CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU
Great Bend ON A
Short Driving Tours From Great Bend, Kansas
Great Bend Visit the Wetlands...
Nest in Great Bend! • Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area • Quivira National Wildlife Refuge • Kansas Wetlands Education Center • Kansas Raptor Center • Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway
Where to nest in Great Bend America’s Best Value Inn 620-793-8486 Baltzell 620-792-4395 Best Western Angus Inn 620-792-3541 Comfort Inn 620-793-9000 Days Inn 620-792-8235 Highland Hotel & Convention Center 620-792-2431 Travelers Budget Inn 620-793-5448 Travelodge 620-792-7219 CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 3007 10th Street • Great Bend, Kansas 67530 PH. 620-792-2750
WELCOME to the Heartland of Kansas!
These tours are a project of the Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau. Contact the Bureau for more information, suggestions, and literature (available 24/7) at 3007 10th St.. Phone: 620-792-2750 www.visitgreatbend.com One of the interesting things highlighted on each tour is Cheyenne Bottoms, the Kansas Wetlands Education Center and the Basin Rim Overlook. All three rate a “must-see” for everyone who gets close to Great Bend. For thousands of years Cheyenne Bottoms has hosted migratory birds plus housing hundreds more year-round. Bird watchers declare Cheyenne Bottoms a frequent “pilgrimage” for serious “birders.” All four tours plus the Great Bend Tour (Brit Spaugh Zoo and the Central Kansas Raptor Rehab) have serious birding adventures. So dig out your binoculars. Historically, many things happened at Cheyenne Bottoms. Of course Native Americans chose this area because of its game. Many built permanent dwellings and became farmers. Coronado, who came in 2 • GREAT BEND Convention & Visitor’s Bureau www.visitgreatbend.com
1541, wrote that the area around Great Bend looked much like his Spain and could sustain life well. French trappers and other Europeans came to the area in the 1700s. Zebulon Pike came in 1806 and surveyors (See Tour 3, Larned) came. The Santa Fe Trail travelers during most of the 1800s fed on bison (buffalo) and even prairie dogs and restocked their larders here. During the Settlement Period, there were businessmen who built grandstands at the Bottoms for “coursing” (racing). There are photos of famous racing dogs at the Barton County Historical Society (Tour 4)) and other events at the Bottoms. At one time, speculators even began a canal connecting the Bottoms with the Arkansas River (Tour 4). During World War II when bomber pilots were training, they practiced hitting targets placed in the Bottoms. (See Basin Rim Overlook on tour one and the Great Bend Tour, B-29 for a bit more on that.) Geologically, Cheyenne Bottoms is a study also. See Basin Rim Overlook on each tour. Take time to experience Cheyenne Bottoms. Some day Kansas will be as well known for Cheyenne Bottoms as it is now for Dorothy and her red shoes. And, you
can say, “I was there!” Another thing highlighted on each tour is the Native American influence on that particular area. Look for the words Native American to read specifically about the Great Bend area Native American peoples—Kansas’ first residents.
What You’ll Find Inside... Tour One ............................4 Tour Two ............................7 Tour Three..........................9 Tour Four..........................12 Great Bend ......................15 Scenic Byway ..................22 GB Convention & Visitors Bureau P.O. Box 274 Great Bend, Kansas 67530 620-792-2750 firstname.lastname@example.org SPECIAL THANKS to the Kansas Sampler Foundation
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Fort Larned, Larned, Kansas
1 TOURS Tour WEST
east towards Great Bend a few miles to the Mennonite Church corner. Turn south to go into Pawnee Rock.
The first stop on Tour 1 is a one-of-a-kind farm. The directions are clocked from the Tenth Street and Patton Road intersection on the west edge of Great Bend. Travel west on Tenth Street for 13 miles (the last mile is dirt road). Turn south on a dirt road for ½ miles and look west to find the driveway, which is marked Heartland Farm. (The address is 1049 County Road 390, Pawnee Rock, but the road numbers are confusing since three county lines converge at the Farm.) Heartland Farm. Begun in 1987, Heartland Farm, an 80-acre homestead, is a ministerial project of the Dominican Sisters of Great Bend. Learn about small-scale sustainable organic agriculture, holistic health, alternative energy, and the integration of body, mind and spirit. There are two straw bale buildings on the farm, one of which is a hermitage and the other an art studio with pottery, and the spinning room. Enjoy the 13 alpacas that bring joy, as well as wool and organic compost. There is ample space for hiking, strolling, picnicking, making a retreat, meditating, or walking the labyrinth through the grasses. Please call ahead if you want to tour the buildings or visit the alpacas. 620-923-4585/620-786-0865. To reach our next stop, return to Tenth and go back
Pawnee Rock, Kansas. Keep looking right as you head south into Pawnee Rock for your first sight of the “citadel of the prairie” at Pawnee Rock. Many Santa Fe Trail diary keepers mentioned Pawnee Rock as it was about the Trail’s halfway mark. When you reach Pawnee Rock, head toward this historical landmark and monument which is on Erlich Highway. Drive up to the parking and climb the viewing platform, which is the height of the original Rock before the railroad borrowed from it to build track. Stand on the platform and watch other travelers on the Santa Fe Trail just as Native Americans did centuries ago. With wide
open country all around, this was one of the most dangerous spots on the Santa Fe Trail. When leaving the Historical Rock, go back to Erlich Highway and head south toward US-56. On your way, be sure to stop at some of the fine antique shops in Pawnee Rock. Take US-56 south to Larned. Larned, Kansas. Return to US-56/K-156 and continue southwest to Larned, a beautiful town filled with fine homes of diverse architecture, brick streets, and a thriving downtown including several antique shops. Obtain a brochure of a driving tour of historic Pawnee County homes dating from 18781912, at Larned Area Chamber of Commerce, downtown at 502 Broadway, 620-285-6916.
Native American. The Spaniards who came in 1541 with Coronado were forbidden to give their horses or weapons to the Native Americans in order to maintain their power over them. Over time, animals strayed and many were never recaptured. These horses of mixed Arabian and Andalusian breeds became the ancestors of many wild mustangs prized today by collectors and breeders. Pawnee Indians, for whom Pawnee Rock was named actually came out of Nebraska along the Platte River. The Pawnee were hated by other Indian tribes because of their unrelenting desire to have horses. The Pawnee raiding parties were made up of mostly young men who were called “prowling cowards.” Certainly they knew the Barton County—Great Bend—area well. Usually the armed braves set out on foot, going as far as the Gulf of Mexico to raid for horses. James R Mead, a white hunter and later founder of the city of Wichita, wrote of the Pawnee: “…while camped at the springs near the head of Cow Creek (due north of Cheyenne Bottoms near Beaver, Kansas) a band of thirty-five thieving Pawnees came along from the north on one of their frequent horse-stealing expeditions. They were skulking around in the brush near our camp, watching for a chance to steal our horses and possibly to get away with us if an opportunity presented itself. Knowing their intentions, as soon as it was dark we dispatched a messenger over to a Cheyenne camp about twenty miles distant. At daylight the next morning, the Cheyenne warriors surrounded the Pawnees and sent twelve of them to the happy hunting ground. The rest of them scattered out over the country…”
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Also downtown you’ll find the Central States Scout Museum at 815 Broadway. Open by appointment, 620-285-6427. Small donation. Santa Fe Trail Center. Just west of Larned on K156 is the Santa Fe Trail Center whose mission is to preserve and interpret the history of the geographic area once known as the Santa Fe Trail. The Trail Center is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The rest of the year the Center is closed on Mondays and major holidays. Nominal fee. 620-285-2054. www.santafetrailcenter.org Fort Larned, guardian of the Santa Fe Trail. Continue west on K-156 from the Trail Center four miles to the entrance of the Fort Larned Post-Rock Country. National Historic Notice the limestone fence posts. In the lateSite. Ten eighteenth and early sandstone nineteenth centuries, buildings line the limestone in sparsely quadrangle of this timbered north-central important old Kansas was quarried for west fort. The fenceposts as well as Visitor Center houses, businesses, contains a churches, schools, and museum, a bridges. theater, and a well-stocked bookstore. Free! Hours are daily 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. 620-285- 6911. Go back to K-56 and head west to US-183 and north to Rush Center.
