Kansas Fun Facts & Trivia


Long Branch Saloon, Dodge City, Kansas by Dave Alexander

Long Branch Saloon, Dodge City, Kansas by Dave Alexander

Kansas entered the Union as a Free State on January 29, 1861.

The Long Branch Saloon really did exist in Dodge City, Kansas.  One of the owners, William Harris, was a former resident of Long Branch, New Jersey and named the saloon after his hometown in the 1880’s.  The Long Branch Saloon still exists in Dodge City and can be seen at Dodge City’s Boothill Museum.

Though most people say that Kansas “flatter” than a pancake and it certainly look like it is, it actually slopes from an elevation of more than 4,000 feet long the Colorado border to 700 feet on the Missouri line.

Established in 1827, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas is the oldest military post in continuous operation west of the Mississippi River.

Kansas State Game rules prohibits the use of mules to hunt ducks.

It is illegal to shoot rabbits from a motorboat in the State of Kansas.

According to some biographers, Billy the Kid was afraid of only one man. That man, who was known as “Dirty” Dave Rudabaugh, was an outlaw from Kansas before making his way to New Mexico and joining up with the “Kid’s” gang.

In 1901, Governor William Stanley declared, “We cannot afford to have the state made a dumping ground for the dependent children of other states, especially New York.”  This statement was made in response to the Orphan Trains movement, which spanned the turn of the century and brought hundred of orphans to the State of Kansas.

At Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine waterbeds for horses are used in surgery.

In Salina it is against the law to leave your car running unattended.

William Purvis and Charles Wilson of Goodland, Kansas invented the helicopter in 1909.

The First United Methodist Church in Hutchinson was built in 1874 during the time of the grasshopper plagues.  Grasshoppers, or no, the work on the church continued and as a result, thousands of grasshoppers are mixed into the mortar of the original building’s foundation.

Musical car horns are banned in Russell, Kansas.

There is a grain elevator in Hutchinson, Kansas that is 1/2 mile long and holds 46 million bushels of grain.

Helium was discovered in 1905 at the University of Kansas.

The Boulevard Drive-In Theater in Merriam, was the first drive-in in the world to install digital sound.  Built in 1950, the drive-in continues to operate today, with the best sound system of all of the remaining drive-ins in the country.

Dodge City is the windiest city in the United States, with an average wind speed of 14 miles per hour.

Goodland, Kansas proudly boasts the world’s largest easel. Sitting atop the 80 foot, 40,000 pound steel easel, is a giant replica of Vincent Van Gough’s Sunflower painting.

Hot and Cold Water Towers in Canton, Kansas

Hot and Cold Water Towers in Canton, Kansas

“Hot” and “cold” water towers stand in Pratt, Kansas.  This “joke” was first labeled on the side-by-side water towers in 1956.  Furthermore, Pratt’s not the only town boasting the “hot” and “cold.”.  Another pair can also be found in Canton, Kansas.

The Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop in Olathe, was the first eating station for westbound passengers on the Santa Fe Trail in 1863.

The first restaurant chain in the U.S. was the Harvey Houses, that started in 1876 to serve railroad travelers.  The Harvey House Museum can be seen Florence and Fred Harvey’s home in Leavenworth.

Any person convicted of using or carrying bean snappers in Wichita will be fined.

At one time it was against the law to serve ice cream on cherry pie in Kansas.

Sumner County is known as The Wheat Capital of the World.

The term “red light district” came from the Red Light Bordello in Dodge City, Kansas. The front door of the building was made of red glass and produced a red glow to the outside world when lit at night. The name carried over to refer to the town’s brothel district.

In Dodge City it is illegal to spit on a sidewalk.

Almon Stowger of El Dorado invented the dial telephone in 1889.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, was from Abilene.

Riding an animal down the road is against the law in Derby, Kansas.

Lucas, Kansas, a tiny town of less than 500 residents, is the officially designated “Grassroots Art Capital of Kansas,” due to its numerous artistic displays.

Hutchinson is nicknamed the Salt City because it was built above some of the richest salt deposits in the world. Salt is still actively mined, processed and shipped from Hutchinson.

There are 27 Walnut Creeks in the state of Kansas.

If you’re going to cross a highway at night in Kansas, you are required to wear tail lights.

Amelia Earhart, the first woman granted a pilot’s license by the National Aeronautics Associate and the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, was from Atchison.

All places of business in Dodge City are required to provide a horse water trough.

The three largest herds of buffalo in Kansas are located on public lands at the Maxwell Game Preserve in McPherson, the Big Basin in Ashland, and the Buffalo Game Preserve in Garden City.

Fort Riley, Kansas 1920s

Fort Riley, Kansas 1920s

Fort Riley was the cradle of the United States Cavalry for 83 years. George Armstrong Custer formed the famed 7th Cavalry there in 1866. Ten years later, at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, the 7th was virtually wiped out. The only Cavalry survivor was a horse named Comanche, whose stuffed body is on display at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum in Lawrence.

Wyatt Earp, James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok and William B. “Bat” Masterson were three of the legendary lawmen who kept the peace in rowdy frontier towns like Abilene, Dodge City, Ellsworth, Hays, and Wichita.

The public swimming pool at the Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City occupies half a city block and holds 2 1/2 million gallons of water.

The installation of bathtubs in Topeka is prohibited.

Kansas produced a record 492.2 million bushels of wheat in 1997, enough to make 35.9 billion loaves of bread.

Russell Springs located in Logan County is known as the Cow Chip Capital of Kansas.

Before proceeding through the intersection of Douglas and Broadway, in Wichita, Kansas, a motorist is required to get out of their vehicle and fire three shot gun rounds into the air.

Garden of Eden in Lucas, Kansas, by Kathy Weiser

Garden of Eden in Lucas, Kansas, by Kathy Weiser

Civil War veteran S.P. Dinsmoor used over 100 tons of concrete to build the Garden of Eden in Lucas. Even the flag above the mausoleum is made of concrete.

Second only to Texas, there have been more meteorites found in Kansas than in any other state west of the Mississippi River.

The Hollenberg Station, 2 miles northeast of Hanover, Kansas, is the only original Pony Express Station still standing in its original location. It is now a museum.

Fire Station No. 4 in Lawrence, originally a stone barn constructed in 1858, was a station site on the Underground Railroad.

The Hugoton Gas Field is the largest natural gas field in the United States. It underlies all or parts of 10 southwestern Kansas counties as well as parts of Oklahoma and Texas, covering some 8,500 square miles, an area nearly 5 times as large as the state of Rhode Island.

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