50 Facts About Kansas State You Might Not Know About

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A fountain surrounded by greenery in front of a white building with a copper dome
A fountain in front of the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka

Kansas is known for having the largest ball of twine in Cawker City and for having important sites during the Civil Rights Movement. But there are also a lot of facts about the state you might not know about. So what else is Kansas known for?

Kansas is special for its long grain elevator, being the home of Pizza Hut, and its large easel. It was here that women gained the right to vote before the country did. It was also the setting for the "Wizard of Oz."

Read on for some interesting facts about Kansas State that you probably do not know yet.

  • 50 Kansas facts

50 Kansas State Facts

  1. Fun Facts About Kansas
    1. Kansas is well known for the "Wizard of Oz" movie
    2. The World's Largest Easel is here
    3. It has over 800 caves
    4. Kansas has the geographical center of the lower 48 United States
    5. Mount Sunflower is its highest point
    6. Pizza Hut started in Kansas
    7. Flint Hills has the most tallgrass prairie in the world
    8. Kansas is nicknamed the "Sunflower State"
    9. This state produces the most wheat in the US every year
    10. The state animal is the buffalo
    11. The official state song is "Home on the Range"
    12. "Little House on the Prairie" is set in Kansas
    13. Sumner County in Kansas is the wheat capital of the world
    14. Kansas gave women voting rights before the country did
    15. The state insect is the honeybee
  2. Interesting Facts About Kansas
    1. President Dwight D. Eisenhower grew up here
    2. Reverend Sylvester Graham invented the graham cracker
    3. The state tree of Kansas is the cottonwood tree
    4. The official state bird is the western meadowlark
    5. Many Native American tribes lived in Kansas
    6. The state motto is "Ad Astra per Aspera"
    7. Kansas was named after one of the Native American Tribes
    8. John Brown was an abolitionist in Kansas
    9. Fort Riley is a military base in this state
    10. Amelia Earhart is from Kansas
  3. Weird Facts About Kansas
    1. Dodge City is the windiest city in the country
    2. Kansas has many tiny towns
    3. People from Kansas City call themselves Jayhawks
    4. This state is literally flatter than a pancake
    5. It has the most prairie chickens in North America
  4. Creepy Facts About Kansas
    1. Haunted Atchison is a town in Kansas
    2. This state had the most deaths during the Civil War
    3. It was part of the Wild West
    4. Another nickname for Kansas is "Tornado Alley"
  5. Kansas History Facts
    1. People have lived here for at least 12,000 years
    2. Kansas was first explored by the Spanish
    3. It was part of the Louisiana Purchase
    4. The Kansas-Nebraska Act created the territory of Kansas
    5. Bleeding Kansas was a pre-Civil War event
    6. Kansas officially became a state in 1861
  6. Cool Facts About Kansas
    1. It is home to the longest grain elevator in the world
    2. The helicopter was invented here
    3. There is a church made of grasshoppers in this state
    4. It has many state symbols
    5. Kansas to New York North is nearly half of the distance across the US
  7. Important Facts About Kansas
    1. Topeka is the capital of Kansas
    2. Wichita is its largest city by population
    3. Kansas City is in Kansas and Missouri
    4. The population of Kansas is 2.9 million
    5. This is the 13th largest state by area in the United States

Show all

Fun Facts About Kansas

A cow on a grassy hillside on a sunny day
A cow grazing on a tallgrass prairie in Flint Hills

First up are some of the best fun facts for Kansas State fans.

Kansas is well known for the "Wizard of Oz" movie

The main character in the movie, Dorothy, lived in Kansas before being transported to the Land of Oz.

Today there are re-creations of sites from the movie in Kansas. A replica of her home, and a museum about the movie (named the Oz Museum - a popular landmark in Kansas), are part of the Seward County Coronado Museum.

You can also take a tour that takes you through Dorothy's home, down the Yellow Brick Road, and to displays honoring the movie.

The World's Largest Easel is here

It is in Goodland, Kansas, and it is 80 feet tall. It is holding a large re-creation of Van Gogh's Sunflower painting.

The painting was chosen since it sits in the Sunflower State. The easel is found on Highway 24 in the town, which is an important part of the state's sunflower production.

It has over 800 caves

This is the number of known caves in the state. These caves are spread throughout the state in 51 counties. This is a huge increase from the only 30 caves that were known before 1960.

Kansas has the geographical center of the lower 48 United States

It is just two miles northwest of Lebanon, Kansas. The point was determined in 1918 and has a marker that people visit.

There is also a chapel there where people get married. The visitors to the point can mark their visit in a guestbook at the site.