As you travel this road, look for long lines of trees. These could indicate a water source or, more likely, they are hedgerows. Some of these were planted in Kansas as early as 1850 to protect crops from roaming cattle. Often the trees planted in the hedgerows are called hedge apple trees because of the “fruit” grown on the trees which looks like round green balls of brain cells. Piles of hedge apples are a sure sign of squirrels. Rush Center—a good place to eat. Also home of a rural telephone company that actually gives bonuses to its customers at year end. La Crosse, Kansas. You will enter from the south, so be ready to turn west just inside the city limits to enter the museum complex. The Post Rock Museum shows how early pioneers cut and shaped the native limestone into 300-pound fence posts, which still guard fields and grazing cattle throughout the area. La Crosse is the “Barbed Wire Capital of the World.” Visit the Native American. Barbed Wire Museum The signs for the (Rush County Historical museums are carved Museum) where you stone. Carved stone did will see 2200 pieces of not originate with the 18-inch wire, each with a European influx—Native Americans also carved patent. On the north edge of La Crosse, turn east on K-4 toward Hoisington.
Post rock fence, LaCrosse, Kansas
sandstone. Figures such as cows and horses are believed to be “recent” carvings—after Coronado came in 1541. These signs are called petro-glyphs.
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Otis. It just might be time to stop and eat. Try Evy’s Kitchen, 213 S. Main, where the food is fresh from scratch and the building is old—late 1800s. The Peter Brack memorial band shell in the park on Main honors a Russian immigrant to Rush County. If you like bridges, there is a triple arch bridge 11 miles north of Otis. It is called the Rush County Line Bridge and was built as a WPA project in 1936.
northwest portion of Cheyenne Bottoms. The Conservancy's wetlands management philosophy calls for restoration of the wetland hydrology and native grasslands to their original state for the benefit of the wildlife. Wildlife and Parks and the Conservancy work closely together at Cheyenne Bottoms. The different management techniques are complementary.
Continue east on K-4. At US-281, you will pick up the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway through Hoisington (See Tour 2.). East of Hoisington, begin to look for the small town of Redwing. You are near the next stop. On the south, you will see Cheyenne Bottoms and the Basin Rim Overlook. Also, watch for the entrance to The Nature Conservancy Preserve at Cheyenne Bottoms.
The largest marsh in the interior of the U.S., Cheyenne Bottoms has been officially designated a Wetland of International Importance. The area is considered the most important shorebird migration point in the western hemisphere. Free.
Basin Rim Overlook. Looking south, you will see a land of international geologic significance— Cheyenne Bottoms. Rimmed by 100-foot high dinosaur-age bedrock on three sides, and by 35-foot sand dunes and alluvium on the east and southeast, the basin floor lays relatively flat and featureless. It covers about 64 square miles and is elliptically shaped. Historically, you are standing where the World War II spotters watched their bomber pilots and crews with field glasses to see if they hit the targets placed for them at various places in the Bottoms. (Tour 4 takes in the Barton County Historical Museum, which has information on World War II.) The Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy owns and manages 7,300 acres in the
To continue this tour, you will want to go into the Bottoms, so get on the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway and travel south. You’ll pass by the Camp Aldrich sand road on the west side of the highway. This 290-acres of sandhills and woods is an excellent facility available for camps, seminars, family reunions, and corporate retreats. After Camp Aldrich, connect again with the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway south. At the next two stops, you will continue to learn why this important Byway is so appropriately named. You are now crossing the eastern edge of Scenic Cheyenne Bottoms. Look east to find a beautiful curve building—our next stop. Kansas Wetlands Educational Center. The Kansas Wetlands Educational Center at Cheyenne Bottoms opened in Spring, 2009, and interprets the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Park’s Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, The Nature
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Conservancy’s Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve, and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge (See Tour 4). The Center has a rooftop star-gazing deck and remote cameras for real-time wildlife viewing from within the building. Nature trails and observation decks provide bird and wildlife viewing opportunities. Cheyenne Bottoms is a 41,000-acre wetlands. You can enter the wetlands directly across from the Center . Cheyenne Bottoms is a “refueler” for the human species as well as 320 bird species. The Refuge is a feeding stopover for bird species traveling the Central Flyway crossing North and South America. About 45 percent of the North American shorebird population stops at the Bottoms during spring migration. The area is a critical habitat for several threatened and endangered species, such as whooping cranes, peregrine falcons (See the Great Bend Tour, Great Bend Zoo, Kansas Raptor Center for a note on this species.) least terns, and piping plovers. Check at the Center for up-to-date sightings and conditions. Continue South on US 156 or US 281 highway into Great Bend.
“All wildlife watchers should make an annual pilgrimage to Cheyenne Bottoms…" say Bob Gress and George Potts, authors of Watching Kansas Wildlife.
Tour 2 TOURS NORTH TANKFUL
This tour is one of four that leaves from Great Bend, Kansas going into the surrounding areas. Just before you enter Hoisington, you will cross Blood Creek, which forms the valley south and east—where Cheyenne Bottoms is located. There is a Native American story about Blood Creek. Hoisington, Kansas. Visitors can still enjoy the Depression era murals in the Post Office at 119 E. 2nd, open business hours, and the Stained-glass windows in St John’s Catholic Church, 5th &Main. Please study the huge locomotive mural on the east side of Main Street called the “Prairie Wave Maker” which depicts Hoisington’s railroad history as it crosses Cheyenne Bottoms. Be sure to pick up a brochure on the 62 handcrafted metal art banners on the poles along Main Street. Hoisington Activity Center is open to walkers for free and other uses have a nominal fee. 620-653-4311. Russell, Kansas. North on US-281 Visit the Fossil Station Museum, housed in the 1907 county jail at 331 N. Kansas to pick up brochures of the walking and driving tours. Bob Dole (former Kansas Senator and presidential candidate) grew up in Russell and you can drive by his boyhood home at 1035 N. Maple. The Deines Cultural Center, 820 N. Main, displays local and national artists. The Post Office, open business hours, houses a 1934 WPA wheat workers mural. 620-483-6960
Waldo/Luray. From Russell, take US281 north 27 miles and east through Waldo. Begin here to look for birdhouses placed along the road— especially along the backroads—all the way to Luray. When US-281 turns north continue on K-18 to Luray.
