The 15 Best Historical Sites in Kansas!

Kansas is rich with sites of great historical significance. From Art Deco theaters, to war sites, to sites belonging to some of the most momentous baseball games in history, Kansas has a lot of gems to be explored. Take in all the history, the mystery, and curiosities that celebrate the past. Here are the 15 best historical sites in Kansas.  

1. Geodetic Center of North America, Osborne, KS

No other place in North America has the title of being—smack dab in the middle of North America, except in the countryside of Osborne. Surveyors and map makers used this original point, Marker #38, to plot the continental United States. The actual marker is located on privately-owned land, 18 miles southeast of Osborne. An identical bronze monument located near the Osborne Post Office celebrates the marker site. It was set by the Kansas Historical Society, the State Highway Commission and the Osborne Area Chamber of Commerce.

2. Historic Clock Tower Building, Hiawatha, KS

Known as an architectural landmark, the clock tower was built in 1891, as an addition to the First National Bank Building. It came to be known as the historic Clock Tower Building and has been home to many businesses. It set empty for almost 20 years then after a $1 million renovation, the building officially reopened and named the Frances Sewell Plamann History Center, and is home to the Hiawatha city offices, the Chamber of Commerce and is listed as a state historical site by the Kansas State Historical Society.

3. Franklin Historic Sidewalk, Franklin, KS

A 1.7-mile historic sidewalk, built in August of 1936 between the towns of Franklin and Alma, Kansas. The community sidewalk provided school students a way to-and-from school, after the town’s schools were consolidated. Over the years, the progression of paved roads, school busing and personal vehicles have lessened the foot traffic. Parts of the sidewalk has grown over with dirt and time.  Listed on both the Kansas State and National Registers of Historic Places, many stories are told about this most unusual sidewalk.

4. Augusta Historic Theater, Augusta, KS

The Augusta Historic Theater opened in 1935, and is one of the last American movie theaters built in the 1930s. Today the theater is still in operation in downtown Augusta. A place to enjoy the beautifully restored Egyptian themed, Art Deco interior, while you watch a modern-day movie or a live theater performance. The theater also has musical concerts and various events. It’s always show-time in Augusta!

5. Santa Fe Trail Ruts, Dodge City, KS

The Santa Fe Trail connected America’s eastern states, beginning at Independence, Missouri and trailing through Kansas, before crossing the southeast corner of Colorado and ending in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Near Dodge City, some of the original trail ruts are preserved and have become a Kansas Historical Site. The historic ruts are located nine miles west of Dodge City on U.S. Highway 50 and are easily accessible for visitors. 

6. Independence Creek, Lewis & Clark Historic Site, Atchison, KS

In the early 1800s explorers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, traveled up the Missouri River through the very northeast corner of Kansas stopping on July 4 near Atchison. Their expedition celebrated Independence Day with live gunshots. The city of Aitchison has constructed several tributes to these pioneers, one of which includes a covered pedestrian bridge connecting visitors to the Independence Creek Historic Site.

7. Old Jail Museum, Iola, KS

Made of two-foot-wide limestone walls, the two-story jail in Iola began housing prisoners in 1869. Almost 100 years later the Allen County Commissioners deeded the abandoned jail structure to the Allen County Historical Society. The Historical Society restored the jail and opened the Old Jail Museum in the 1960s before it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 by the U.S. Department of the Interior. 

8. Historic Baseball Site, Blue Rapids, KS

In 1913, the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants baseball teams played a number of games across the United States, and one of those momentous games was played at a small-town ballfield in Blue Rapids, Kansas. A commemorative historical marker lets today’s visitors know where the baseball game was played before a significant crowd for Blue Rapids. The only game the touring baseball teams played that year in Kansas was in Blue Rapids.

9. Kidder Massacre Site, Goodland, KS

In June of 1867 Lieutenant Lyman Kidder and a company of 10 or more men, along with an Indian scout, were massacred during a war campaign known as the Hancock Wars. In the late 1960s, The Friends of the Library of Goodland Kansas created a historic marker in honor of the soldiers and scout who died. The monument marker is on privately owned land near Goodland where the event was thought to have occurred.

10. Mill’s Home, Osawatomie, KS

The historic Mill’s Home located in Osawatomie was built by William M. Mills in 1902 with profits he accumulated from his lucrative oil business. The Queen Anne style home was built by noted architect George Barber. At the time this extravagant 7,000-square-foot home was built with ostentations woodwork and nine fire places. Today the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

11. Pawnee Rocks State Historic Site, Pawnee Rocks, KS

Said to be one of the best landmarks located on the historic Santa Fe Trail and the halfway point for settlers to the area. Situated north of the town of Pawnee Rocks on U.S. Highway 56, this prominent sandstone pergola rises almost 60 feet high overlooking the surrounding Arkansas River valley. Known to be the place Indians could watch for approaching travelers to the area. A historic pillar shaped, granite monument complements this historical site.

