30 Amazing Hidden Gems in Kansas

Written by Bart Meeuwesen
Updated on
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Named after the Kansa Native American tribe, the state of Kansas is located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America. The state was discovered by Spanish explorers in 1541 and purchased by the U.S. in 1803 under the Louisiana Purchase.

Officially dubbed as the “Sunflower State,” Kansas was awarded statehood in 1861. The state is neighbored by Nebraska to its north, Oklahoma to its south, Missouri to its east, and Colorado to its west.

Did you know that as per a popular urban legend, the Gate to Hell can be found hidden inside the Stull United Methodist Church in Stull, Kansas?

As flat as it may be (the state has been compared with a pancake!), Kansas is home to a lot of interesting ‘firsts’ – the first Pizza Hut in Wichita, the first time Helium was discovered in 1905 at the University of Kansas, the tallest waterslide in the world (which is taller than Niagara Falls), and the first national hamburger chain.

Kansas has a rich history that dates back to before it was even known as Kansas. Numerous indigenous communities, several European settlements, and a lot of political tensions later, the state is now considered a major contributor to the nation’s agriculture. However, there is a lot more to the ‘Wheat state’ than meets the eye.

Let us explore the hidden gems in Kansas and find out what it has to offer us.

1. Geographic Center of the Contiguous United States, Lebanon

Geographic Center of the Contiguous United StatesSource: Lost_in_the_Midwest / shutterstock
Geographic Center of the Contiguous United States

Out of the 50 states of America, 48 are known as Contiguous states while Alaska and Hawaii, because of their geographical distance from the mainland, aren’t considered a part of the group. About two miles northwest of the city of Lebanon, Kansas lies the geographic center of the “lower 48 states.”

Discovered in 1918 during the Coast and Geodetic Survey, the “center” is marked by a small stone pyramid that houses the official plaque. A small chapel and a picnic table rest nearby.

Reportedly, the “actual” center is about a mile away on a private pig farm, but, this doesn’t stop visitors to come to the site and click happy photos at the center of the 48 Contiguous U.S. states.

Interestingly, if you are in the mood for a wedding-to-remember, you could be married to the love of your life at the tiny chapel.

2. Oz Museum, Wamego

Oz Museum, WamegoSource: OZ Museum / Facebook
Oz Museum, Wamego

Like the name suggests, the Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas is a marvelous dedication to all things Oz.

Established in 2004, the museum not only encompasses the highlights of the 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz, but, it captures the true spirit of Oz’s fantasy world as a cultural phenomenon that began with L. Frank Baum’s children’s storybooks in the 1900s.

Unlike the young Kansas girl, you don’t have to wait for a tornado to transport you to the land of Oz. Instead, all you need is to pay a visit to this quirky Oz-themed museum in the heart of this small city and you will be welcomed by over 2,500 Oz-related artifacts and memorabilia, including objects related to storybooks as well as the movie.

Among other exhibits lay a representation of the black and white farmhouse where Dorothy, the little Kansas girl, lived before she landed in the fantasy world of Oz.

3. Coronado Heights Castle, Lindsborg

Coronado Heights Castle, LindsborgSource: Deanna Laing / shutterstock
Coronado Heights Castle, Lindsborg

Spanish explorer Francis Vasquez de Coronado is believed to be the earliest of his kind to have set foot in modern-day Kansas. It was during his search for the “Seven Cities of Gold” that Coronado came upon the little town of Lindsborg. Several decades later, in 1881, a local college professor discovered a mysterious Spanish coin and a rusty chainmail which led many others to believe in the legend of Coronado’s quest for the “Cities of Gold.”

Rising above 300 feet, Coronado Heights is one among the seven sandstone bluffs that comprise the Dakota formation. As the story goes, Coronado first heard of the wealth’s location from a Franciscan priest who is known to have visited the area in 1539. However, during his visit in 1541, the Spanish explorer couldn’t find anything except some usual native huts.

Whether the priest was bluffing or not can’t be proven, however, the little stone castle and a surrounding park, Coronado Height Park, was established in the area in the 1930s to mark the spot where Coronado looked for gold.

