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Clicking on a pin will take you to what to see in that county
105 things to see in Kansas' 105 counties
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Allen County Historical Society
Maj. Gen. Frederick Funston Home, Museum and Statue in Iola
Allen County
At the turn of the 20th century, Funston was one of the most recognized generals in the nation. He was a war hero, journalist and public celebrity.In 1896 he went to Cuba and joined its forces, which were fighting for independence from Spain.In two years there, he lost 17 horses, fought in 22 battles, was shot through both lungs and an arm, and had malaria.
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The Anderson County Courthouse in Garnett was designed by George Putnam Washburn of Ottawa. He was one of the state’s leading architects and was often selected to build institutional-type buildings -- Carnegie Libraries, courthouses and schools. He designed the Anderson, Johnson, Franklin, Miami, Atchison, Woodson, Neosho, Doniphan, Kingman, Harper and Butler county courthouses. The buildings were often eclectic Romanesque, Queen Anne, Classical Revival and Beaux Art forms.
Anderson County Courthouse in Garnett
Kansas State Historical Society
Anderson County
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The house was built in 1862 by Earhart’s grandfather, Judge Alfred G. Otis, and sits across the street from the Missouri River. Although her parents lived in Kansas City, Amelia and her sister, Muriel, spent much of their childhood in the house. On display are Earhart’s writing desk, cedar chest, luggage and monogrammed scarves.
Atichison County
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The Wichita Eagle
Amelia Earhart birthplace in Atchison
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Carry Nation home
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At the turn of the 20th century, Carry Nation identified all she thought was evil in this world -- liquor, tea and cigarettes. Nation would travel from town to town, wrecking saloons and berating people who sold liquor. At each stop, her mission and reputation grew. Visit the house that hatched her mission.
Barber County
The Wichita Eagle
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The tunnels in Ellinwood contain an underground harness shop, barber shop and a bathhouse, where women known as “soiled doves” entertained road-weary strangers.The tunnels portray the dark underbelly of life and are one of the quirkier stops in central Kansas.The Dick Building, one of Ellinwood’s premier buildings -- and the gathering point for any tour of the tunnels -- is the white building with the tower on top.
The tunnels in Ellinwood
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Barton County
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Established in 1842 as a base for the Army’s peacekeeping efforts along the Permanent Indian Frontier, the fort was first garrisoned by dragoon and infantry soldiers.Fort Scott is a place to take your imagination. The buildings are grand and rustic. There are dragoon stables, company barracks, a post hospital, guardhouse, officer’s quarters and quartermaster storehouses. It is one of eight major forts in Kansas history.
Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce
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Fort Scott National Historic Site
Bourbon County
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Brown County
Davis memorial
John Milburn Davis used a fortune to build a memorial to the love he and his wife, Sarah, experienced in more than five decades of marriage. Using an estimated $200,000, he commissioned life-size Italian marble statues to be placed in Hiawatha’s Mount Hope Cemetery. Locals questioned why he didn't spend the money on things to benefit the living.Davis told famed journalist Ernie Pyle: “It’s my money and I spent it the way I please.”
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The museum is a tribute to the El Dorado Oil Field and documents when the Stapleton No. 1 became a historic symbol in national oil production. The El Dorado oil field became one of the largest fields in the nation at that time -- 15 miles wide by 35 miles long. It was a major source of oil for the Allied effort during World War I and helped fuel the Wichita aviation industry.
Butler County
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Butler County History Center and Kansas Oil Museum in El Dorado
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Chase County Courthouse in Cottonwood Falls
The courthouse is the oldest continuously operated courthouse in the state and the second oldest in continuous use west of the Mississippi. The building is best known for its French Renaissance style -- its mansard roof, towers and ornate cornices. Its interior features a winding black-walnut staircase. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. It was built in 1873. Its architect was John Haskell of Lawrence, who also helped design the Kansas State Capitol building.
Chase County
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Red Buffalo Ranch
Red Buffalo Ranch near Sedan is owned by Bill Kurtis, a native of Kansas and nationally known TV documentary host and producer.The ranch features buffalo, Butcher Falls, a 14-foot natural waterfall and Prairiehenge, a modern version of Stonehenge by famed Kansas artist Stan Herd. The artwork is two large circles of limestone rocks, approximately 77 feet and 60 feet in diameter.
Chautauqua County
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Chautauqua County
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Cherokee County
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The big black-and-orange mining shovel near West Mineral was once thesecond-largest electric coal shovel in the world. It now serves the coal mining industry of southeast Kansas as a museum and is considered one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Commerce. It is so huge it can fit a group of 30 people in its shovel.
Big Brutus
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Cheyenne County
Arikaree Breaks near St. Francis
Looking like an outcropping from the Grand Canyon or the Dakota Badlands, the breaks are nearly hidden in the state’s far northwestern corner.They run 36 miles long and about two to three miles wide.Most of the land is privately owned, but you can travel the backroads and see some of the most breathtaking areas in Kansas.
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Big Basin near Ashland
Big Basin is a sinkhole that formed millions of years ago, measuring a mile in diameter and more than 100 feet deep. The Big Basin preserve has been listed on the National Registry of Landmarks since 1978. St. Jacob’s Well, a spring-fed well that has never gone dry, is within the basin.Historically, the well was an oasis for pioneers and drovers bringing cattle from Texas to Dodge City.