Mount Sunflower is its highest point

However, the point is still quite low and blends in with the plains which make up Kansas. Mount Sunflower is 4,039 feet above sea level. This point is 3,300 feet above the lowest point in Kansas.

Pizza Hut started in Kansas

It was created by Frank and Dan Carney, two students at Wichita University. They opened a small pizza shop on a corner in Wichita. The business was an instant hit, and soon after, a second location opened in Topeka, KS.

Today, Pizza Hut has 11,000 restaurants globally. It is the largest pizza company in the world.

An undulating landscape of green grass and trees under a blue sky on a sunny day
A tallgrass prairie in Flint Hills, Kansas

Flint Hills has the most tallgrass prairie in the world

North America used to have 170 million acres of tallgrass prairie covering it. But, as people settled on the land, they removed the tallgrass prairie and converted it to farmland. Today there is only 4% of the original amount left, and most of it is in the Flint Hills.

A field with blooming sunflower plants
Kansas has an abundance of sunflowers, some growing as high as 15 meters

Kansas is nicknamed the "Sunflower State"

The nickname comes from the many sunflower species that grow in Kansas. Some of them can grow as large as 15 feet high.

The sunflower is the official flower of Kansas, which contributes to the nickname. Sunflowers are also important to the state as they were used as food by Native Americans.

A wheat field with trees and plants in the background on a sunny day
Kansas is the highest wheat producing state in the US

This state produces the most wheat in the US every year

It makes about 18% of the wheat grown in the country. Kansas produces around 319 million bushels of wheat each year, which grows on seven million acres of land. Farmers harvest wheat, as well as high amounts of grain, corn, and soybeans.

The state animal is the buffalo

The American bison was made the Kansas state animal in 1955. The American buffalo was chosen for its significant role in the state throughout history, especially for Native Americans.

The official state song is "Home on the Range"

The song was written by Brewster Higley, who lived in Smith County, Kansas. It was originally a poem, which he titled "My Western Home." But it was later set to music, and cowboys would commonly sing it. The song was made the official state song in 1947.

"Little House on the Prairie" is set in Kansas

Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the books, lived in Kansas, which is why she was inspired to set the stories in Kansas. Today her home is a museum near Independence, Kansas. It is a memory of her life, the books, and what life was like in Kansas back then.

Sumner County in Kansas is the wheat capital of the world

In the county, there are over 318 thousand acres of land designated for growing wheat. There are nearly one thousand farms in the county in total. These farms grow other crops like cotton and livestock products.

Kansas gave women voting rights before the country did

The 19th amendment gave women the right to vote. Kansas was one of the first states to ratify the amendment in 1919.

This was because they already gave women the right to vote in 1912. They were allowed to vote in all national elections, despite women in other states not being allowed to.

The state insect is the honeybee

It was made the state insect in 1976 when some school children petitioned for it. The school children gathered more than 2,000 signatures from other students across the state for this purpose.

Interesting Facts About Kansas

A view of a cottonwood tree seen through the bent trunk of another tree on a prairie
A bent cottonwood tree on a tallgrass prairie in Kansas

There are also a lot of interesting things about Kansas that you can find in this section.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower grew up here

He was born in Denison, Texas, but he moved to Kansas before his first birthday. He lived there throughout his childhood before attending the Military Academy at West Point and eventually moving back to Texas.

Reverend Sylvester Graham invented the graham cracker

He was a Presbyterian minister in Kansas. He worked many odd jobs before becoming a minister in 1826. He did little with the church, and in 1829 he invented the graham cracker.

He used unsifted, coarsely ground wheat flour to make it. After he became popular with the invention, he started lecturing and preaching more.

The state tree of Kansas is the cottonwood tree

The tree is sometimes called the eastern cottonwood tree. It was named the official state tree in 1937, and you can find at least one in every county in Kansas.

The tree was an important part of developing Kansas, as its wood was used for many early buildings. The tree typically grows to be at least 70 feet tall, sometimes as high as 100 feet tall.

A brown bird with a yellow and black colored breast, sitting on a fence post
Western meadowlark has been the state bird of Kansas since 1925

The official state bird is the western meadowlark

The bird was chosen as the state bird in 1925 during a statewide election. The western meadowlark won over the bobwhite and the northern cardinal with 125,000 votes. It was made the official state bird in 1937.

Many Native American tribes lived in Kansas

Some of the tribes who lived on the land were the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Kansa, Pawnee, and Wichita tribes. Some of these tribes were emigrant tribes, which means they had to relocate to Kansas from other states. Native Americans were constantly moved further west as the United States expanded.