4. S. P. Dinsmoor’s Garden of Eden, Lucas

S. P. Dinsmoor's Garden Of Eden, LucasSource: Brad Uhlenhake / Facebook
S. P. Dinsmoor’s Garden Of Eden, Lucas

Samuel Perry Dinsmoor was a Civil War veteran who served the army as a nurse during the war. After it was over, he returned to his home in Ohio and joined a Masonic lodge. After spending a lot of time as a mason, a farmer, and a believer of the “free-thought” movement, Dinsmoor married Frances Barlow Journey in 1870 and moved to Lucas with his family.

Dinsmoor intended for his Cabin to serve as his residence as well as a source of income for the family, and thus, in 1907, he began the creation of the “Garden of Eden.” Mostly made out of concrete, the house was made of limestone logs while several 40-foot tall concrete trees were built surrounding the Cabin to house his sculptures.

A clever combination of modern civilization, Populist Politics, and the Bible, Dinsmoor’s last creation was a concrete mausoleum where his body rests inside of a glass coffin. Ensuring that his family was well-provided for long after he was gone, Dinsmoor stated in his will that no one except his family was allowed to see him for less than a $1.

5. Giant Van Gogh Painting, Goodland

Giant Van Gogh Painting, GoodlandSource: Rhonda Thibodeaux Moore / Facebook
Giant Van Gogh Painting, Goodland

Cameron Cross’ Big Easel Project isn’t unknown to the world. Started in 1996 in Canada where Cross worked as an artist, the idea behind the project is to create larger-than-life representations of Vincent van Gogh’s sunflower paintings.

Since Kansas is the official “Sunflower State,” Cross couldn’t find a better location than the outskirts of Goodland, Kansas to showcase one of the seven such portraits which are planned to be a part of the project (so far, there are only three of such paintings).

Considered as the largest easel in the world, the Giant van Gogh Painting is a 24 by 32 foot representation of Van Gogh’s “Three Sunflowers in a Vase” which stands on an 80-foot-tall steel easel and weighs 40,000 pounds in total.

Of the three paintings that were actually created (Canada -1998, Australia – 1999, Kansas – 2001), the Goodland painting was dedicated during the city’s Sunflower Festival.

6. Truckhenge, Topeka

Truckhenge, TopekaSource: Baranduin Briggs / Facebook
Truckhenge, Topeka

What do you do when a government official asks you to pick up your trucks? Well, you do what you are told, just like Ron Lessman did.

Sometime in the year 2000, Lessman got into a legal battle with the city over his collection of antique trucks and buses when he was ordered by the ruling judge to “pick up the trucks.” So, he anchored one end of each of the vehicles in the ground supported by 23 tons of concrete. And, to spice up his retaliation, he spray-painted the vintage vehicles with quotes such as “Rise Up” and “Excuse While I Touch the Sky.”

Additionally, several beer-bottle sculptures near the Truckhenge comprise the “Beer-Bottle City.”

Both the exhibitions are a part of the Kaw Region Art Park and have been featured in several videos on KS Travel, Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations, and Roadside America.

7. World’s Largest Collection of Smallest Versions of Largest Things, Lucas

World's Largest Collection Of Smallest Versions Of Largest Things, LucasSource: World's Largest Things, Incorporated / Facebook
World’s Largest Collection Of Smallest Versions Of Largest Things, Lucas

Erika Nelson, an artist, educator, and one of the most distinguished experts on World’s Largest Things, has an undiluted passion for all the gigantic creations in the world. She spends her valuable time touring the nation in her van and discovering as many “World’s Largest Things” as she can and then creating the smallest versions of those ‘things.’

Founded by Erika, the one-of-a-kind traveling museum is dedicated to the various ‘World’s Largest Attractions’ of America. The artist is on a never-ending journey to find such behemoths, photographing them, and then creating a near-perfect replica of the attraction. Once completed, she tries to take the miniature replica to the actual attraction and then photograph them both.

Some of the miniature replicas in Erika’s traveling museum include the largest ball of rubber bands, largest ball of gum, big Albert (largest bull), largest badger, and the largest donut.

If not on her next expedition, Erika and her traveling museum can be found parked near her home in Lucas.

8. The Wichita Troll, Wichita

The Wichita Troll, WichitaSource: Sarah Liette Carpenter / Facebook
The Wichita Troll, Wichita

Locally known as “The Wichita Troll,” the seven-foot creepy goblin, with an enormous head and a black cobbled dress, has been looming over the streets of Wichita since 2007.

Connie Ernatt, a local artist, is known to have contributed a lot to the city’s art scene, but, the eerie, toothy monster is regarded as her best dedication so far. Hard to miss during the day (there is no official plaque marking the attraction), the huge, scary creature lights up in green underneath a storm door.

