The land of the Kansa people became the namesake for the new territory in 1854 and eventually the state. They were honored in name for their congenial welcome of and trade with new European settlers. Kansas entered the union January 29, 1861, as a free state. It quickly became a Civil War battleground for freedom. It was also a new launching place for the extension of the railroad across the nation. Kansas experienced significant immigration, enterprise growth, and travelers due to prominent trails, such as the Oregon Trail, the Santa Fe Trail, the California Trail, and the Chisholm Trail.
Kansas gave the world former President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Amelia Earhart — two American heroes.
Later, Kansas gained another place in American history with the 1954 landmark Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Topeka Board of Education. This case, followed by the Rosa Parks challenge in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, started the momentum for the 1964 Voting Rights Act and later the national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Most of all, these events challenged all Americans to accept each other as equal citizens of the same nation.
Learn more and begin to plan your trip at with these helpful links:
For starters, consider these places.
- Lindsborg - a town of Swedish heritage
- Wilson - a town of Czech heritage; see also Wilson Lake
- Nicodemus - founded by reconstruction period refugees; visit museum
- Dodge City - historic wild west town along the Santa Fe Trail; visit the Boot Hill Museum and Fort Dodge
- Big Basin - large sink hole with Artesian spring
- Medicine Lodge - museum of the famous Treaty at Medicine Lodge
- Coronado Heights - legendary location of refuge of the Spanish army from the attack of plains tribes in 1541
- Mushroom Rock State Park
- Dwight D. Eisenhower Museum in Abilene
- Council Grove - a town along the former Santa Fe Trail; Kaw Mission Museum; historical walking tour
- Manhattan - home of Kansas State University (drive the campus); Flint Hills Discovery Center; overlook from US 177 Highway; see also Tuttle Creek Lake and Cedar Trail
- Topeka - Kansas Museum of History; State Capitol; Burnett's Mound (overlook); Old Prairie Town
- Lawrence - home of the University of Kansas (drive the campus); great downtown business district to walk; Well's Overlook
- Hutchinson - Kansas Cosmosphere; salt museum; state fair
- Wichita - Exploration Place; Sedgwick County Zoo; Old Town; Cow Town; river walk
- Wamego - a town of Dutch heritage; Dutch windmill in central city park
- on State Highway 99 at Alta Vista from I-70 south to State Highway 4 and turn east to Topeka.
- Echo Cliff - along State Highway 4 just west of Dover
- Leavenworth - historic downtown; federal penitentiary
- Atchison - childhood home of Amelia Earhart; origin of Atchison Topeka Santa Fe Railroad
- Monument Rocks geological formation