Quirky Kansas – Curiosities & Roadside Attractions

Quirky Kansas:

A silo painted to look like a Coors can sits in a field near Emporia, just off I-35. Kathy Weiser, November, 2005.

The Big Well in Greensburg

World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City

The Garden of Eden in Lucas, Kansas

Kansas Fun Facts & Trivia

The Nation’s Largest Sunflower

You Know You’re In Kansas When ….

 

The Big Well, Greensburg, Kansas

Promoted as the World’s largest hand dug well, The Big Well in Greensburg, Kansas has been an attraction for years. Completed in 1888, the well is 109 feet deep and 32 feet wide, and was used as the area’s water supply until 1932. In 1937 it was opened as an attraction, then in 1972 the U.S. Government designated it a National Museum. In 1974 it was awarded as an American Water Landmark by the American Water Works Association.

The visitors center and gift shop were destroyed in a devastating EF5 Tornado that practically wiped out the town of Greensburg on May 4, 2007. But, as with the rest of Greensburg, the museum would be rebuilt, this time even bigger, reopening in May of 2012.

The Big Well in Greensburg Kansas, a year before the devastating Tornado of 2007.

The Big Well in Greensburg, Ks after it reopened in 2012.

World Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City, Ks

World’s Largest Ball of Twine, Cawker City, Kansas. Photo courtesy KansasTravel.org

Started in 1953 by Frank Stoeber, it only took four years for it to reach 5,000 pounds and eight feet tall. Stoeber gave the oddity to the city in 1961. See more from Kansas Travel here.

The Nation’s Largest Sunflower

Giant Sunflower painting. Photo by Reletta Clumsky

Though Vincent Van Gogh probably never heard of Goodland, Kansas, the folks of Goodland certainly know of him, thanks to Canadian artist Cameron Cross. While driving to Goodland, visitors will see acres and acres of sunflowers surrounding the town, but the biggest one of all sits at the junction of U.S. Highway 24 and State Highway 27 atop an 80-foot easel.

The 24 by 32 foot reproduction of Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, can be seen from nearby I-70, but to truly appreciate its “big picture” effect, a side trip into town is a “must make.”

The third in a series of seven giant Van Gogh reproductions planned by Cross, the Sunflowers are part of the Big Easel Project, which will display Van Gough’s Sunflower Paintings in seven different countries around the world.

The first Easel was erected in Altona, Canada in October, 1998, the second on in November, 1999 in Emerald, Australia, and Goodland’s giant painting on August 17, 2001. Discussions are currently underway in South Africa and Japan for future sites and when it is final, it is expected to be included in the Guinness Book of World Records.

What all seven sites, ranging from rural to urban, will have in common is that all have a connection to sunflower agriculture or to Van Gogh himself.

Goodland, now known as the “Sunflower Capital of the High Plains,” will be the only place in the United States where one of the giant easels and its sunflower painting can be seen.

On display at what is known as the “Cherry Street Y,” plans call for a visitor’s center that will include a public viewing area and an exhibition hall dedicated to the history of sunflowers and Van Gogh.

Goodland, Kansas is located on Interstate I-70, just 17 miles from the Colorado border.

© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated February, 2017.

Also see: 

Offbeat Roadside Attractions, Trivia, & More

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