A well-kept city secret, the 200-pound Wichita Troll sculpture was installed as a part of a project that focused on renovating Wichita’s riverside area. Slightly difficult to locate, the Troll can be found at or near 777, West Central Avenue, Wichita.

9. Mushroom Rock State Park, Brookville

Mushroom Rock State Park, BrookvilleSource: Robert D Brozek / shutterstock
Mushroom Rock State Park, Brookville

Covering an area of approximately five acres, the Mushroom Rock State Park is regarded as the smallest of its kind in Kansas, however, it hasn’t stopped the unique park to become one of the eight wonders in the state.

Boasting some of the most unusual rock formations to have been discovered anywhere in the world, the Mushroom Rock State Park houses massive geological formations that are among the Dakota formations of the Cretaceous Period and date back to 144 to 66 million years ago. Made of cemented calcium carbonate, the largest rock formation at the park has a 27-feet diameter.

The area is maintained by Kannapolis State Park and is open to visitors.

10. Monument Rocks, Oakley

Monument Rocks, OakleySource: B Brown / shutterstock
Monument Rocks, Oakley

It is established that America has a strange fascination with Stonehenge, the world-renowned prehistoric concrete monument in England, and, the nation’s admiration towards the monument has been depicted by a great many artists in their replica version. However, Monument Rocks in Oakley, Kansas proves that it isn’t just the humans of the nation that are in love with the ancient structure!

Regarded as the first National Natural Monument of America and one of the eight wonders in the state, Monument Rocks is a group of 70-feet-high chalk formations that are believed to be relics of the Western Interior Seaway, the one that divided North America into two halves during the Cretaceous Period.

Carbonates that date back to several million years can be found around the area and the chalk formations themselves are considered extremely rich in fossils and primeval relics.

On a lighter note, most of the “Chalk Formations” have specific names that have been given based on their shape and ‘personality,’ for example, “Charlie the Dog” and “The Eye of the Needle.”

11. Rock City, Minneapolis

Rock City, MinneapolisSource: shannonpatrick17 / Flickr
Rock City, Minneapolis

Located in Ottawa County, Kansas, Rock City is a designated National Natural Landmark located atop a hill that overlooks the Solomon River. The park is most famous for housing over 200 spherical boulder formations that are made of concrete calcium carbonate.

The formations, usually known as “cannonball concretions,” have been created as a result of diffusion of calcium and carbon over a period of a few million years. Reportedly, the cluster is the biggest of its kind in the world.

Designated a landmark in 1976, the Rock City Park is managed by a non-profit and is open to visitors for a small admission fee which is used towards the park’s maintenance.

12. World’s Largest Ball of Twine, Cawker City

World's Largest Ball of TwineSource: Larry Porges / shutterstock
World’s Largest Ball of Twine

The World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City, Kansas is exactly what it says – a huge ball of twine that has held the world record since 2014. Though several claims have been made to dispute the title, the ever-expanding twine ball has managed to retain its title and the town’s pride ever since it was built.

Frank Stoeber began creating the ball in 1953. By the time he died in 1974, the ball had 1.6 million feet of twine and an eleven-foot-diameter. Every August, Cawker City organizes a “Twine-a-thon” where community members and visitors are encouraged to add to the twine ball, thus making its growth process never-ending.

Last recorded, the length of the twine was more than eight million feet.

The Ball of Twine is housed under a custom-made gazebo and a small visitor center on the other side of the street sells souvenirs made of twine.

13. Strataca, Hutchinson

Strataca, HutchinsonSource: Strataca / Facebook
Strataca, Hutchinson

Formerly known as the Kansas Underground Salt Museum, Strataca is a monstrous salt mine located 65 stories beneath Hutchinson, with salt veins that extend from Kansas to New Mexico. The museum, although filled with many intriguing objects, is home to a 250-million-year-old salt crystal which, reportedly, had a living bacterium trapped inside it when it was found in 1998.

Dr. Russell Vreeland, one of the two biologists to have discovered the living organism, found the bacterium in a drop of seawater that was entombed in the prehistoric salt crystal, 1,850 feet underground.

Strataca also offers a tram tour, known as the ‘Dark Ride,’ that takes you through the various exhibitions at the museum. Additionally, you can participate in the “Murder in the Mine” dinner theater that is hosted by the museum on specific occasions.

