56 Interesting Facts About Kansas That You Should Know

Last updated on August 10th, 2020

Kansas is the 35th most populous and the 15th most extensive of the 50 states of the United States. It lies in the Midwestern United States. The state attained statehood on January 29, 1861, becoming the 34th state to join the union. Its four bordering states are Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Here is the complete list of the 50 states and their borders. Kansas (nicknamed: Bleeding Kansas, Jayhawks State, Sunflower State, and Wheat State) has 105 counties. The state‚Äôs capital is Topeka. With these 56 interesting facts about Kansas, let us learn about its history, people, culture, geography, economy and much more.

Interesting facts about Kansas

1. Welcoming Residents

Newcomers to the state frequently speak of feeling overwhelmed by the friendliness of Kansans. Everyone seems to be filled with profound Kansas pride and prepared to display it through homegrown hospitality.

2. Longest Railroad Bridge

Built in 1939, the Rock Island Railroad bridge is located North of Arkalon. It has been dubbed, the “Sampson of the Cimarron.” It is perhaps the longest known railroad bridge and spans more than 1200 feet across the Cimarron River. It towers approximately 114 feet above the river.

Kansas on the map

 

3. Hugoton Gas Field

Within the United States, The Hugoton Gas Field is the biggest natural gas field. It is approximately 8500 square miles, which is almost 5 times the size of Rhode Island.

4. The Big Well

Located in Greensburg, The Big Well is known as the largest hand-dug well in the world. In 1987, workers dug the well using hand tools and the end result is a well 32 feet in diameter and 109 feet deep.

5. The 4-State Lookout

Standing in a particular spot in White Cloud, you will be able to view the panoramic scenes of the Missouri River valley. You will also be able to simultaneously see four states, namely Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas, without even taking a step.

6. Birthplace of the Icee Drink

Omar Knedik, owner of the Coffeyville Dairy Queen, made the first Icee drink in the 1960s.  It was such a hit that Knedik had a particular machine developed to serve the Icee.

7. A Revolutionary Discovery

Early in the 1900s, a newly-dug well begun emitting gas. Two University of Kansas professors determined that it was helium. This was an uplifting discovery for Kansas.

A Payless Shoe Source store.
A Payless Shoe Source store.

8. Home of the First Payless Shoe Store

The first ever Payless Shoe Store was in Topeka. Established in 1956, Payless begun selling quality shoes at an affordable value price. 

9. The Center of America

While driving on Highway 281, just a few miles to the northwest of Lebanon you will be able to see a Historical Marker (a limestone shaft and a flag) that declares that you are in the center of the United States. The geographic center of Kansas is in Barton County.

Kansas on the map
Kansas (in red) on the map with other bordering states.

10. Biggest Ball of Twine

Cawker City officials have on display the biggest ball of Sisal twine. In 1953, Frank Stoeber, a local farmer, started creating his Sisal twine. To this day, locals and visitors alike continue working on the twine.

The Pizza Hut logo on a metal roof.
Interesting facts about Kansas. The Pizza Hut logo on a metal roof. Pizza Hut was founded in Nineteen Fifty Eight in Wichita, Kansas.

11. Original Home of Pizza Hut

This is one of the most interesting facts about Kansas. In 1958 in the city of Wichita, two brothers opened the first Pizza Hut. They were attending college and wanted somewhere to eat good pizza. The chain now has more than 13,000 locations globally.

12. White Castle

In 1921 in Wichita, Walter Anderson opened White Castle hamburger restaurant, which is the first national hamburger chain.

13. Garden of Eden

The Garden of Eden is located in Lucas and is characterized in more than 100 tons of concrete. S.P. Dinsmoor, a Civil War veteran, constructed his version between the 1900s and the 1930s. It is a remarkable homage, complete with concrete trees ranging between 30 and 40 feet. 

an airplane taking off

14. Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart was from Atchison and is a renowned pioneer. She was the first woman to be granted a pilot’s license and the first woman to fly over the Atlantic Ocean solo.

15. Other Famous Kansans

These include singer Melissa Etheridge, actress Kirstie Alley and Langston Hughes, poet.

An illustrative image of a helicopter.
An illustrative image of a helicopter.