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Courtesy photo
Clark County
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Clay County
Stone buffalo near Longford
The buffalo is the creation of Ray and Chester Smith, who built it out of concrete, rocks and stones.  The “Smithalo” is a 23-foot long, 61-ton concrete buffalo complete with lightning rods. It was built to honor the buffalo that once roamed the Great Plains. Ray Smith, who has since past away, built the buffalo on one of the highest ridges on his ranch.
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Cloud County
The stories of passenger trains that once carried thousands of orphaned children to the Old West is the subject of books, movies and now a national museum. It is estimated that between 1854 and 1929, more than 150,000 orphans were shipped from large East Coast cities to frontier towns on passenger trains nicknamed “orphan trains.” About 5,000 of the orphans went to Kansas.
Orphan Train Heritage Society of America
National Orphan Train Museum in Concordia
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Coffey County
Coffey County Lake
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Coffey County Lake, near Burlington, used to be known as Wolf Creek Lake because it is Wolf Creek Generating Station’s cooling lake. It offers one of the best fishing spots in the state. It has been featured on national television shows including Jimmy Houston’s “Outdoors” and Bill Saiff’s “Rod and Reel.” The Wolf Creek Environmental Education Area features five nature trails.
The Wichita Eagle
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Comanche County
Coldwater Lake
The 250-acre lake, nestled within a 930-acre park, permits all types of water-related sports, such as swimming, fishing, boating and skiing. It is a draw for not only people within southwest Kansas, but also those in nearby Oklahoma. It has campsites with water and electrical hookups. There is also a nature trail.
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Built by German and Russian artisans from about 1890 to 1917, the stone bridges range from one to three arches. They were assembled without cranes or the heavy construction equipment that crews use today. In recent decades, it has become a popular day trip to undertake.
Cowley County
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The 18 bridges of Cowley County
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Crawford County Historical Museum in Pittsburg
Crawford County
For more than 150 years, men have been mining coal in southeastern Kansas. At one time, the 63 mines -- in Crawford and Cherokee counties in southeast Kansas -- produced a third of the nation’s coal. The people mining the coal were a mix of 50 nationalities. That portion of the state was nicknamed “The Little Balkans.” The museum explores that history and culture.
Miners Hall Museum
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Last Indian Raid Museum in Oberlin
Sick, starving and far from home, 300 Northern Cheyenne Indians, mostly women and children, slipped away one night from their Oklahoma reservation near Fort Reno. In September 1878, they began a frantic journey that would lead them across Kansas in the hopes of reaching their home in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The museum helps tell how Chiefs Dull Knife and Little Wolf led their people and how 40 settlers and 60 Indians lost their lives.
Decatur County
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Last Indian Raid Museum
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Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene
Associated Press
Dickinson County
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It is as much a time capsule as it is a museum. Exhibits include Eisenhower’s life as a boy and his journey from West Point to the White House, including the years he spent as five-star general and supreme commander of the Allied forces during World War II. Visitors can see Eisenhower’s boyhood home, read pages from his journal and see exhibits on the turning points in his life.
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Four State Lookout in White Cloud
Doniphan County
Offers a view of Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa from a viewing platform. The view includes glacial hills and the Missouri River. The lookout is also noted because the area below the giant hill was a stopping point, in July 1804, for Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s expedition.
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Kyle Gerstner
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Douglas County
Some historians believe the first battle of the bloodiest war in American history was fought on Kansas soil --  June 2, 1856. It began shortly before dawn. No one died, but several men were wounded. It was when abolitionist John Brown and 27 men, some of them his sons, attacked Henry Pate’s pro-slavery band as they were camped in a grove of blackjack trees.  Ruts from the nearby Santa Fe Trail were used as trenches.
Blackjack Battlefield and Nature Park
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Edwards County
The Midway Sign in Kinsley is the halfway point between New York and San Francisco -- 1,561 miles. The Edwards County Museum and Sod House has an exhibit on the sign. It was featured on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in 1939 because of two  fairs -- in New York and San Francisco.The term “midway” also came about for Kinsley because of several families in the area that operated traveling carnivals.
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Midway Sign in Kinsley
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Elk County
Hubbles Rubble in Howard
The welded metal sculptures were created by artist Jerry Hubble. He created more than a dozen sculptures, ranging from a dragon to a horse and stagecoach. Even Snoopy and Woodstock, Batman and a cowboy are featured characters.
Dave Leiker
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St. Fidelis Catholic Church in Victoria
William Jennings Bryan nicknamed the church the “Cathedral of the Plains” when he visited the town in 1912.The church, considered the largest west of the Mississippi when it was completed in 1911, can seat more than 1,110. It was built by Volga Germans who settled the area in the late 19th century. The church, built in the Romanesque style, is known for its twin towers, which soar 140 feet above the plains.
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Ellis County
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The park features sandstone formations in the shape of giant mushrooms, created nearly 66 million years ago from sediments from the Cretaceous Period. The five-acre park was donated to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks in 1965. The largest “mushroom” rock measures 27 feet in diameter.
Mushroom State Park near Carneiro
Ellsworth County
Kansas State Historical Society
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Finney County
The mammoth swimming pool is billed as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Concrete Municipal Swimming Pool.” The block-and-a-half size pool has been a landmark in western Kansas since 1922. It’s larger than a football field and holds more than 2.6 million gallons of water. Years ago, when Garden City was promoting tourism sites for post cards, a motor boat and skier were placed in the water for a few spins around the pool.