14. Dorothy’s House and Land of Oz, Liberal

Dorothy's House And Land Of Oz, LiberalSource: Dorothy's House & Land of Oz / Facebook
Dorothy’s House And Land Of Oz, Liberal

Dorothy Gale, a young girl from Kansas who was whooshed away by a tornado and left at the fantasy land of Oz, is a fictional character in L. Frank Baum’s children’s storybook and the 1939 musical that was based on the author’s story. But, ever since 1978, the fictional character of Dorothy has had a real house and that is located in Liberal, Kansas.

As the story goes, Max Zimmerman, an insurance agent, was attending a convention somewhere, when a waiter read his name tag and was glad to know that Max is from where Dorothy lived (in the story). Inspired by the idea, Max wondered where exactly in Kansas did she live and because no city had ever claimed to be Dorothy’s hometown yet, he decided to reward Liberal with that gift.

Constructed out of a donated house from 1907, the house has been transformed to look exactly like the one where Dorothy lived with her Aunt Em. A guide, usually a local girl dressed as Dorothy, shows you around the exhibit and narrates the story and its events one by one.

You can skip down the “yellow-brick road” with your “Dorothy” or make a small donation to get your name on a brick along the likes of previous visitors such as Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

15. Atomic Annie, Junction City

Atomic Annie, Junction CitySource: Geary County Convention & Visitors Bureau / Facebook
Atomic Annie, Junction City

Atomic Annie is an M65 Atomic Cannon developed in the 1950s by engineer Robert Schwartz. Designed to fire nuclear warheads, Atomic Annie weighs 47 tons and requires specially made tractors to move from one place to another.

In 1953, Atomic Annie fired the first and the only nuclear shell to be launched from a cannon during a test run at Nevada Test Site. After her success, over 20 Atomic Annies were manufactured. However, within a decade, Atomic Annie retired.

In 1974, the commander at Fort Riley’s 1st Infantry Division acquired the cannon and installed it along Interstate 70. An adjacent park offers information about Atomic Annie’s development, history, and role in the military.

16. The Big Well, Greensburg

Source: GreensburgKansasTourism / Wikimedia
The Big Well, Greensburg

Sometime in 1887, for 50 cents to a dollar a day, farmers, cowboys, and part-time workers dug a 32-feet-wide and 109-feet-deep well which is now regarded as the largest “hand-dug well” in the world (even though some would claim that St. Patrick’s well in Italy is the largest).

“The Big Well,” as it is commonly called, has been recently added to the eight wonders of Kansas, however, the upkeep of the giant well hasn’t always been so smooth. From 1939 until the early 1990s, the Big Well was a huge attraction. However, sometime during the 90s, the Well lost its charm.

To worsen the situation, a tornado in 2007 destroyed the Well’s Visitor Center along with the rest of the town. But, the good citizens of Greensburg saw that as an opportunity to rebuild the Well and added solar panels and wind turbines with an intention of earning the title of “most eco-friendly little town” in the country.

To add to their efforts, a museum was added atop the Big Well in 2012 and lets visitors descend a spiral staircase into the well so they can admire the exhibitions inside.

17. Sauer Castle, Kansas City

Sauer Castle, Kansas CitySource: FatherStorm / Wikimedia
Sauer Castle, Kansas City

The Sauer Castle belonged to Anton Sauer who, after living a part of life in Vienna and New York City, moved to Kansas City in 1868 to be closer to his family as he fought with tuberculosis and the loss of his wife.

Anton married Maria and lived in the castle until his death in 1879. Shortly after, Maria committed suicide and left the castle to their children. Eva Maria, the couple’s eldest daughter, lived at the castle and married William, but, the marriage didn’t last long. Eventually, Eva Maria married a local businessman, John S. Perkins, who committed suicide at the castle at the age of 73.

Eva and John’s son, John Harrison Perkins, had an infant daughter who died of drowning in the castle’s pool.

Paul Berry purchased the house after Eva passed away in 1955 and continued to live in the castle until his own death in 1986.

All the suicides and unfortunate deaths at the castle resulted in several ghost stories that surfaced around the 1930s, resulting in numerous cases of vandalism and trespassing.

The Sauer Castle is now owned once again by the Sauer family (his great-great-grandson) but the property remains private and one can only admire the hauntingly beautiful architecture from the street.