Downtown, Luray’s history has been preserved in an interactive way. The former lumberyard now houses the Yellow Dog Saloon and the Mitchell Drug Store. Both are attractions for the whole family and the building accommodates group events.. Continue this tour east on K-18 to Lucas, about ten miles. Lucas, Kansas. To go to the Garden of Eden, located at Kansas and Second Street. Prepare to be amazed by grassroots art. For more amazing self-taught visionary grassroots art, visit the Grassroots Art Center on Main Street in Lucas. At Lucas you pick up the Post Rock Scenic Byway, K-232, which takes you south to Lake Wilson. A wonderful side trip, especially for Native American and Post-rock studies (see Tour 3, Lacrosse) is straight east on K-18 to Lincoln. 785-525-6388 Lake Wilson. Connect with K-232, Post Rock Scenic Byway on the east edge of Wilson and go north. Immediately after you cross I-70, watch for Kansas Originals Market. The Market is a visitor information center and features all types of Kansas products for sale. 785-658-2465 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks operate Wilson Lake (The Clearest Lake in Kansas) a 9,000-acre
man-made lake. Set amongst the Smoky Hills, which is a rolling landscape of hills, buttes and hazy valleys, grand in scale, yet possessing a delicate and subtle beauty. Besides its great scenic beauty, the lake and its surroundings attract boaters, sunbathers, swimmers, campers, fossil hunters, hikers, hang gliders, and picnickers. The lake is accessible from many points and a drive over the dam or the bridge is always a scenic thrill. Wilson, Kansas is next on this tour. Take the Post Rock Scenic Byway, K-232, south from Lake Wilson to “The Czech Capital of Kansas.” Twentytwo Victorian stone buildings border Wilson’s main Streets, including the restored Opera House and House of Memories Museum, 415 27th Street. Check out the bakery, “Sincerely Yours” which sells kolaches (a Czech pastry) coffee. 785-658-2211. From Wilson, head east on K-140 to Ellsworth. Ellsworth, Kansas. Visit the Hodgden House Museum Complex on Old South Main with its 1878 home, livery stable, one room schoolhouse, train depot, caboose, log cabin, windmill, general store, farm exhibits and pictures of the old Fort Ellsworth/Fort Harker dugouts. 785-472-4071. From Ellsworth , head south on K-156 to the Kansas Wetlands Education Center at Cheyenne Bottoms. Kansas Wetlands Educational Center. The Kansas Wetlands Educational Center at Cheyenne Bottoms opened in Spring, 2009, and interprets the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Park’s Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, The Nature Conservancy’s adjacent Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve, and nearby Quivira National Wildlife Refuge (See Tour 4). The Center has a rooftop star-
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Activity Center, Hoisington, Kansas
gazing deck and remote cameras for real-time wildlife viewing from within the building. Nature trails and observation decks provide bird and wildlife viewing opportunities.
Cheyenne Bottoms, Great Bend, Kansas
Cheyenne Bottoms is a 41,000-acre wetlands. If the Kansas Wetlands Educational Center is closed, enter the wetlands directly across from the Center. Cheyenne Bottoms is a “refueler” for the human species as well as 320 bird species.The Refuge is a feeding stopover for bird species traveling the Central Flyway crossing North and South America. About 45 percent of the North American shorebird population stops at the Bottoms during spring migration. The area is a critical habitat for several threatened and endangered species, such as whooping cranes, peregrine falcons (See the Great Bend Tour, Great Bend Zoo, Kansas Raptor Center for a note on this species.) least terns, and piping plovers. Check at the Center for up-to-date sightings and conditions . The Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy owns and manages 7,300 acres in the northwest portion of Cheyenne Bottoms. The Conservancy's wetlands management philosophy calls for restoration of the wetland hydrology and native grasslands to their original state for the benefit of the wildlife. Wildlife and Parks and the Conservancy work closely together at Cheyenne Bottoms. The different management techniques are complementary. The largest marsh in the interior of the U.S., Cheyenne Bottoms has been officially designated a Wetland of International Importance. The area is considered the most important shorebird migration point in the Western Hemisphere.
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Return to the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway , K-156, and continue south to the marked county road NW30 and turn west to Barton Community College for a visit to the Shafer Memorial Art Gallery. Shafer Gallery/Barton Community College. Shafer Gallery features extremely detailed Western bronzes, travelling exhibits and beautifully restored stained glass windows in a separate chapel setting. Open 10am-5pm Mon-Fri and Sun 1-4pm. Call for special hours or to arrange for a tour 620-793-9342. Free. Continue west to US-281 and south into Great Bend.
Native Americans. Cheyenne Bottoms is named after the Cheyenne tribe, whose warriors fought to keep the area as their hunting grounds. A particularly bloody battle in 1825 left a stream running into the Bottoms red with blood, hence the current name...Blood Creek.
Chase. A Cal-Maine Foods egg processing facility is just northwest of town. They gather a million and a half eggs daily. Tours are no longer available, but check the egg cartons at the grocery store. You will doubtless find some eggs from this facility.
3 TOURS Tour EAST
TOUR 3—EAST goes out of Great Bend on US56 east toward Ellinwood—10 miles away. Ellinwood, Kansas. You will enjoy buildings of the late 19th century that are on the National Historic Record. At either the Hotel Wolf or the Ellinwood Museum, pick up a driving tour map of Ellinwood and enjoy seeing how early residents of Ellinwood lived. There is an interesting one-hour Ellinwood Underground World tour. Ellinwood has boasted many fine railroad depots in its day. One is currently used as the American Legion on the south side of US156. 620-564-3161 Orphan Train. Trains brought some special residents to Ellinwood, some of which are still living there. Between 1854 and 1929, an estimated 200,000 orphaned and abandoned children were placed out in what today is known as the Orphan Train Era. The first Kansas-bound orphan train arrived in the state in 1867 and the last in 1930, the same year the Orphan Train movement officially ceased operations. During that time, it is estimated that between 5,000 and 6,000 children were “placed out” in Kansas homes. Return to US-56 and continue east to Chase.
Lyons, Kansas. Downtown Lyons, founded in 1871, features the beautiful Rice County Romanesque Revival Style courthouse with native limestone dated 1910-11. Visitors also note the Salt Mine Car in front of the courthouse. The salt mine in Lyons opened in 1917. Lyons Salt Company owns this mine. With other mines, Kansas produces more than three million tons of rock salt per year. 620-257-5166 Out of Lyons, head north on K-14 Geneseo began with the homesteading movement of the 1870's. It overlooks the Little Arkansas River valley to the south, while not far to the north the water flows to the Thompson Creek and into the Smoky Hill River. The high ridge, geologically, is known as the Geneseo Uplift. The name was taken from Geneseo, New York, a name of (Native American) Iroquoian origin, meaning "shining valley" and
Native American. The Kansa (People of the South Wind) or Kaw Trail which started near Council Grove, KS ended on Cow Creek about three miles southeast of Lyons. The Kaw would travel west along the Kaw Trail to their hunting grounds in the fall and spring. The Kaw hunting camp near Lyons was locally known as Camp Stahl. This was the heart of buffalo country since the Cow Creek valley sits right on the north-south buffalo migration route. Rice County was the center of the Quivira Indian culture, which was well established in the area long before Coronado arrived. Thousands of arrowheads have been found on top of the ground in the Saxman and Little River areas. Many of these are on display in the Coronado-Quivira Museum, one block south from the southeast corner of the Lyons town square. Look for a bronze sculpture of an adult reading with a child on the corner at 105 W. Lyon (Open 9am-5pm Mon-Sat, 1pm-5pm Sun. Closed holidays. Admission fee is nominal. 620-257-3941. The museum displays original Coronado artifacts, information about the Quivira Indians who met the conquistadors, and also covers early pioneer settlement of the area. Some beautifully preserved Tohono O’Odam (Papago) Indian baskets are also on exhibit. Wall murals depict the Coronado/Quivira meeting. Periodically the museum sponsors all-day fossil Safaris into Coronado Country. Call the museum for information.