World's Largest Outdoor Municipal Concrete Swimming Pool
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There is a reason Dodge City was known as the Wickedest Little City in America. Beginning in 1876, Dodge was filled with buffalo hunters, cowboys and some of the Old West’s most famous lawmen and desperados. Boot Hill is a re-creation of those days and was inspired by the popularity of the TV series “Gunsmoke.” Visitors can see gunfight re-enactments and variety shows and experience country-style dinners. Boot Hill refers to the cemetery where cowboys were buried after dying “with their boots on.”
Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City
Ford County
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Boot Hill Museum Inc.
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Franklin County
This is an excursion train that operates on a 20-mile round-trip track from Baldwin City to Ottawa Junction. The track was originally laid in 1867 by Leavenworth, Lawrence & Fort Gibson Railroad. The track was abandoned in the mid-1970s and, in 1987, several investors banded together to begin operating the volunteer line. It operates mostly on the weekends and special events.
Midland Historic Railroad
Roy Inman
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First Territorial Capitol of Kansas
Geary County
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In July 1855, territorial Kansas legislators met and began the debate over whether Kansas would be admitted to the Union as a free state or a slave state. The building was hardly a structure. The roof was barely on, the doors weren’t hung and one wall was covered with a huge robe. The legislators quickly complained about primitive conditions. One member was knocked unconscious after he stepped on a loose floorboard and it hit him in the head.
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Gove County
Chalk Pyramids, also known as Monument Rocks
This land is listed as a National Natural Landmark. It is rich with history, including ties to Gen. George Armstrong Custer, and is considered sacred among some American Indian tribes linked to the area. World-renowned paleontologists Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope led expeditions in the 1860s into the Smoky Hill chalk beds of western Kansas. It was also an area well-known by George and Charles Sternberg, who made careers collecting the fossils of Kansas.
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From 1877 to 1879, more than 50,000 African-Americans fled the South for Kansas, Illinois, Missouri and Indiana. They were called Exodusters. They were starting over and building new lives. For the 350 who left in the fall of 1877 to found Nicodemus, they believed they were going to the lush land of Eden. Instead, they found a small, treeless prairie. Nicodemus was one of several African-American communities established in Kansas; the only remaining such settlement west of the Mississippi.
Nicodemus National Historic Site
Graham County
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Historic Adobe Museum
Grant County Historic Adobe Museum
Grant County
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The museum houses artifacts and exhibits about life on the high plains, including many items found along the Santa Fe Trail. It includes displays on American Indian petroglyphs and early gas and oil discoveries in the area.The building was constructed in the 1930s as part of a Works Progress Administration project.
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The museum often features traveling exhibits by the Smithsonian and other national and international exhibit sources. The museum is named after Claude and Donnie Stauth. He was a successful wheat farmer, she was a photographer and travel agent. The couple began traveling the world together in the 1940s. All told, they made more than 23 international trips. On each expedition, they collected what most appealed to them. The collection features more than 10,000 color slides and souvenirs.
Gray County
Stauth Memorial Museum
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Stauth Memorial Museum in Montezuma
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The museum features a prehistoric mammoth skull and historical artifacts from the county.The county was named after New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley, who is often credited with the phrase, “Go West, young man, go West!” Indeed, this county is in the far western tier of counties, bordering Colorado. It is the least-populated in Kansas, with a population around 1,200 residents and only two towns -- Horace and Tribune. The museum building, constructed in 1890, once served as the Greeley County Courthouse.
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Horace Greeley Museum
Greeley County
Courtesy photo
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Fall River State Park near Toronto
Fall River State park, with cabins near Tornoto, is in the heart of the Chautauqua Hills. It features some of best hiking trails in the Midwest. Facilities include boat ramps, picnic tables, campsites and swimming beaches. The lake was second in a series of reservoirs built in Kansas by the Army Corps of Engineers. Kanopolis Lake, southwest of Salina, was the first, completed in 1848. El Dorado Lake was one of the last when it was finished in 1981.
Greenwood County
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Scenic drive on River Road from Coolidge to Syracuse
Lori Lennen
Hamilton County
Granted, this may not be the most highly known or touted scenic tour in Kansas -- but it is a pretty 16-mile drive on sand roads along the Arkansas River. The drive takes you past yucca and sagebrush and old cottonwood trees and occasionally you might spot some great wildlife scenes.
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Harper County
This tombstone with its Republican-toned epitaph has gone viral more than a century after his death and has been featured on Facebook and several stories on the Internet. Grigsby was a friend of Abraham Lincoln, a Civil War veteran and a man who made sure that even in eternity people would know he held true to the Republican Party.
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Nathaniel Grigsby's Tombstone in the Attica Cemetery
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Harvey County
Warkentin House in Newton
In the early 1870s, Bernhard Warkentin wanted to mill wheat and he built his first water mill on the banks of the Little Arkansas River in Harvey County. He encouraged his fellow Mennonites to bring hard Turkey Red winter wheat as they moved to Kansas. As wheat flourished on the plains, Warkentin ran a mill in Halstead and a bigger one in Newton and one in Blackwell, Okla. He quickly became known as the king of wheat.