18. Wamego LSD Missile Silo, Wamego

Originally established in 1961 by the Air Force as a part of a missile defense system, the site was purchased by Gordon Todd Skinner, a young, wealthy drug enthusiast who, with the help of William Leonard Pickard, a California based LSD manufacturer, transformed the missile site into an LSD silo.

Though the manufacturing unit was short-lived, at one point, it was estimated that the company produced 90% of the LSD that circulated the streets of the United States of America in the 1990s.

By 2000, Skinner became paranoid as a result of the illicit activities that went on in his basement and started working as an informant for the DEA. Eventually, he led to the arrest of Pickard and a sudden shortage of LSD hit the psychedelic communities of America.

Skinner was later arrested for kidnapping, assaulting, and drugging. The property is now owned by Charles and Kellie Everson who are happy to host group tours of the site.

19. Clutter Family Home, Holcomb

Clutter Family HomeSource: Spacini (talk) / Wikimedia
Clutter Family Home

Herb and Bonnie Clutter, along with their two teenage kids, lived at a two-story brick house in Holcomb, Kansas. The family was founded bound and shot to death in November 1959. A few years later, the incident inspired Truman Capote (of Breakfast at Tiffany’s) to publish a non-fiction novel, In Cold Blood.

Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, two ex-convicts out on a parole, received word from an old inmate-friend that the Clutters were rich and had their money hidden at home. Consequently, the criminal duo staged the murder and loot. However, Hickock and Smith were arrested and hanged to death in 1965 – all this for $50 that they found at the house.

Legends claim that the Clutters’ daughter, Nancy Clutter, still haunts the residence halls at night. Since the incident, only two other couples have managed to live in the house.

20. World’s Largest Hairball, Garden City

World's Largest Hairball, Garden CitySource: Debbie Amburgey Phillips / Facebook
World’s Largest Hairball, Garden City

As gross as it may seem at first, the Trichobezoar aka hairball is the largest of its kind in the world and it was found in the gut of a cow!

Located at the Finney County Historical Museum at the entrance of Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City, Kansas, the massive hairball sits atop a brass holder. At the time of discovery, it was nearly 40 inches in circumference and weighed 55 pounds wet. Since then, it has dried and shrunk quite a bit, however, the hairball still looks highly impressive and can be touched (yay! Or not).

The museum also has several other interesting exhibits displaying the history and evolution of the area.

Volunteers gladly answer your queries and guide you through the museum exhibitions.

21. Mount Sunflower, Weskan

Mount Sunflower, WeskanSource: Fredlyfish4 / shutterstock
Mount Sunflower, Weskan

Located on the private property of Ed and Cindy Harold, Mount Sunflower, at 4,039 feet above sea level, is the highest natural point in Kansas. Owned by the rancher couple, the point is marked by a signage and a tall, abstract Sunflower made of railroad spikes.

A picnic table and a little free library can be found at the site along with a visitor’s logbook. There used to be a quirky plaque that read: “On this site in 1897, nothing happened,” but, it had been missing since 2015.

However, it may be a little disappointing to see that the “Highest Point in the State” seems as flat as the rest of the city, but, Kansas can’t help it since it has already been mentioned that the state is almost as flat as a ‘pancake.’

22. Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum, Atchison

Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum, AtchisonSource: Sharon Day / shutterstock
Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum, Atchison

Born in 1897, Amelia Earhart is known as the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. An aviation pioneer and an author, Earhart was the recipient of many reputable awards in the field of aviation. She was also among the ninety-nine women who formed The Ninety-Nines, an organization solely for female pilots.

Earhart was born to Samuel and Amy on July 24th, 1897 at her maternal grandmother’s home in Atchison, Kansas. The building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and is maintained as a museum by the Ninety-Nines.

In 1937, during her second attempt of the year to circumnavigate the globe, her aircraft disappeared somewhere near the Nukumanu Islands, Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately, she was never found and the fascination with one of the greatest female pilot’s’ life, career, and disappearance continues to attract visitors to date.

23. The Greyhound Hall of Fame, Abilene

The Greyhound Hall Of Fame, AbileneSource: Faith Burnham / Facebook
The Greyhound Hall Of Fame, Abilene

At the Greyhound Hall of Fame, you not only get to admire the greyhound statues and learn about the particular breed of canines, but you also get to play and cuddle up with Gary and Jade, two real and extremely adorable greyhounds that stroll around the doorway and love visitors.