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Underground tour, Ellinwood, Kansas
Cheyenne Bottoms, Great Bend, KS
Geneseo, Kansas does overlook the shining valley of the Little Arkansas River.
Mushroom State Park
Quivira Indian Home, Lyons
Kanopolis Reservoir. There are two federal parks here and two state parks. The federal parks, Venango on the north side of the lake and Riverside below the dam on the east, cover 20,000 acres and are free to the public without a permit, unless you’re camping or using the beach. Also in the Riverside Park, just before crossing the Native American. dam, on the east side is the US Army One phenomenal, free, historic drive is the Legacy Trail. Corps Headquarters; you can pick up Pick up a brochure designating this 75-mile tour of the area brochures there (785-546-2294). at the U.S. Army Corps Headquarters or the Horsethief Mushroom State Park is our next Area station at Kanopolis Reservoir. History will come alive stop. Don’t visualize little toadstool as you visit various points of interest such as the Faris mushrooms. Visualize gigantic Caves where there are some very light Native American mushroom-shaped rock formations, pictographs. some as high as 12-feet or more. To reach Mushroom State Park, return to Approximately 30,000 Indians lived in this area years ago. the Prairie Trail Scenic Byway, Hwy Prehistoric culture is evident just a few miles southeast of K-141, and travel north eight miles. At Geneseo. History books tell of a 150-foot long intaglio (a the Mushroom State Park sign, turn design engraved into hard material just below the surface) west on a sand road and travel two resembling a serpent which was dug into the earth by the miles. There is a picnic area, a short Quivira Indians. There are unique “council circles” in this trail and lots of rocks—big rocks—to area, which range from 60-90 or even 200 feet in diameter. climb on. This is a great stop for the The Tobias circle has been excavated. These are circular children. or elipitical shaped and their reliefs are not over three feet Kanopolis, Kansas. Leave Mushroom high. They are dated from A.D.1500-1700 (Coronado to State Park via Hwy K-140 and travel French Trappers periods). When standing at a certain west to K-111 and south to the town place observers have noted that the circle locations seem Kanopolis, site of Fort Harker, (Native to be designated by how the serpent-like intaglio “points” to American) an important Indian Wars a circle then that circle “points” to the next one, etc. Near post. There are sandstone officers’ the Tobias council circle are the Peverley Petro-glyphs. quarters and junior officers’ quarters Tours to these areas may be arranged through the that remain in the town; the old fort’s Coronado/Quivira Museum in Lyons (pg. 9). guardhouse is a museum. Return to 156
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Highway heading south toward the Kansas Wetlands Education Center and Great Bend.
Bird Watching Festival
Kansas Wetlands Educational Center. The Kansas Wetlands Educational Center at Cheyenne Bottoms, opened in Spring 2009, and interprets the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Park’s Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, The Nature Conservancy’s Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve, and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge (See Tour 4). The Center has a rooftop stargazing deck and remote cameras for real-time wildlife viewing from within the building. Nature trails and observation decks provide bird and wildlife viewing opportunities. Cheyenne Bottoms is a 41,000-acre wetlands. If the Kansas Wetlands Educational Center is closed, enter the wetlands directly across from the Center . Cheyenne Bottoms is a “refueler” for the human species as well as 320 bird species.
After Harvest Festival, Ellinwood, Kansas
The Refuge is a feeding stopover for bird species traveling the Central Flyway crossing North and South America. About 45 percent of the North American shorebird population stops at the Bottoms during spring migration. The area is a critical habitat for several threatened and endangered species, such as whooping cranes, peregrine falcons (See the Great Bend Tour, Great Bend Zoo, Kansas Raptor Center for a note on this species.) least terns, and piping plovers. Check at the Center for up-to-date sightings and conditions .
wetland hydrology and native grasslands to their original state for the benefit of the wildlife. Wildlife and Parks and the Conservancy work closely together at Cheyenne Bottoms. The different management techniques are complementary. The largest marsh in the interior of the U.S., Cheyenne Bottoms has been officially designated a Wetland of International Importance. The area is considered the most important shorebird migration point in the Western hemisphere. Return to the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway , K-156, and continue south to the marked county road NW30 and turn west to Barton Community College for a visit to the Shafer Memorial Art Gallery. Return to Great Bend by driving south on the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway— follow the signs from the Wetlands Education Center—to US-56 and west into Great Bend.
The Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy owns and manages 7,300 acres in the northwest portion of Cheyenne Bottoms. The Conservancy's wetlands management philosophy calls for restoration of the GREAT BEND Convention & Visitor’s Bureau www.visitgreatbend.com • 11
Fountain - St John, Kansas
Tour 4 TOURS SOUTH
TOUR 4 south starts at the Arkansas River Bridge on south Main Street (US-281). Arkansas River. Arkansas is pronounced “R-Kansas”. Park your vehicle just southwest of the bridge and stand at the river to survey the area and to get a feel for early history because the Arkansas River figured heavily in Native American culture. If you walk on the Hike/Bike trail on the north side of the River, you can more easily picture Native American life here. This total trail is seven miles long and actually begins at The Front Door, 1615 Tenth, in east Great Bend, but we will pick it up at the river. Great Bend, in the Arkansas River Lowlands, elevation 1,849’, was called “Big Bend” by many Native Americans. One look at a map and one can see why the Comanche Indians called the river “Flint Arrowpoint.” The 1,450-mile Arkansas River turns back south and east at Great Bend finally emptying into the Mississippi River. Extensive lands of sand lying south of the river comprise the area known as the Great Bend Prairie. According to research done at the Kansas State Historical Society, there were a number of Native American tribes in this region of the “big bend”: Wichita (called Quivira by Coronado in 1541), Pawnee, Comanche, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Apache, Osage, Kiowa, Sioux, Kansa and many more. They
were drawn to the area for the food basket they found here. Fresh water, fish, small game, large herds of bison and a marshland rich in wildlife were some of the attraction, plus with the influx of Europeans, there was plenty of trade.