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The museum houses a great collection of photographs, including aerial shots of the Sante Fe Trail depicting its path across the county. It also houses a collection of about 60 photos by Francis Marion Steele. He was a photographic genius at documenting disappearing ways of life. His black-and-white photos are iconic Old West.
Haskell County Museum in Sublette
Haskell County Museum
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Haskell County
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Horse Thief Reservior near Jetmore
Hodgeman County
The reservoir is one of the state’s newest lakes and is considered one of the largest bodies of water in southwest Kansas. The lake’s dam is more than 7,200 feet long and 86 feet high. The Pawnee Watershed District, which built the dam, is one of the largest watershed districts in the nation. It covers nine counties in Kansas and includes 1.5 million acres in Edwards, Finney, Ford, Gray, Hodgeman, Lane, Rush, Ness and Pawnee counties. The reservoir covers 450 acres.
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The site notes abolitionist John Brown’s exit from Kansas. In December 1858, Brown led 11 slaves from Missouri, hid them in a covered wagon and traveled the route of the underground railroad. As they arrived near Albert Fuller’s cabin near Holton, a federal posse tried to prevent Brown’s expedition from going any further. Brown persevered and managed to elude the troops. It was a bloodless battle and the posse was forced to mount their horses and spur away.
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Jackson County
Battle of the Spurs near Holton
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Normally, we wouldn’t make note of a rock in the middle of the road. But this red rock has been in the middle of McLouth since -- well, before the town. Big. Deep. And Stubborn. It’s not budging. It’s why the street is named Granite Street. The rock was part of sediment left over by a glacier in the Ice Age. And, instead of paving over it, the street was paved around it.Mark this one up to Quirky Kansas.
Jefferson County
Mercedes Taylor-Puckett
Rock in the Road in McClouth
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Jewell County Museum
The museum features photographs and artifacts from county residents. The county is in the far northern tier of counties and borders Nebraska. The historical society has two large buildings in the downtown that feature exhibits. The historical society also has a post rock jail that was built in 1899 and was in operation until 1982. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Jewell County Museum
Jewell County
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Kansas City Star
Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm in Olathe
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Johnson County
The farm features life as it was in the 1860s. The 40-acre site is the last remaining stagecoach stop open to the public on the Santa Fe Trail. In 1858, James Beatty Mahaffie and his wife, Lucinda, settled on the farm and continued farming until 1886. Their farmstead was also a stop for travelers along the Oregon and California Trails.
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The museum explores the Santa Fe Trail history of the county. But it also includes a display on Fred Harvey’s XY Ranch, which was east of Lincoln. The ranch supplied all the beef for Harvey House restaurants. For nearly a century, the Fred Harvey Co. ran a chain of restaurants, dining cars and hotels that served travelers along the Atchison, Topeka and Sante Fe Railway. The restaurants were a fixture until the 1940s, when cars became the main form of American transportation.
Kearny County
Kearney County Museum in Lakin
Billy Hathorn
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Kingman County Courthouse
Kingman County
The courthouse was built by George Washburn, one of the most prominent architects of the late 19th and early 20th centurys in Kansas. The courthouse was built in 1908.The three-story brick building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Putnam, of Ottawa, designed 13 courthouses in Kansas.
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Kiowa County
For more than two decades, M.T. Liggett has welded sculptures and totem poles and erected them on pasture he owns just outside Mullinville.Sometimes his work defies explanation.It is meant to confound and confuse. He offers commentary on politicians, local shenanigans and other events.
Kanza Art by M.T. Liggett in Mullinville
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Michael Overton
If you are into Civil War history, this is a must-see. The cemetery's two Antietam Circles have Civil War graves and monuments. Civil War veterans who moved to Parsons as settlers after the war established the first circle in 1887, naming it after one of the bloodiest battles of the war. In 1889 an additional Antietam Circle was created.
Labette County
Antietam Circle in Oakwood Cemetery in Parsons
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Lane County Histoical Museum in Dighton
Lane County
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Lane County Historical Museum
The museum features an exhibit on the “Lane County Bachelor,” a ballad written by Ness County farmer Frank Baker. The museum also tells the story of jackrabbit drives, the drought and Dust Bowl days of the 1930s and prairie fires. It features a sod house within the museum complex.
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Leavenworth County
Frontier Army Museum and Veterans Cemetery at Fort Leavenworth
The fort was established in 1827 to provide protection for the fledgling communities on the western frontier. The Frontier Army Museum preserves and interprets the story of the army from 1804 through 1917 and the history of the fort from 1827 through present day. The Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery was among the first 12 national cemeteries established by President Lincoln, in 1862.
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Traveling salesman's suitcase tombstone
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Lincoln County
The suitcase depicts the final resting place of a traveling salesman who died in 1891 in Lincoln.The story of the salesman’s tombstone was featured in 1933 in a “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” cartoon and has been the subject of countless articles and featured in books. It is considered unique tombstone art. While in the cemetery, also take a moment to look up Hazel Avery’s gravesite -- the seamstress with a love of Kansas history who designed and created the Kansas state flag.