Gary and Jade, like most others of their kind, were racer dogs who have now retired and continue to love in the museum that is dedicated to their long history as racer dogs.

For the most part of the history, Greyhounds were used for hunting, however, their use as racer dogs became quite the rage in the 1920s. The species is known for their lightweight, muscular builds, insane flexibility, and an astounding ability to run up to 45 miles an hour.

Established in 1973, the museum houses an impressive display of the champion canines and their humans. Among those is Molotov, one of the most dashing dogs ever, who, by the time of his death, had fathered 7,600 pups!

24. 1950s All-Electric House, Overland Park

1950s All-Electric House, Overland ParkSource: Keith Wondra / Facebook
1950s All-Electric House, Overland Park

Constructed in 1954 by Kansas City Power & Light, the ranch-style futuristic home is equipped with all possible technological advancements that make it one of the greatest creations of the time.

Inside the house, a button reveals a T.V from behind a painting, curtains are operated electrically, and an electrical button serves as the garage door opener. The five-room house gives you an elaborate peak into the post-WWII American dream house project.

During its six-month exhibition in Prairie Village, Johnson County the house saw over 62,000 visitors (a number that is more than the total number of residents in Johnson County).

A family home for four decades, the All-Electric House was converted into a museum in 1998 and continues to attract visitors (but not as many as such an impeccable example of modern technology deserves).

25. World’s Largest Czech Egg, Wilson

World's Largest Czech Egg, WilsonSource: Karuna Eberl / shutterstock
World’s Largest Czech Egg, Wilson

Wilson is a small but admired community of Czechs living in the state of Kansas. The community is also home to the largest Czech Egg in the World – a 20 feet Kraslice egg!

Designed by Christine Slechta, a famous local Kraslice creator, the egg has been painted by the artist as well as supportive community members. The egg sports a traditional Czech design with a black base and patterns in yellow, red, and white.

The whole structure and the gazebo it rests inside has been made in Kansas.

The idea of creating this masterpiece began in 2003 when Sharon Holloway, a former president of the Wilson Chamber of Commerce made a suggestion to Erika Nelson (of the World’s Smallest Replica of the World’s Largest Things). Nine years and several donations later, a white, fiberglass egg was delivered to Wilson. And, on July 29th, 2016, the egg was finally completed along with its encompassing pavilion.

26. Kansas Barbed Wire Museum, La Crosse

Kansas Barbed Wire Museum, La CrosseSource: Kansas Barbed Wire Museum / Facebook
Kansas Barbed Wire Museum, La Crosse

Founded in 1990, the Kansas Barbed Wire Museum in La Crosse, Kansas is dedicated to the history of how barbed wire, most commonly known as the “Devil’s Rope,” brought the open range of Wild West to a poking end.

The western United States was once home to several free prairies where cattle-herders left their livestock to openly graze through the unmarked, enormous expanses of land. However, with the discovery of the spiny fences, new landowners created an easy, effective way of marking their private property.

An informal law enforcement system, the barbed wires at the museum include over 2,000 different kinds which have been donated over time by private collectors from around the world. Other exhibits include tools and machinery that were used in the manufacturing of the wires.

27. Huron Indian Cemetery, Kansas City

Huron Indian Cemetery, Kansas CitySource: Mark Michalovic / Wikimedia
Huron Indian Cemetery, Kansas City

Originally known as Wyandotte National Burying Ground, the Huron Indian Cemetery was founded in 1843 after the unwilling displacement of the Wyandotte Nation. Following their settlement, the Burying Ground became the final resting place of an uncountable number of the Native Americans, most of whom may not even be buried underneath marked gravesites.

After moving from Ohio to Kansas, about a hundred Wyandotte natives inexplicably succumbed to death, though some assume that it was caused due to measles or typhoid. The Wyandotte Nation had legal rights to the Cemetery until 1855. The Nation’s tribal status was dissolved eventually, and the natives decided to sell the land to local developers in 1906.

Riots happened over the sale of the land as many confronted the idea of violating the graves of their loved ones buried at the cemetery and even though the people against the idea of the sale lost the legal battle, the Cemetery is now an official sacred site and an agreement has been set in place between Wyandottes and Kansas that the place be used solely for religious and cultural practices.