The Wichita Indians were middlemen as well as businessmen. French traders, in 1719, had a booming business with Plains Tribes further west who brought buffalo robes and other furs to trade for crops and French tools, acting through the Witchitas. These Native American goods were carried downstream to the Mississippi River on flatboats and canoe-like boats where they were taken to the Gulf of Mexico and shipped to Europe. The Wichitas evidently saturated the market, as many archeological digs all over Kansas turned up Wichita artifacts. There were at least seven different Native American people groups in this area. You can see paintings of Tribal Chiefs in the Schultz Reading Room at the next stop—Barton County Historical Museum & Village. Barton County Historical Museum & Village. The village includes a train depot, a post office, a one-room schoolhouse, a country church, a blacksmith shop, and a pioneer home, which was moved from just northeast of the Walnut Creek Bridge on the Barton Community College—Tour 2—road. This is a wonderful museum complex. The museum has many collections: dolls, farm machinery and implements, War memorabilia, B-29 Airplane memorabilia, etc. A telephone switchboard and an iron lung along with many other exhibits and displays, many arranged in “room” settings, make this a fascinating visit. The Museum Gift Shop is a
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Soldiers Memorial, Great Bend
WPA Project Stature of Liberty - St. John, Kansas
Santa Fe Depot - Stafford, Kansas
great place to shop for local history books, Santa Fe Trail items and Kansas arts and crafts. The museum is open from Mid-April through Mid-November, Tuesday through Sunday, 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Tours are available and weddings are welcomed at the 1868 church by special arrangement. Catered meals are available for groups; pre-arrange for these: 620793-5125. Travel south on US-281 toward Stafford County and its cities. A few miles south of Great Bend, you African American Cemetary
Native American. Ancestors of the Wichita/Quivira arrived in present Barton County probably via a land bridge connecting Alaska and Russia, and were here to meet Spanish Explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and his conquistadors in summer, 1541 at the big bend. The Spanish called the Wichita/Quiviras “picts” from the French word pique, meaning punctured or pricked because they tattooed their faces and bodies. Is it possible that the Spanish also used a French term to call the Native American Wichita Tribe Quivira? Consider the French term for “whose side are you on?” It is “qui vive”? Some believe this is the root for Quivira. Wichitas considered their tribal name to mean “man” but the Indian word is closely related to the Choctaw word meaning “big arbor.” This perfectly describes the distinctive Wichita/Quivira type dwellings, which were tall domeshaped huts with thatch-like roofs.
enter Stafford County. The county is entirely in the Great Bend Prairie—the land inside the big bend. Stafford County. The county is almost without either streams or creeks, the only one of any importance within its borders being Rattlesnake Creek, which runs diagonally across the county from the southwest to the northeast.
Now as you travel through Stafford County, look for irrigation called Center Pivot Irrigation. Flood irrigation used to be the most common method of irrigation in Kansas, but now much of the State’s irrigated acreage is watered by center pivot systems. A poet once called the center pivot irrigation systems the “Dinosaurs of the Plains.” By now you will be approaching St. John the county seat of Stafford County. St. John, Kansas. Downtown St. John, to the west of US-281, is charming with businesses and two museums surrounding the square. The history museum is housed in a 1910 Tudor building, 302 N. Main. For information, call the City Office: 620-549-3208.The St. John Science Museum, Inc. is on the west side of the square.
From Saint John, drive south to US-50 and west 1 ½ miles west on the north side of US-50 for the African American Cemetery. African American Cemetery. The first settlers to homestead in the Stafford County area were African-American and Mormon. African-Americans homesteaded on several different sections of the township. The highest number of African-Americans living in Stafford County has been estimated to be 400-425 in the year 1914. They established the Martin Black cemetery named for a family of settlers in the area named Martin. This cemetery is on US-50, 1½-miles west of US-281. The African-American people became members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Baptist Church located in St. John. African-Americans who lived in town had founded these churches. Back on US-50 turn east to Stafford. Stafford, Kansas. Ready for a cup of coffee and a piece of pie? Stop by the Curtis Café and enjoy a good lunch or great snack. You’ll be amazed by the
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Downtown, Hudson Kansas
and is primarily managed to provide food and protection for migratory waterfowl. This natural area has become a “birder’s paradise.” 620-486-2393 Dozier Winery. When leaving Quivira NationalWildlife Refuge, head north on the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway. In about ten miles, begin to look for signs for Dozier’s Vineyard and Winery where you can observe wine being made in a 1910 Santa Fe Depot. You can visit free (Open daily 1:00-6:00pm. 620-564-0195. collection of over 300 jigsaw puzzles decorating the walls. Breakfast and lunch are the meals. 620-2345644. You can also visit the Stafford County Museum on the corner of Broadway and Main. 620-234-5664 Drive north on 39 Road for approximately ten miles and three miles west to Hudson. Hudson. The first obvious business is the Stafford County Flour Mill. The Mill turns out some of the best flour in the United States –Hudson Cream Flour – prized for its extremely fine texture. Buy a bag of flour at Dillon’s Food Store or Walmart in Great Bend. 620-458-4121. From Hudson, go east on County Road 635 right into Quivira National Wildlife Refuge which used to be Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge is a 22,135-acre Wetland of International Importance and a beautiful place for wildlife watching and hiking. From the scenic byway, follow the signs to the Visitors Center. The Visitors Center has interactive exhibits, and a room-sized diorama showing Refuge habitat. You can pick up brochures, maps, bird lists and hunting and fishing regulations here. Quivira was named after the Quiviran Indians
Return to the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway and follow it north to the Kansas Wetlands Educational Center and Cheyenne Bottoms.
threatened and endangered species, such as whooping cranes, peregrine falcons (See the Great Bend Tour, Great Bend Zoo, Kansas Raptor Center for a note on this species.), least terns, and piping plovers. Check at the Center for up-to-date sightings and conditions . The Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy owns and manages 7,300 acres in the northwest portion of Cheyenne Bottoms. The Conservancy's wetlands management philosophy calls for restoration of the wetland hydrology and native grasslands to their original state for the benefit of the wildlife. Wildlife and Parks and the Conservancy work closely together at Cheyenne Bottoms. The different management techniques are complementary.
Kansas Wetlands Educational Center. The Kansas Wetlands Educational Center at Cheyenne Bottoms, opened in Spring 2009, interprets the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Park’s Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, The Nature Conservancy’s Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve, and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge (See Tour 4). The Center has a rooftop stargazing deck and remote cameras for real-time wildlife viewing from within the building. Nature trails and observation decks provide bird and wildlife viewing opportunities.
The largest marsh in the interior of the U.S., Cheyenne Bottoms has been officially designated a Wetland of International Importance. The area is considered the most important shorebird migration point in the Western hemisphere.
Cheyenne Bottoms is a 41,000-acre wetlands. If the Kansas Wetlands Educational Center is closed, enter the wetlands directly across from the Center . Cheyenne Bottoms is a “refueler” for the human species as well as 320 bird species. The Refuge is a feeding stopover for bird species traveling the Central Flyway crossing North and South America. About 45 percent of the North American shorebird population stops at the Bottoms during spring migration. The area is a critical habitat for several
Continue west to meet up with US-281 and then south into Great Bend.
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Return to the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway , K-156, and continue south to the marked county road NW30 and turn west to Barton Community College for a visit to the Shafer Memorial Art Gallery.
Great Bend Art. Start you tour of downtown Great Bend with a stop the Barton County Arts Council Gallery across Main Street to the west of Jack Kilby Square. They have a selection of walking/driving tour information available. Art of all varieties is displayed with featured artists changing frequently. Some art is for sale; every piece is unique. The Arts Council has many other activities. Call 620-792-4221 for a calendar of events. Gallery is open Mon-Fri, 1-5:30pm.