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One of four Civil War battle sites in Kansas. The Marais des Cygnes is also known as the Battle of Osage. Confederate Gen. Sterling Price’s army had a large supply train with nearly 500 wagons. The battle began in the midst of a rainstorm at night.  The Confederate troops were camped along the Marais des Cygnes River  When Union troops began an artillery bombardment at 4 a.m. on Oct. 25, 1864, Price ordered his troops to cross the river. They tried, but Union soldiers captured about 100 prisoners and two cannons. The Rebel line in Kansas was broken.
Battle of the Marais des Cygne near Trading Post
Linn County
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Smokey Valley Ranch
Nature Conservancy
This is the Nature Conservancy’s largest property in Kansas, with about 17,000 acres of short-grass, prairie, bluffs and chalk outcroppings south of Oakley.If features all sorts of wildlife -- scattered prairie dog towns, white and mule deer, buffalo and antelope, coyotes, swift foxes, golden eagles and even black-footed ferrets.There are more than five miles of trail open year round to hikers and horseback riders. Wear boots. It’s rough terrain.
Logan County
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Lyon County
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All Veterans Memorial
Emporia became the first city in the nation to celebrate Veterans Day. Until 1953, Nov. 11 was known as Armistice Day. But Al King, an Emporia man who ran a shoe store, changed that. In 1952, he began suggesting to local residents that the day be set aside for all veterans of all wars. The idea caught on and the next year Emporia celebrated the first Veterans Day. By 1954, President Eisenhower signed legislation recognizing Nov. 11 as a federal holiday.
IM Design Group
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Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery
McPherson County
Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery in Lindsborg features the work of its namesake, internationally known painter and print maker Birger Sandzen, who lived and taught in Lindsborg from 1894 until his death in 1954. He was inspired by the French Impressionists of the late 19th century and created paintings, prints and countless watercolors and drawings. His paintings and prints now hang in schools, churches, post offices, museums and private collections all over the world and are often valued at several thousand dollars.
Courtesy of the Birger Sandzen Memorial Foundation
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Marion County
St. John Nepomucene Church at Pilsen
This was the home church of Father Emil Kapaun. The priest and military chaplain is currently being considered by the Vatican for sainthood for his service and dedication while being held in a North Korean prisoner of war camp in 1950 and 1951. His family recently accepted the Medal of Honor on his behalf. Father Kapaun died at the age of 35 in May 1951.
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Marshall County
Marysville Pony Express Barn
In April 1860, the government wanted men who could ride horseback and carry the U.S. mail through any kind of weather and face Indians and outlaws daily. Lasting only 18 months, the Pony Express experiment became an iconic moment in Old West lore. The museum in Marysville, Home Station No. 1, consists of the original stable -- now the oldest building in Marshall County -- and an annex added in 1991, which matches the stable’s architectural style.
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Meade County
Dalton Gang Hideaway
In the home of their sister, Eva Dalton Whipple, it is believed the infamous gang used a tunnel to come and go undetected by the law. In 1887, Eva married J.N. Whipple of Meade and he built her a house. But years after the Whipples left town, a  long tunnel from the house to the barn was discovered. It has since been converted into a 95 foot walkway with stone walls. The museum has an information about the Dalton family, guns and other western artifacts.
Kansas State Historical Society
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Miami County
The Adair cabin was built in 1854 by Samuel and Florella Adair, John Brown’s half-sister and brother-in-law. Brown lived briefly at the cabin and used it to hide escaped slaves.The cabin was moved from its original location in 1912 to become part of a historic site marking the 1856 Battle of Osawatomie. It is enclosed in a huge stone pergola built in the 1920s at John Brown Memorial Park. It houses artifacts collected from the life and battles of John Brown.
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Samuel Adair Cabin, John Brown Memeorial Park
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Mitchell County
Ball of Twine
In 1953, Cawker City farmer Frank Stoeber began slowly knotting his way to fame. He had a hay baler that used twine and once those bales were fed to livestock, plenty of twine was left over.By 1957, the ball weighed 5,000 pounds and stood eight feet high.The residents of Cawker City keep adding more twine every year. It’s been noted in at least three movies: Chevy Chase’s “Vacation,” “Beethoven’s Third” and John Travolta’s “Michael.”
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Montgomery County
Little House on the Prairie Museum
The wind still blows lonely through the wildflowers and grass. And the creek bottom and earthen bluffs that Laura Ingalls Wilder described in her “Little House on the Prairie” books still can be seen from the land that Pa Ingalls once claimed. Bill Kurtis, best known as host of the A&E television show “Investigative Reports,” owns the site with his sister, Jean Schodorf, longtime Wichita politician.
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On the Santa Fe Trail, this is the oldest continuously operating restaurant west of the Mississippi River. It was opened in 1857 by Seth Hays, Daniel Boone’s great-grandson and Kit Carson’s cousin. The restaurant operates in the original store building.
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Morris County
Hays House
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During the 1920s, when rains came frequently and tractors were still relatively new, the prairie was turned into huge oceans of golden, waving wheat. By the 1930s, during the Dust Bowl years, when drought and wind set in, Morton County was one of the most-devastated counties in the nation. Congress bought up some of the land from the county’s bankrupt farmers. The U.S. Forest Service now manages an area 30 miles long and 10 miles wide.
Cimmaron National Grassland
Morton County
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A giant cottonwood near Wetmore is famous as the Shoe Tree. In the late 1980s, people started putting shoes on the tree. People are always invited to nail shoes to the tree or tie the shoelaces together and toss them over a branch. There is a can of nails and a hammer at the base of the tree.