28. Comanche, Survivor of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Lawrence

Comanche, Survivor Of The Battle Of The Little Bighorn, LawrenceSource: A Home for Hero's / Facebook
Comanche, Survivor Of The Battle Of The Little Bighorn, Lawrence

In 1876, at the Battle of Little Bighorn, five companies of the US 7th cavalry were completely obliterated by an army of Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne. Next day, soldiers from the remaining companies of the cavalry discovered the site of the massive takedown. All the men, including the General, George Armstrong Custer, and dozens of horses lay dead on the grounds, except for Comanche, the sole survivor of the battle, a horse.

Owned by Captain Myles Keogh, Comanche had suffered multiple bullet wounds, but he survived (and wasn’t captured or bolted like the other presumed horses who may have lived). After the battle ended, Comanche officially retired in 1878 and was awarded the honorary title of “second in command.”

A special stall was fitted for him as a retirement gift and he was to not engage in any further activities except living out the rest of his days in peace and honor. After his death in 1890, Comanche was given a full military funeral service, however, instead of being buried, his corpse was sent to the University of Kansas to be stuffed and put on display.

Comanche now stands proudly at the fourth floor of the university’s Natural History Museum.

29. They Also Ran Gallery, Norton

They Also Ran Gallery, NortonSource: They Also Ran Gallery / Facebook
They Also Ran Gallery, Norton

In the 1960s, the town of Norton, Kansas was in need of a tourism-boost when William Walter Rouse, a local businessman and the president of the First State Bank, suggested the idea of recreating a stage coach station along 1859 Leavenworth and Pikes Peak Express.

Shortly thereafter, Stage Coach Station 15 was opened for the public and was dedicated to Horace Greeley, who wasn’t only the owner and publisher of New York Tribune but was also a losing presidential candidate of 1872.

Soon after the Coach was made public, Rouse received a gift, They Also Ran by Irving Stone, a book that had the life history of all former losing presidential candidates. This inspired Rouse to collect photographs and artifacts related to the candidates and the Coach Station expanded to be a full-fledged museum of all presidential candidates who could never make history.

30. Big Brutus, West Mineral

Big Brutus, West MineralSource: Robanov83 / Flickr
Big Brutus, West Mineral

Big Brutus is a Bucyrus-Erie 1850B electric shovel which, at 160-feet high and 15,000 horsepower, is considered the largest electric shovel in the world. But, it only gained the title in 1992.

The former titleholder was called the “Captain” and weighed 22 million pounds (as compared to Brutus’ 11 million pounds), however, it was scrapped in 1992. Big Brutus also had a mightier sister, “Big Bertha,” but, she was dismantled too. Hence, Big Brutus assumed the role of being the largest of its kind.

During the 60s and 70s, Big Brutus was utilized to carry 150 tons of coal and could work all day at a speed of 0.22 MPH. Though this made life easier and was an example of great machinery, the excessive consumption of electricity by the giant made it impractical.

Today, Big Brutus sits at Big Brutus Inc., a mining-museum-cum-campground in West Mineral, Kansas. Visitors can not only admire the massive machine, but they can step inside the enormous shovel.

30 Amazing Hidden Gems in Kansas:

  • Geographic Center of the Contiguous United States, Lebanon
  • Oz Museum, Wamego
  • Coronado Heights Castle, Lindsborg
  • S. P. Dinsmoor's Garden of Eden, Lucas
  • Giant Van Gogh Painting, Goodland
  • Truckhenge, Topeka
  • World's Largest Collection of Smallest Versions of Largest Things, Lucas
  • The Wichita Troll, Wichita
  • Mushroom Rock State Park, Brookville
  • Monument Rocks, Oakley
  • Rock City, Minneapolis
  • World's Largest Ball of Twine, Cawker City
  • Strataca, Hutchinson
  • Dorothy's House and Land of Oz, Liberal
  • Atomic Annie, Junction City
  • The Big Well, Greensburg
  • Sauer Castle, Kansas City
  • Wamego LSD Missile Silo, Wamego
  • Clutter Family Home, Holcomb
  • World's Largest Hairball, Garden City
  • Mount Sunflower, Weskan
  • Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum, Atchison
  • The Greyhound Hall of Fame, Abilene
  • 1950s All-Electric House, Overland Park
  • World's Largest Czech Egg, Wilson
  • Kansas Barbed Wire Museum, La Crosse
  • Huron Indian Cemetery, Kansas City
  • Comanche, Survivor of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Lawrence
  • They Also Ran Gallery, Norton
  • Big Brutus, West Mineral