12. Chapel of the Veterans, Leavenworth, KS

This historic chapel is part of the Western Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Leavenworth, Kansas. The ornate, late Gothic Revival chapel, was designed by Kansas City architects, Louis Singleton Curtis and Frederick C. Gunn. The two-story brick and sandstone chapel is home to two-story stained glass windows and gargoyles figures keep watch on the bell tower. The church was built with two separate chapel sanctuaries accommodating both Protestant and Catholic congregations. 

13. Chisolm Trail Historical Marker, Abilene, KS

The Chisolm Trail Historical Marker is located near Abilene’s original town-site marker and symbolizes the first post of an estimated 400 trail posts, that stretch north to the near San Antonio, Texas. Cattlemen all along the Chisholm Trail drove cattle from ranches in south Texas to the northern Kansas railroads. Named after Jesse Chisholm, a multicultural Cherokee Indian fur trader, who explored and established this historical trace. 

14. Coronado Heights, Lindsborg, KS

Originally a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, Coronado Heights Park was constructed in 1932. Soon after the WPA work was completed, the park was transferred to the Saline County Commissioners for management in 1936. Fifty years later the Smoky Valley Historical Association (SVHA) took over the care of the park and, that same year the special monument was built by Lindsborg artist, John Whitfield and SVHA volunteers. A stone shelter building and an observation deck were built along with stone picnic sites, restrooms, and a stone front gate to the park.

15. Monument Rocks National Landmark, Oakley, KS

Monument Rocks, located south, south east of Oakley, is the first landmark chosen by the U.S. Department of the Interior as a National Natural Landmark. Reports state these famous rock formations were created out of the Cretaceous Period. A period when the Western Interior Seaway divided North America in half, about 80 million years ago.

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Find Historical Societies, Sites & Museums Near You
51 South Ash Street, Hillsboro, KS
Hillsboro Kansas has two museums, the Mennonite Settlement Museum and the William F. Schaeffler House Museum. Both museums are managed by the City... Read More
623 East Main Street, Marion, KS
The Marion Historical Museum occupies a former 1887 Baptist Church, tucked in the corner of the Marion, Kansas Central Park.  The museum opene... Read More
800 South Broadway, Herington, KS
The Tri-County Historical Museum in Herington, Kansas is an interesting and informative place to visit. The museum itself has a quiet, intimate f... Read More
200 North Poplar, Goessel, KS
About Us: Mennonite Heritage Museum. Dedicated in 1974, the museum complex was established to preserve the artifacts from early households, farms... Read More
201 SouthEast 6th Street, Abilene, KS
412 South Campbell, Abilene, KS
The Heritage Center of Dickinson County is a unique collection of two in-door museums, that continues on out-the-back-door where you will find actu... Read More
200 Southeast Fourth Street, Abilene, KS
Library History : The basic function of the Library building is to provide a place for scholars to come to work in the rich historical materials h... Read More
1205 Manor Drive, Chapman, KS
The Kansas Auto Racing Museum is located at the base of the beautiful Flint Hills of Central Kansas and is Kansas’ newest tourist attraction.... Read More
27th and North Main, Bethel College, North Newton, KS
Kauffman Museum is named in memory of Charles Kauffman, founder and curator of the original Kauffman Museum. His work has been incorporated into th... Read More
1111 East Kansas Avenue, McPherson, KS
McPherson Museum and Arts Foundation offers many services to the public. The Museum houses a variety of artifacts: historical artifacts from the Mc... Read More
120 Mill Street, Lindsborg, KS
Standing tall on the banks of the Smoky Hill River, the McPherson County Old Mill Museum preserves the early heritage of McPherson County. The muse... Read More
212 South Main, Lindsborg, KS
The Raymer Society for the Arts, a not-for-profit (501(c)3) organization, shall preserve and promote the work and memory of Lester Raymer and provi... Read More
211 West Iron Avenue, Salina, KS
Mission:The Smoky Hill Store is operated by the Friends of the Smoky Hill Museum. The mission of the Smoky Hill Museum Store is to generate revenu... Read More
P.O. Box 1946, Salina, KS
Mission Statement: The Kansas Museums Association's purpose is to create, foster and promote interest in, advancement of, and appreciation for mu... Read More
530 North Adams, Junction City, KS
About Museum : The museum served as a high school from 1904 to 1929. From 1930 until the late 1960s the building housed all the sixth grades in th... Read More
1100 West Diamond Drive, Salina, KS
Mission Statement The Central Kansas Flywheels Yesteryear Museum is a rare window allowing us to glimpse into the past and marvel at the achievemen... Read More
500 North Mission Street, Council Grove, KS
Mission Kaw Mission tells the story about the place where 30 Kaw boys lived and attended school from 1851 to 1854. The Kaw (or Kansa) gave our sta... Read More
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