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Nemaha County
Shoe Tree near Wetmore
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World explorers, photographers, naturalists and authors, Martin and Osa Johnson traveled to some of the most exotic places on Earth during the first three decades of the 20th century. They popularized camera safaris and introduced Depression-era Americans to Africa, Borneo and the South Seas. At the museum, visitors can view photos and the movies made by the Johnsons, see some of Osa Johnson’s dresses and look at Martin’s cameras and countless photographs. American Eagle Outfitters has a line of clothing named for the Johnsons.
Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum
Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum
Neosho County
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Ness County
Skyscraper of the Plains
Ness County
Built in 1890 to house the Ness County Bank, it was nicknamed the “Skyscraper of the Plains” because it was considered “the finest and most imposing structure west of Topeka.” The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Although the building is primarily used as a meeting place, one floor has an exhibit on Ness County history. And the Prairie Mercantile, which sells Kansas products, is also in the building. It is been named one of the 8 Architectural Wonders of Kansas.
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Norton County
If ever there was a hall-of-fame for dejected politicians, this is it. Every major party candidate who has run for the White House but lost has a place of prominence -- from Thomas Jefferson to Mitt Romney.The gallery was founded in 1965 by banker W.W. Rouse. Housed in the First State Bank, the gallery has been featured in major radio and TV shows and publications -- such as USA Today, the Chicago Tribune and even the National Enquirer.
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Gallery of Also Rans
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The county was among some of the earliest organized in Kansas, dating back to 1855. The economy was fueled by coal mining and the growth of the railroad. The museum represents the American Indian history within the area as well as impact of the Santa Fe Trail that crosses the county; then, the early settlement and mining history. In 1871, Osage County coalfields were a major source of employment for men west of the Mississippi.
Osage County Railroad and Mining Museum
Osage County
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Osborne County Courthouse
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What makes this 1908 courthouse so different are the details. Stone carvings on the outside of the building include a lion, Medusa, and a sidewalk superintendent, John Wineland -- an early settler who came every day to watch the construction of the courthouse. The design is Romanesque Revival. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Osborne County
Greg Sanders
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Rock City
Ottawa County
The five-acre park has nearly 200 Dakota sandstone boulders that range from tiny up to 27 feet in diameter. Visitors are encouraged to climb on them, leap across and maybe have a quiet picnic. The “rocks” in Rock City are similar to those found in Mushroom State Park.
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Pawnee County
This is considered one of the best-preserved frontier Indian posts in the American West. Several thousand soldiers were stationed at the fort during its 19-year operation, from 1859 -- two years before Kansas became a state -- to 1878. During its heyday, the fort’s main duty was to preserve the peace among travelers along the Sante Fe Trail, new settlers and American Indians.
Fort Larned National Historic Site
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Phillips County
Dane Hansen Museum
Dane Hansen Museum
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Is best known for high-quality art exhibits. Hansen was one of the most influential Kansans in the 20th century as a philanthropist and businessman. He first started working in his parents’ mercantile store, then became involved in ranching. A later business included the Hansen Construction Co. As an oilman, he became one of the largest independent oil operators in Kansas. He was a friend of President Eisenhower and served on the Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. He also was a vice president of the board at the Eisenhower Foundation.
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Pottawatomie County
When Wamego banker J.C. Rogers visited the Chicago’s World Columbian Exposition in 1893, he was so impressed by the exhibits and artwork that he brought paintings and other items from the fair back to his hometown to decorate his music hall. He named it the “Columbian.” The building features exquisite artwork, woodwork, mirrors and chandeliers -- and is often host to plays, musicals and community events.
Columbian Theatre, Museum and Art Center
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Again with the Quirky Kansas! For more than a century, these two water towers have stood side by side in Pratt. Then, in 1956, one was painted “Hot”; the other, “Cold.” They’ve since become a regional landmark and the subject of countless photos.
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Hot and Cold Water Towers
Pratt County
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Rudolph Wendelin’s grave
Pay your respects at Rudolph Wendelin’s grave, artist of Smokey Bear illustrations for nearly 40 years. Wendelin may not have created Smokey, but he did his best to make him a national icon. Wendelin illustrated Smokey for the U.S. Forest Service in TV ads, billboards, posters, newspapers and magazine. At least 10 other artists turned out earlier versions, but Wendelin is credited with giving Smokey friendliness and popularity. Wendelin is buried in the Immanuel Cemetery in Ludell.
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U.S. Forest Service
Rawlins County
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Drop 650 feet in 80 seconds into the caverns that make up the Kansas Underground Salt Museum. Experience what salt miners see daily and view a replica of the underground vaults where Hollywood stored original movies, including "The Wizard of Oz." Chosen as one of the Eight Wonders of Kansas. The temperature underground is 68 degrees with 40 percent humidity. Cell phones don't work. And the walls, in certain light, look as if they are embedded with diamonds -- but alas, it’s just the salt playing with your eyes.
Kansas Underground Salt Museum
Reno County
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This museum tells the story about and honors the Pawnee Indians. The village site may have dated back as early as 1770. Early pioneers discovered several depressions and circles of dirt as well as artifacts that had been left when the earth lodges deteriorated and collapsed. From 1965 through 1967 a museum was built over one of those depressions and archaeologists then exposed and unearthed the lodge's remains - including a buffalo skull altar.