Great Bend, Kansas. Start at the Great Bend Convention & Visitors Bureau, 3007 Tenth. Pick up brochures in the entryway, open 24/7, or go on inside during business hours, 9-12 and 1-5 Mon-Fri, to obtain live information (and a restroom), or call 620-792-2750. To begin to see Great Bend, go east on Tenth Street (US-56/K-156) and north on US-281 (Main Street) into downtown Great Bend. Just after you turn onto Main Street notice the mural on your left. This multi-cultural mural represents the diversity of peoples who have contributed to the Great Bend area. (More Mural Art is mentioned further on.) The beautiful white Barton County Courthouse is our next stop. It will be on your right. Find a parking place, you will want time to read and to walk the square. Oil & Gas Museum & Hall of Fame
Kansas Quilt Walk. At each corner of Jack Kilby Square, take a note of the quilt patterns made of granite and marble embedded in the sidewalks. Quilt patterns were chosen because of their ties to Kansas and have names like Rocky Road to Kansas, Windmill, and Kansas Troubles. Request a brochure with details about the patterns and a self-guided tour. 620-792-2750. Now head north on Main Street (U.S. 281 Highway) to discover the delights of the Great Bend Zoo and Kansas Raptor Center.
Cinco de Mayo Celebration
Art Deco Crest Theatre
Kansas Raptor Center and Great Bend Zoo. Drive north on Main Street, US-281, to find this 40acre park. Look for the locomotive on the west side. This is Brit Spaugh Park. You’ll find playgrounds, a water park, shelter houses, picnic spots, a skateboard park, and plenty of ball fields. You’ll also find the zoo and Raptor Center. Great Bend Zoo (always free admission) was founded in 1962 by Brit Spaugh a local naturalist whose interest in North American animals laid the foundation for the present zoo. Recent zoo renovations have yielded a South American Exhibit housing a troupe of spider monkeys, capybaras—the world’s largest rodents—and a jaguar. Jaguars don’t work and play well together so will live alone at the zoo. Visitors will be able to visit the African, Asian, Australian and North American Exhibits as well. The zoo has multiple reptiles including over ten American crocodiles that are moved to the airport during the winter so they can live inside. (Can you visualize this twice-a-year chore?) The Aquarium Exhibit has a Nemo (clown fish) tank with all his friends. In another tank there is a piranha. There are both salt and fresh water exhibits as well as an B-29 Memorial
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Kansas Wetlands Education Center
Mural project, Great Bend, Kansas
Barton County Courthouse, Great Bend, Kansas
Barton County Historical Museum
Great Bend Historic
TOURS DOWNTOWN TANKFUL
In 1821, Missouri trader William Becknell reached Santa Fe with a mule train of trade goods, successfully launching what would become known as the Santa Fe Trail. By 1825, it was evident that this would become a major trade route to the southwest and Congress ordered Major George C. Sibley to survey the route from Missouri to Santa Fe. Proceeding westward along the north side of the Arkansas River, the Trail cut through the heart of what is now Great Bend.
Civilization Arrives. By 1876, brick and stone buildings had begun to replace the wooden structures that had sprung up seemingly overnight to provide goods and services to cow punchers, farmers and town folk alike. Then, as now, the preferred locations were along the two blocks west of the courthouse square. Through the almost 140 years of its development, Great Bend has grown to boast an Eclectic mix of architectural styles. Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco structures rub shoulders with others influenced by Federal, Modern Eclectic and NeoClassic styles. While many buildings downtown still boast their original historic details, others have been covered by metal and wooden facades. Nonetheless, each historic building in Downtown Great Bend has a story to tell about its contribution to the development of the city. We will start our tour in the heart of Downtown Great Bend.
Great Bend’s Heart Great Bend was incorporated in 1872 and the original town plat centered on two square blocks which would become home to the Barton County Courthouse and the epicenter of the town’s life. When the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad reached the Bend in 1872, not only did it bring new settlers, it brought the cattle trade. For a few brief but lively years Great Bend was one of the major shipping points for cattle brought up from Texas on the Chisholm Trail and
1400 Main Street In 1872, a special election was held proposing to issue $25,000 in county bonds for erection of a courthouse and jail in the new county seat at Great Bend. Six offices were located on the first or ground floor and the second floor contained the courtroom, jury room and other court offices. By June of 1877, the cupola or clock tower, which had graced the building, was removed. It was reportedly swaying in the brisk Kansas breezes and officials feared the strain would
HISTORIC DOWNTOWN WALKING TOUR
educational Barrier Reef Exhibit and a “touch tank” with starfish, crabs, snails, etc. Zoo residents include a rare white Bengal tiger, a pride of lions, a North American exhibit complete with wolves, grizzlies, black bears and an eagle and much more in a quiet shady setting. You can also participate in a Great Bend tradition at the park if you bring some bread to feed the fish, swans, geese and ducks that make their home at the zoo. (If you’re wearing sandals, keep your feet well back from the water.) Perfect for an inexpensive afternoon of entertainment and education. 620-793-4226. Kansas Raptor Center will open in 2009. This center will feature raptor rehabilitation, medical treatment, convalescence and preparation for returning to the wild. Some problems the birds have encountered are highline wire injuries, gunshot wounds, poisonings, bacterial infections, and mammal-trap injuries. Healed birds are banded and some are radio-tagged. Birds that have been helped in raptor projects have been tracked after release and many are doing well up to 7 ½ years later. One
encouraging report is the four endangered Peregrines who were released and have since had at least two clutches of offspring. Great Bend is well situated for reclaiming raptors because of the vast number of birds attracted to the area.
Downtown Great Bend Christmas Lights
Wings of Wonder is a bird show at the zoo that includes raptors. Donations from this show are used to fund raptor rehab. For show times, call 620-793-4226. Zoo is open 9am-4:30pm daily and is free. Great Bend Mural Project. Now we are talking big art! Hop in your car and take a tour of the many colorful murals on walls scattered throughout the core of the city. Artists, school children, and volunteers began this project to paint murals that highlight Great Bend history and culture on the walls of its businesses. The Post Office at 16th and Williams boasts Clara Barton, civil war nurse and Red Cross Founder (and Barton County namesake— the only county of the 105 in Kansas named for a woman). Across the street east from there is the Barton County Fair mural. Go east on 16th, toward Main, to see the Migration mural at 16th and Main. A joyous multicultural community dance, which fits the multicultural settlement of Great Bend is on the first building north of Tenth Street on the west side. Call for a detailed brochure locating the murals and telling their stories. 620-792-2750. Note: there are murals on Tours 1, 2 and 3.
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Barton County Junior College-Shafer Art Gallery
its branches. These rowdy cow town days brought both danger and prosperity.
