (19.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 100.00% White. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.93% of the population.
There were 51 households out of which 13.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.0% were married couples living together, 3.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.1% were non-families. 39.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.98 and the average family size was 2.59.
In the city the population was spread out with 17.8% under the age of 18, 1.0% from 18 to 24, 19.8% from 25 to 44, 37.6% from 45 to 64, and 23.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 51 years. For every 100 females there were 83.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.4 males.
As of 2012, 70.7% of the population over the age of 16 was in the labor force. 0.0% was in the armed forces, and 70.7% was in the civilian labor force with 70.7% being employed and 0.0% unemployed. The composition, by occupation, of the employed civilian labor force was: 34.5% in service occupations; 32.8% in sales and office occupations; 17.2% in management, business, science, and arts; 12.1% in natural resources, construction, and maintenance; 3.4% in production, transportation, and material moving. The three industries employing the largest percentages of the working civilian labor force were: retail trade (27.6%); arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (13.8%); and wholesale trade (13.8%).
The cost of living in Bunker Hill is relatively low; compared to a U.S. average of 100, the cost of living index for the community is 80.0. As of 2012, the median home value in the city was $45,000, the median selected monthly owner cost was $717 for housing units with a mortgage and $275 for those without, and the median gross rent was $913.
Bunker Hill is a city of the third class with a mayor-council form of government. The city council consists of five members, and it meets on the second Tuesday of each month.
Bunker Hill lies within Kansas's 1st U.S. Congressional District. For the purposes of representation in the Kansas Legislature, the city is located in the 36th district of the Kansas Senate and the 109th district of the Kansas House of Representatives.
Bunker Hill is served by USD 407 Russell County Schools. The district high school is Russel High School located in Russell.
Bunker Hill schools were closed through school unification. The Bunker Hill High School mascot was White Owls.
Interstate 70 and U.S. Route 40 run concurrently east-west a mile south of the city. Bunker Hill-Luray Road, a paved county road, runs north-south along the city's western edge.
Union Pacific Railroad operates one freight rail line, its Kansas Pacific (KP) Line, through Bunker Hill. The line runs east-west through the community.
Western Electric provides electricity to local residents. Rural Telephone provides landline telephone service, and Nex-Tech offers cable television and internet access. Most residents use natural gas for heating fuel; service is provided by Midwest Energy, Inc.
Bunker Hill is in the Wichita-Hutchinson, Kansas television market. Smoky Hills Public Television, the PBS member network for western Kansas, is headquartered in Bunker Hill.
The Bunker Hill Museum, located in an old limestone church one block east of Main Street, displays documents and artifacts from the community's history.
Bunker Hill is the setting and namesake of the 2008 film Bunker Hill.
Notable individuals who were born in and/or have lived in Bunker Hill include:Mary Ann Bickerdyke (1817-1901), American Civil War nurse