Republic County
Pawnee Indian Village State Park
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Pawnee Indian Village State Historic Site
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Rice County
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Coronado Quivira Museum and serpent intaglio
The Coronado Quivira Museum
Long before the first Europeans walked on Kansas soil, some American Indians of more than a thousand years ago dug intaglios - animal figures - into trenches along hillsides across the state. The museum tells the story of Quiviran Indians and the Spanish Conquistador Coronado’s trek along the Santa Fe Trail. The museum occasionally provides tours of the 160-foot-long serpent holding a ball in its mouth. Reservations need to be made in advance.
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Tells the story of the last remaining tallgrass prairie in North America, along with its culture, geology and biology. The center opened in 2012 and it encourages visitors to learn about the 22 counties in the Flint Hills region.
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Flint Hills Discovery Center
Riley County
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Webster State Park
Webster State Park
Rooks County
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Webster State Park near Stockton is in the Solomon River Valley. The lake offers opportunity for wildlife watching and walks along nature trails. It’s surrounded by prairie and covers the original town of Webster. It was among one of the first lakes in the state created under the Flood Control Act of 1944.
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Rush County
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The museum has more than 2,000 barbed wire samples, manufactured from 1870 to 1890. Visitors can also see hundreds of antique fencing tools and view the Barbed Wire Hall of Fame. The Post Rock Museum tells the story of how limestone was quarried and used to cut posts for fencing. More than 40,000 miles of post rock fences once dotted the countryside in north-central Kansas.
Barbed Wire Museum and Post Rock Museum
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Lucas Grassroots Art Center
Bowl Plaza Public Restrooms
Russell County
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Lucas has added one more notch to its quirky belt: The town has turned to bathroom humor and created a monument making Lucas home of the largest, most blingy toilet in Kansas. The town of 407 residents is home to the “Garden of Eden,” which features the peculiar work of S.P. Dinsmoor. The Civil War veteran sculpted 113 tons of concrete into various religious and political figures in his backyard. Lucas is also home to the Grassroots Art Center.
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Saline County
The Land Institute
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For more than three decades, founder Wes Jackson and his research associates have worked on mankind’s relationship to the land. The Land Institute has helped provide the groundwork for sustainable agriculture. Guided tours are available but must be requested in advance. Self-guided tours are welcomed; visitors can pick up booklets about The Land Institute at the office.
The Land Institute
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Lake Scott State Park
Scott County
An oasis of cottonwoods and a lake with nice fishing amid western Kansas canyon-and-cactus country. Explore the park's El Cuartelejo Pueblo ruins, which are the northernmost Pueblo ruins in North America. The park boasts springs and canyons. The park is popular for camping, fishing and birding and for its nature trails.
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Sedgwick County
Since it opened in 1971, the zoo has become one of the most-popular attractions in Kansas, and among the best in the nation for its size. From amphibians to zebras and everything in between, the zoo has raised millions for state-of-the art exhibits featuring lions, gorillas, penguins and tigers in as close to their native habitat as possible while aiming to entertain and educate people about them.
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Sedgwick County Zoo
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It has been 113 years since Dorothy first told her dog, Toto, that they weren't in Kansas anymore, but the two fictional characters remain as much a part of the state as wheat, sunflowers and bison. In 1981, the people of Liberal decided to restore and furnish a farmhouse into Dorothy’s House. They have since created the “Yellow Brick Road” and the “Land of Oz,” which features animated scenes from the movie -- good and bad witches, Munchkins,etc.
Seward County
Dorothy’s House
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Topeka's skyline is most famous for the capitol building. In 1862, Cyrus Holliday donated "Capitol Square" - 20 acres of prime land in downtown Topeka. But it wasn't until 1903 that the French Renaissance building with Corinthian details was completed.The building is considered one of the nation's most attractive capitols, having been declared a National Historic Site in 1971. Majestic and visually appealing, the capitol building is filled with architectural treasures - from ornate marble and hand-hammered copper columns to murals capturing the spirit of Kansas.
Kansas State Capitol building
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Shawnee County
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Cottonwood Ranch State Historic Site
Built as a sheep ranch in the late 19th century, the property contains unique buildings and details that might not ordinarily be expected. The ranch and outbuildings are made of native stone but built by Abraham Fenton Pratt and his sons and inspired by the type of architecture they found in their native home in Yorkshire County, England. Fenton Pratt and his wife, Jennie, ordered stained glass windows for the ranch. The native stonework is pale yellow, pink and gray.
Sheridan County
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Van Gogh Painting
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The giant landmark painting of Vincent Van Gogh’s vase of sunflowers catches eyes as thousands of visitors drive past in Goodland. The 24-foot-by-32-foot reproduction of “Three Sunflowers in a Vase” — one of Van Gogh’s most famous works — was installed by Canadian artist Cameron Cross in 2001. It rests on an 80-foot-tall easel. It has since become one of the most visible and blogged-about pieces of art in Kansas, in part because I-70 passes near it
Goodland Area Chamber of Commerce
Sherman County
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In the fall of 1872, Brewster Higley, a frontier doctor, penned a six-verse poem he called "My Western Home" at the cabin. It was later set to music and became the words to "Home on the Range." The tune quickly spread along the cattle trails and towns throughout the West. In 1947, the legislature declared "Home on the Range" the official song of Kansas. The cabin is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Home on the Range Cabin
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Smith County
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Stafford County
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Because of the Central Flyway migratory route, Kansas can boast sightings of 470 species of birds within its borders, more than surrounding states. Kansas is the only state in the nation, besides Florida, that can boast having two wetlands of international importance. Quivira in Stafford County and Cheyenne Bottoms in Barton County are major stopping points and way stations for birds along the Central Flyway. Go at either sunrise or sunset for the best wildlife viewing opportunities.