Great Bend Past Located near the geographic center of Kansas, what is now Great Bend straddles the big or “great bend” of the Arkansas River, where this famous stream juts northward into the heart of the state.
eventually damage the entire structure. In those early days, the courthouse was the center of the community, serving as town hall, church building, dance hall, lodge room and opera house. By 1917, it had become obvious that the original courthouse could no longer adequately serve the needs of the county. The Hutchinson, Kansas, architectural firm of W.E. Hulse & Co. designed the new building and the Manhattan Construction Co., Muskogee Oklahoma, contracted to do the construction. Work on the new building in a style called “Modern (Classical) Eclecticism” began in November 1917 and the cornerstone was laid March 28, 1918. According to the Barton County Democrat of that date, “The building when completed will be approximately 125 x 101 feet in size and 57 feet high, and will be not only one of the finest but also one of the largest county buildings in the state. It will be four stories in height, built of reinforced concrete, brick, steel and stone, and will be of absolutely fireproof construction throughout. The total cost will be in the neighborhood of a quarter of a million dollars.” The ground (now called the first) floor was designed to house the boiler and fuel rooms, a ladies’ rest room, a public meeting room and the
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office of the County Farm Advisor. The first (now the second) floor was to house the offices of the county treasurer, clerk, register of deeds, probate judge, commissioners and public construction. On the second (now the third) floor was the courtroom, jury rooms, witnesses’ rooms and offices for the sheriff, court clerk, county attorney and court stenographer. Up on the third (now fourth) floor were jury dormitories and two other large rooms. Stone steps led from street level to the main entrances on the first (now second) floor on both the east and west sides of the building, In 1952, in great need of repair which would have cost $19,000, the county commissioners ordered the steps eliminated and replaced with the present ground floor entrances. This resulted in the addition of two more rooms to the building and, at the same time, an elevator was added to make the upper floors more accessible. Other upgrades and renovations have been made to the building through the years. The courthouse is surrounded by a large park, which is augmented on the south by the Moses Memorial Band Shell, where the City Band plays to large crowds on summer evenings and other events are regularly held. To the north, the statue of a Civil War soldier stands, ever vigilant, in memory of the members of the Grand Army of
the Republic, Union Army veterans who were among the earliest founders and settlers of the city.
Forest & Main Street
Moses Brothers building
1401 MAIN STREET This building, at the corner of Forest & Main, is the oldest surviving stone and brick building in Great Bend. Construction began in 1875 and in 1876 owner A.S. Allen moved his business, begun in 1872, into the new store. It has been extended to the west twice. In 1904, the building was sold to Citizens National Bank, which refaced the building and altered the façade and interior elements. Another new look came when the site was purchased by Farmers (later First) National Bank in the 1920s. This Federal façade is the one that remains. Since the bank moved to a new building at Lakin & Kansas in the 1950s, the storefront has housed three shoe stores and is now home to the Barton County Arts Council. 1403 MAIN STREET In conjunction with the Moses brothers’ building to its north, this building was constructed in 1878 by J.H. and Josephine Hubbard to house Mr. Hubbard’s dry goods store, which they then leased to Brucks and Company. It is notable that this site was the location of J.S. Dillons and Sons'
second grocery store in the state. Besides groceries, it was a retail clothing location for many years and had office space upstairs. It is currently occupied by Dance by Design. 1405 MAIN STREET Consisting of two buildings, built at separate dates and adapted to fit together, the south half dates from 1878, when George N. and Edward R. Moses erected a two-story stone building to house their mercantile store, where customers could purchase almost anything they might need, from the cradle to the grave (literally, signs pointed out that furniture and undertaking were upstairs). In 1881, William Dunaway filled the north part of the property with another two-story stone building. By 1886, the Moses brothers expanded their rapidly growing business by purchasing Dunaway’s interests. The second story, known as the Union Hall, was used for dances, performances and large events. Sometime around World War I, the two buildings were architecturally unified with a common brick façade. Following the Moses brothers operation, it was occupied by Funk & Jamison Furniture and Mortuary, Woolworth’s, a fabric center and is presently Cornerstone Interiors.
1409 MAIN STREET After a fire destroyed the original wood-frame harness shop operated by the Hiss family in 1928, this single story brick building was constructed. It has been rented out as a retail location since and housed a dress shop for over sixty years. It has only been remodeled twice, once in 1957, when the building was extended to the alley, and again in 1971. 1411 MAIN STREET Edwin Tyler constructed this single-story brick building in 1911. The original occupant was Graves Drug Store and has since housed various clothing, sewing, music and kitchen goods outlets, as well as a coffee house. 1413 MAIN STREET From its beginnings in 1888 when it was built by H.C. Nimocks, the building has been a prime commercial location occupied by dry goods, mercantile, shoe and jewelry stores. It presently houses Identifications. The exterior has been little altered, especially the upper floor, which still boasts much of its original Victorian architectural ornamentation.
Hiss Harness Shop
1415 MAIN STREET J.W. Lightbody had this two-story stone building constructed in 1878 to house his dry good business, called the People's Store. By 1909, it had changed hands and was C. Samuels’ dry goods store. Since then, it has housed a variety of mercantile and clothing stores and is presently a photographer’s studio. Architectural elements are still visible on the exterior, including arched windows, white stone sills and window hoods. 1419 MAIN STREET Constructed in 1888 by the Moses Brothers, Clayton and Edward, this building was a grand Victorian commercial building with a large, ornate metal cornice, complete with gargoyles. Unfortunately, due to damage from a fire which destroyed the building to its north, it was necessary to re-brick the front, causing the loss of these historic architectural details. The first floor and mezzanine have always housed retail businesses. The second floor, which still contains original woodwork, tin ceilings and other decorative elements, was used for offices. FIRE! Early on the morning of September 20, 1983, fire destroyed the historic brick and stone building at Main Street
the southwest corner of Main & Broadway. Built to house Farmer's & Merchant's Bank in 1886 at a cost of $25,000, it was known as the Opera Block for the auditorium housed on the upper floor. The building has been replaced with a modern office block at 2100 Broadway. DIRT STREETS & DESPERADOS The photograph below shows the view looking southwest from the corner of what is now Main & Broadway in the late 1870s. To the left is the rear of the Southern Hotel or Drover's Cottage, Great Bend's earliest hotel and one of its first buildings. To the immediate left of the spinning windmill blades is the county's first school house which was located on what is now the site of the Great Bend Public Library at Forest & Williams. To the right is Culver's Implement, the present location of Bank of America. Notice, too, in the bottom left corner of the photo, the "bear cage" in the back of the wagon, used for the transport of prisoners. 1900 BLOCK OF BROADWAY The square, sturdy-looking, classic Federal style building at 1924 Broadway was constructed to house Great Bend’s Post Office in 1915. When a new Post Office replaced it in 1960, the building was converted to federal offices. It was sold in 1996 and now houses Great Bend Children’s Clinic. As with this building, all of the early historic structures in the 1900 and 2000 Blocks of Broadway have been replaced with 20th century brick business buildings. 1500 KANSAS Now the site of a J.C. Penney’s department store, this building was constructed in 1960 to house a Wiley's department store. In the mid-1880s, this location became the Morrison Hotel, one of the
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grandest hotels between Kansas City and Denver. Rooms originally boasted Victorian Eastlake style furnishings in walnut and oak. By the early 1900s, the Hotel had fallen vacant and in 1902 briefly served to house the Dominican sisters who arrived in Great Bend to found a hospital and convent. It was later purchased by W.H. Kerr, who in 1912 planned to turn it into a school to prepare students who would spread the message of his Church of Humanity. This once grand Victorian lady ended her days as a run-down rooming house. 1400 BLOCK OF KANSAS This block, immediately across the street east of the courthouse square, has had a varied history. On the north end of the block, the building now housing the Barton County Sheriff's offices began its existence as a private residence. Then, for a number of years, it served as a funeral home and mortuary. In more recent times, it was purchased by the county and converted into offices for the Sheriff's Department. To its south is the County Jail, the core of which dates from the mid-20th century, but which has since been updated and modernized. In earlier times, the County Jail and the Sheriff's residence were in the basement of the original courthouse. Then, that arrangement Zarah Hotel
