14 Fun Facts About Kansas
Sitting smack dab in the middle of the country is our wonderful state of Kansas. In fact, Kansas is actually home to the geographical center of America, along with some of the longest bridges and the Garden of Eden. Here are 14 fascinating facts about the Sunflower State!
1. Longest grain elevator
Hutchinson is the home of one of the longest grain elevators, possibly the world. The elevator is around 2,600 feet-long and could hold 46 million bushels of grain in some 1,000 bins. Built in 1961, you can’t miss it.
2. Longest railroad bridge
North of Ashland is the Rock Island Railroad bridge built in 1939 and nicknamed, the Sampson of the Cimarron. Possibly the longest known railroad bridge spanning over 1,200 feet across the Cimarron River and towering 114 feet, give or take a foot, above the river.
3. Garden of Eden
Imagine seeing the Garden of Eden characterized in over 100 tons of concrete and located in Lucas. Civil War veteran S.P. Dinsmoor built his adaptation between the 1900s through the 1930s. It is a remarkable place to visit. An indescribable homage, complete with 30 to 40 foot concrete trees!
The American Pie Council has reported that in Kansas it has been against the law to provide ice cream on top of cherry pie when served.
5. Birthplace of Pizza Hut
The first Pizza Hut was opened in 1958 in Wichita by two brothers who were attending Wichita State University and wanted a place to eat a good pizza. Now the chain has over 13,000 locations worldwide.
6. Which creek?
Several articles have been published stating that in Kansas there are 27 creeks named Walnut Creek.
7. Largest ball of twine
In Cawker City, officials have on display the largest ball of Sisal twine and it continues to grow ever year. Recently listed as being around 7,974,454 feet of Sisal twine rolled into a gigantic ball. A local farmer Frank Stoeber began winding his Sisal twine in 1953 and both locals and visitors continue the winding to this day.
8. The center of America!
Driving down Highway 281, a few miles northwest of Lebanon you will see a Historical Marker that announces you are smack-dab in the center of the United States, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
9. A groundbreaking discovery
In the early 1900s, a newly-dug well started spewing gas, and it took two professors from the University of Kansas to determine the unknown gas was helium. This discover was uplifting for the state of Kansas.
10. Our favorite cold drink
The first Icee drink was first made at a Coffeyville Dairy Queen by the owner, Omar Knedik in the 1960s. Customers loved the fruit flavored frozen drink so much that Knedik had a specific machine developed to serve the new sensation drink, named Icee.
11. First Payless Shoe Store
Topeka is the home of the first Payless Shoe Store. Founded in 1956, Payless broke ground selling quality shoes at a value price, in which shoe shoppers could select shoes and try them on without the salesperson’s help.
12. The 4-State Lookout
If you stand in a certain spot in White Cloud you can view the panoramic vistas of the Missouri River valley and see four states, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa, all at once without taking a step. Locals call the spot, the 4-State Lookout.
13. Birthplace of Chrysler
Walter P. Chrysler was born in Wamego in 1875. Raised in Ellis, he began his engine mechanics training and his automotive career as a young man. In 1925, he started his own automobile company with the Plymouth, Desoto brands. Combining other auto companies and became the third largest automaker in the United States, and finally acquiring Dodge. One of the richest men in America in the 1930s, he built the Chrysler Building in New York City, the world’s tallest skyscraper at the time, and in 1929 Time magazine named him “Man of the Year”.
14. The Big Well
The Big Well in Greensburg is known as the world’s largest hand dug well and an engineering wonder. Workers hand dug the well for days in 1987 using hand tools and completed the 109 feet deep, 32 feet in diameter well in 1988. Named a National Museum in 1972, millions of visitors tour the well by taking a metal stairway down into the well cavity every year.