Quivira National Wildlife Refuge
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Housed in a stone Works Progress Administration building, the museum focuses on some of the area’s WPA projects during the 1930s. Exhibits include photos of the Dust Bowl years and early history of Stanton County. The museum complex includes a caboose, 1887 jail and a Vosberg grain elevator.
Stanton County Museum
Stanton County Museum
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Stanton County
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Stevens County Gas and Historical Museum
Stevens County Gas and Historical Museum
Stevens County
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The Hugoton natural gas and oil fields in southwest Kansas were once some of the largest in the world. The museum tells that story along with the development of Stevens County. Exhibits include American Indian artifacts and restored cars, a small antique Ferris wheel and early buildings.
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Bartlett  Arboretum
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Sumner County
If it is peace and tranquility you’re wanting, try a trip to the Arb. In 1910, Walter Bartlett began landscaping his arboretum. He built sidewalks and pathways and lined them with a multitude of different varieties of trees and flowers. In 1997, Robin Macy, a founding member of the Dixie Chicks band, found the Arb for sale and in crumbling disarray. She bought it and, along with volunteers, has transformed it. Call in advance to visit or attend scheduled events.
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Prairie Museum of Art and History
Thomas County
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Prairie Museum of Art and History in Colby
The museum houses in its complex one of the largest barns in Kansas -- the Cooper barn, built in 1936. The barn has been named one of the 8 Architectural Wonders of Kansas. Other exhibits include information on Samuel Ramey, one of Kansas’ most famous and favorite opera stars.
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Trego County Courthouse
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Built in 1889 of limestone, this courthouse provided the backdrop for some scenes in the movie “Paper Moon,” starring Ryan O'Neal and his daughter, Tatum. The movie, set in the 1930s, was about a con man and his illegitimate daughter traveling through Kansas. "Paper Moon" was filmed in autumn of 1972 in Hays, La Crosse, Wilson, Gorham, WaKeeney, Dorrance, McCracken and Liebenthal. The Wakeeney scenes were filmed in the office of the county treasurer.
Trego County
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Beecher Bible and Rifle Church
Wabaunsee County
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This small stone church has "Bleeding Kansas" history as its legacy. When residents in the Kansas Territory struggled to decide whether Kansas would be admitted to the Union as a slave or free state, Henry Ward Beecher, an abolitionist minister from Brooklyn, pledged that his congregation would give money for rifles for the abolitionist cause. More than $625 was raised to purchase rifles and a box of 25 Bibles. Except for regular Sunday services, the church is locked during the week.
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The highest point in Kansas, at 4,039 feet, is about half a mile from the Colorado state line. Although it is on private land, people are encouraged to visit. A shrine of sorts has been built to honor the less-than-nosebleed altitude. Kansas is built on an incline with an elevation range of 700 feet above sea level at our lowest point, in the far southeastern corner of the state, to Mount Sunflower.
Wonders of Kansas
Mount Sunflower
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Wallace County
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Washington County
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Hollenberg Pony Express Station State Historic Site
Gerat H. and Sophia Hollenberg built a way station in 1857 for travelers along the Oregon-California Trail. Their way station was used as a Pony Express stop from 1860 to 1861. The building, along with a visitor center, showcases Hollenberg history, the Pony Express and pioneer life.
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Museum of the Great Plains
Wichita County
Museum of the Great Plains
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This is another Kansas museum housed in a Works Progress Administration building. It was constructed in 1940 using stone from the area. Exhibits include fossils and information about local paleontologist Marion Bonner and the bloody county-seat war between the towns of Leoti and Coronado. The museum also houses one of the largest private collections of violins in Kansas.
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Wilson County
This site notes the first commercial oil well in Kansas. In 1892, William Mills began looking at several sites in the area and believed T.J. Norman’s garden plot held promise. He drilled and oil gushed into the Mid-Continent Oil Field. From this field, the Oil Company of Kansas in 1897 was formed as a small refinery and quickly grew into the Standard Oil Refinery. The museum features the history of the oil industry and exhibits on the Osage Indians that once inhabited the area
Norman No. 1 Oil Well and Museum
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Woodson State Fishing Lake
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Woodson County
The lake was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The old-timers call it Lake Fegan. It is in one of the most beautiful parts of Kansas, the Chautauqua Hills, known for huge boulders and trees, some dating back more than 300 years. In building the lake, dirt was dug and carried in mule-drawn wagons; later, bulldozers did the earthmoving. An average of 200 men worked each day on the project through its completion.
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Moon Marble Company
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The company is listed as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Commerce because it is one of the only places in the nation where a person can buy toys and handmade marbles and watch as they are being made. The company store has been in operation since 1997 and carries -- besides oodles of marbles -- wooden toys and game boards.
Wyandotte County
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