was replaced with a large brick building on the site of the present jail. The location had earlier served the city as a large livery stable. 1300 BLOCK OF KANSAS The north end of this block was originally home to the Typer House, one of Great Bend's earlier hostelries. Frame business buildings from the 1870s and 1880s were gradually replaced by brick business buildings in the early 1900s. In the middle of the block is the old Mazda Hotel building, now occupied by offices. It holds the distinction of having been bombed by a US Army Air Corps B-29 during World War II - bombed with a life raft. 1905 LAKIN AVENUE On the south side of the courthouse square, one of the most distinctive buildings is the Crest Theatre. The Kansan Theatre flourished at this site in the 1920s. In 1950, owner Ferd Selle leased the building to the Great Bend Commonwealth Theatre Corporation. They undertook major renovations, including adding a second story and the distinctive Art Moderne exterior facade and interior elements still in evidence. The grand opening of the newly renovated movie theatre, renamed The Crest, was held November City Hall
9, 1950. It now houses the Great Bend Community Theatre and provides auditorium space for live theatre, concerts and other events. This building is now on the National Register of Historic Places. 1907 LAKIN AVENUE This location was constructed in two parts. Its first section, consisting of the western one-third of the building, was erected in 1902. A one-story brick building was added as the eastern twothirds in 1916. It has served various retail and office uses through the ensuing years. 1913 LAKIN AVENUE Charles Andress, famous circus man and entrepreneur, built this brick building in 1909. In the winter months, when he wasn't on the road, Andress managed the Strand Theatre, which continued in business until 1954. Since that time, the space has been used as a retail store. 1915 LAKIN AVENUE Immediately to the east of the Zarah Hotel, Frank C. Wells built this two-story brick building in 1923 to house the men's clothing store he had been operating since 1913. The business continued in this location until 1987, when Mr. Well's son-in-law, Hubert Ochs, retired. It has since been occupied by a sporting good store. ZARAH HOTEL In a style typical of the 1920s, the Zarah Hotel was constructed at the corner of Lakin and Main, south of the courthouse, by the Great Bend Hotel Corporation in 1924 and 1925. The interior was once rife with art deco elements. An addition was made on the south side of the building in 1939 and 1940, including a fourth floor pent house for the manager. In operation from 1925 to 1972, the hotel also housed a number of businesses and
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doctor’s offices on the first floor. Its more recent incarnation has turned it into a mini-mall with a variety of small shops under one roof. 1223 MAIN STREET In 1910, the German American Bank dedicated their new building on the southwest corner of Lakin & Main. A two-story brick building constructed in the Federal style, it is topped by a triangular pediment and boasted twelve Roman columns. With the anti-German sentiment of World War I, the bank changed its name to American State Bank, which later moved to the building at 1321 Main. The second story provided additional downtown office space and after the bank relocated, the storefront has generally housed clothing stores. 1301-1305 MAIN STREET These premises now house jewelry and shoe stores in modern brick buildings, but before being converted to more peaceable mercantile pursuits, this corner - indeed much of this block on Main Street - was the stage setting for a good deal of Great Bend's early cow town excitement. On this corner stood a saloon, later converted by prohibition into a pool hall and then restaurant. Under various proprietors and different names, but generally remembered as the NuAces, the saloon catered to the cowboys, thirsting for liquor and fun after the long, dusty trip up the Chisholm Trail to the railheads. When there was too much liquor and the wrong kind of fun, these young men were likely to meet the town's early law officers, most of whom had served in the Civil War. Justice was served at the end of a gun and many a young cowboy was laid to rest in the cold loneliness of an unmarked grave.
1309 MAIN STREET A.J. Buckland built the double-lot building in 1887, in conjunction with Otto and Hugo Burger. A two-story brick Victorian, the two sections were united by a large cornice and stone window hoods which extended across the entire front. It’s commercial use has included drug, furniture, clothing stores, as well as a “five-and-dime.” OLD ROME This photograph from the 1870s shows the 1300 block of Main, looking south from what is now Forest. The third storefront from the right is the famous Rome Saloon. 1315-1317 MAIN STREET In 1909, John Hiss and Louis Zutavern constructed the Hiss Building. A two-story brick building, it featured the commercial art deco design typical of that era. As with many spaces in the downtown business district, the main floor was used as a storefront and the second story provided office space. Over the years, it has housed drug and jewelry stores, a music school, dentists’ offices, a beauty shop and photography studio 1319 MAIN STREET The building located at 1319 Main was constructed in the mid-1880s. Originally a double-lot, two-story brick building, it once boasted typically elaborate Victorian design elements, including metal cornices and gargoyles. When the bank was constructed next door, however, the north portion of this building was demolished and the remaining front converted to a more contemporary style. For many years it housed a variety of retail stores, but now serves as additional office space for the bank next door.
1321 MAIN STREET Directly west of the courthouse’s west door, the 1300 and 1400 blocks of Main Street are divided by Forest Avenue. At 1321 Main stands the American State Bank building, constructed in 1919 by the First National Bank. Constructed in the Federal architectural style, the exterior façade is Indiana limestone. The interior of the bank was finished with polished marble, brass and wood, decorated with ornate columns and ceilings. The upper levels house offices. BOASTS & BULLETS In 1875, a correspondent for the Kansas City Times, described Great Bend as a place marked by dissipation, licentiousness, crime, and daily and nightly rows. "A young Texas cowboy, known this season by the name of Frank Williams, but last year as Ben Craddock, having visited the dance house and made some boasts in regard to his prowess in the presence of a blushing demimonde, proceeded to distinguish himself by attempting to kill the deputy city marshal, W.W. Winstead. After imbibing freely he became disagreeably noisy and flourished his revolver in a most threatening manner. A bystander quietly slipped out and informed the police, Jim Gainsford and Winstead, that said cowboy was threatening to shoot somebody. As they entered the saloon, the desperado's eyes caught the police-man's star. With a whoop he swung out his revolver and fired at the approaching policemen. His fire was returned instantaneously by both officers ... The Texan fell instantly; a ball having taken effect right between the eyes."
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Stops Along The Byway Driving the Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway is a chance to discover something amazing. The seasons along this byway are both subtle and spectacular. In April, tens of thousands of birds cover the wetlands with color, motion and sound. Snowy plover and kildeer build hundreds of nests in the
Hidden Treasure The Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway takes visitors through Barton, Reno & Stafford counties in central Kansas and showcases the huge wetlands of North America’s Central Flyway. The byway reveals a scenic visual surprise amid the plains of Kansas. The marshes that anchor this drive are comprised of acres of radiant water that dazzle the eye and clouds of birds that takes the breath away. Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge are international treasures nestled in the heart of America.
banks along Quivira’s Wildlife Drive every summer. Birding Festival Every odd number year there is a birding festival that provides one and all an opportunity to enjoy a “natural” weekend of birding and education with guided field trips to both Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira. Check with the Great Bend Convention & Visitors Bureau for more details. 620-793-1800.
For more information about the Byway (including guides & driving tours) visit: www.kansaswetlandsandwildlifescenicbyway.com
Nature Rules Here Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, the Nature Conservancy Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge are the natural jewels of this byway. They anchor the drive with natural beauty and opportunities to explore nature. These giant marshes shape the landscape of this area in a most unique way and provide outstanding opportunities for bird and wildlife watching, hiking, and many other natural activities. The wetlands are truly alive and waiting to reveal their treasure to the traveler. 22 • GREAT BEND Convention & Visitor’s Bureau www.visitgreatbend.com
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