Cawker City was founded in 1870 by E. H. Cawker, J.P. Rice, R. Ksinka and J. Huckle, with a false start in 1870 when incorrect land descriptions were filed. A land dispute with other settlers resulted in the present site of Cawker becoming a town and the settlement of another town, Waconda, being abandoned. The Cawker town plat was recorded in 1871 and Colonel Cawker built the first building. Each of the founders wanted the town to be named after himself. To settle the matter they played a friendly hand of poker with Cawker winning the honor. The city was incorporated as a third class city in 1874. In the early days, people traveled from eastern cities to take health treatments at Waconda Springs, east of town.
Today over 300,000 people a year enjoy fishing, hunting, boating camping and other activities around the 12,586 acre Waconda Lake, as well as the business, social, and cultural life of Cawker City. The town has about 600 year round residents who are very caring and family oriented. The Cawker City Community Club actively plans activities for the whole community, as well as visitors to enjoy.rn