16. First Patented Helicopter

In 1909 in Goodland, Charles A. Wilson and William J. Purvis co-invented the first helicopter that received a patent. They received donations and used $30,000 to start Goodland Aviation.

17. Graham Crackers

The graham cracker got its name from Reverend Sylvester Graham, a Minister of Religion.  He was a firm believer in consuming products made from whole-wheat flour.

18. Red Light District

The Red Light Bordello located in Dodge City is responsible for the term “red light district.”  The front door was made from red glass and emitted a red glow at night when lit.

A large grain silo in a rural town.
A large grain silo in a rural town.

19. Longest Grain Elevator

Hutchinson is the home to possibly the longest grain elevators across the globe. Built in 1961, it is approximately 2600 feet in length. 

20. The First United Methodist Church

In 1874, The First United Methodist Church in Hutchinson was constructed during the period of the grasshopper plagues. Therefore, thousands of those insects form a part of the foundation.

21. Arkansas River

The Arkansas River could possibly be the only river with a change in pronunciation as it goes over state lines. It is known as the “ahr-KAN-zuhs” in Kansas and in Oklahoma and Colorado, it is known as the “Arkansaw.”

22. The Largest Easel

Goodland has the largest easel in the world. This 40,000 pound, 80 foot steel easel is home to a massive replica of the “Sunflower” painting by Vincent Van Gough.

The Largest Easel.
The Largest Easel.

23. Tremendous Tornado

With more than 60 tornadoes each year, Kansas is ranked second nationally. Very serious storms have happened in this region of the country and there is a history of record-breaking storms that have wiped out entire cities. Kansas is also home to Dodge City, the windiest city in America.

Verruckt water slide at Schlitterbahn waterpark.
Verruckt water slide at Schlitterbahn waterpark. Facts about Kansas.

24. Kansas Hosts an Insane Waterslide

Verruckt is the name of the waterslide, which literally means “insane” in German language. Found in the Schlitterbahn Waterpark, it has 264 steps leading to the top and is the world’s tallest waterslide.

25. Patriotic Pride

Kansas is ranked among the most patriotic states in the U.S. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Emporia, Kansas was the venue for the first Veteran’s Day celebrations.  Kansas is home to the Army’s Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley and McConnell AFB that belongs to the Air Force. Tens of thousands of active members of the military are in the state.

26. Flatter Than a Pancake

Some of you would be amazed to learn this fact about Kansas. The rumors are true whether you believe them or not. Legitimate scientific research has proven that Kansas is actually flatter than pancakes, the favorite breakfast treat of many.

27. It is Not All Flat Though

A close look at a pancake will reveal that it is not totally flat and the same is true for Kansas. Smoky Hills, Flint Hills and a few other places inject a bit of texture into the state and they are absolutely worth checking out.

28. Prepared For Every Type of Weather

When a tornado warning is not in effect, residents brace for anything between hail stones bigger than their fists and scorching heat along with high humidity. The weather can quickly change and Kansans know to be ready for the worst.

29. Wizard of Oz

Kansans are well aware the “Wizard of Oz” movie was set in their state. They have already heard all the jokes and they are mostly used to the movie being the first topic of conversation. There is a remarkable museum in Wamego for those who need a “Wizard of Oz” fix.

30. “Home on the Range”

The Sunflower State has a ton of farmland and a few years ago, the state produced adequate wheat to bake six loaves for each individual earth, approximately 33 billion loaves. Residing there for a few months, anybody will easily see why the state song “Home on the Range” is believed to perfectly describe the state.

31. The Bible Belt

A recent survey revealed that 86 percent of Kansans identify as Christians. This should come as no surprise since the bottom half of the state forms a part of the “Bible Belt.”

32. Cheering for Pro Teams

During the NFL season, the majority of Kansans back their neighbor, the Kansas City Chiefs. They are aware that they are technically rooting for a Missouri team; however, Kansas is a part of the name. The Kansas City Royals are treated the same.

33. Wichita is the Place to Be

Wichita is the largest city in Kansas and it is renowned for being the best location to go for a variety of performances and festivals. The Flight Festival is referred to as the “Air Capital of the World” and it is something to behold.

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