The state motto is "Ad Astra per Aspera"

The motto translates to "to the stars through difficulties." It was adopted as the motto on May 25, 1861, which was the same day as the state seal. The state motto is on the state seal.

Kansas was named after one of the Native American Tribes

The name Kansas comes from the Sioux word "Konza." The word translates to "people south of the wind."

The tribes who lived in Kansas also referred to their homeland as south wind. They would also say they lived south of the wind.

John Brown was an abolitionist in Kansas

He was born in Connecticut and lived in multiple states. He moved to Kansas in 1855 where his sons were living, also as abolitionists.

He spent his time freeing slaves and working to ensure that escaped slaves stayed free. He ended up being hung as a result of his raids and abolitionist acts.

Fort Riley is a military base in this state

Fort Riley is in the Flint Hills, and it opened in 1917. Fifteen thousand active duty military members live at the fort with their 18,000 family members. There are also 29,000 veterans who live and work in the region surrounding the base.

Amelia Earhart is from Kansas

She was born in Atchison, Kansas, on July 24, 1897. She was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean alone.

In 1937, she flew across the world and disappeared during the flight. She and her co-pilot were never found, and she is still declared to be lost at sea.

Weird Facts About Kansas

Clouds looming above a vast grassland on a sunny day
Dodge City is even windier than the "Windy City," Chicago

There are also some weird facts about Kansas that are interesting to read about.

Dodge City is the windiest city in the country

Even though Chicago is called the Windy City, it only has average wind speeds of 10.4 mph. Dodge City, Kansas is much windier, with an average wind speed of 14 mph, making it the windiest city in the United States.

Kansas has many tiny towns

The town of Kelly is the smallest in terms of population, with a population of only three people. There are nine other towns with a population of 10 people or less. One of them has as many as ten people, and one has as few as four individuals.

Wirestock/Depositphotos.com
A bronze statue of a bird on a stone pedestal in front of a brick building
A Jayhawk sculpture at the Natural History Museum at the University of Kansas

People from Kansas City call themselves Jayhawks

There is no sure reason why people adopted the name Jayhawker, or where they got it from. The Jayhawk is also the mascot for Kansas University.

This state is literally flatter than a pancake

Experts did a study to compare the flatness of the state to a pancake from IHOP. The pancake was well-cooked and the two were compared in a topography comparison. With 1 being completely flat, a pancake has a flatness level of 0.957, and Kansas has a flatness of 0.9997.

A chicken with white and brown stripes, yellow eyebrows and air sac
A greater prairie chicken, one of the types found all over Kansas

It has the most prairie chickens in North America

There are two species of these fowls that live in Kansas. The first is the greater prairie chickens, which live in the grasslands. They are all over Kansas except in the southwest.

The other type is the lesser prairie chickens, which are in the rangelands of west-central and southwest Kansas.

Creepy Facts About Kansas

A tornado in a field against a gray sky - one of the weird facts about Kansas State
High susceptibility to tornadoes is one of the creepy facts about Kansas State

Ready for some creepy facts about the state of Kansas?

dustin77a/Depositphotos.com
A steel arch in the entrance to a commercial area with colorful buildings and trees
Commercial Street Mall in Atchison, a Kansas town well-known for being haunted

Haunted Atchison is a town in Kansas

The town is well known for its paranormal activities. It was a booming town in the late 1800s as people were migrating to The West.

It's unknown why Atchison has so many paranormal activities. However, this fact draws visitors from all over the country, especially in the fall.

This state had the most deaths during the Civil War

Around 8,500 men from Kansas who died in the war. More than 30,000 men from the state fought in the war.

This number is impressive since Kansas became a state in January of 1861. This was just three months before the war started.

It was part of the Wild West

People had little desire to move to the west of the Missouri River before the Gold Rush. During this time, only cowboys, explorers, hunters, and fur traders dared to travel west.

Kansas was part of the land. It was also underdeveloped and had such a small population that it was actually a wild place.

Another nickname for Kansas is "Tornado Alley"

The name encompasses more than just Kansas. It includes parts of Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, Louisiana, Iowa, and South Dakota. The nickname comes from Kansas and the surrounding states being the most susceptible to tornadoes.

Kansas has the second most tornadoes per year on average. If you measure the number of tornadoes per 1000 square miles, Kansas has the third most per year. The high humidity in Kansas, which comes from the collision of warm gulf air and cold arctic air, is a cause of the tornadoes.

Kansas History Facts

A white classical building with stairs, 6 columns and a copper dome
The Kansas State Capitol in Topeka, the state's capital city

There are a lot of historical facts about Kansas that are important to know.

People have lived here for at least 12,000 years

Archeologists have found materials dating back 12,000 years. It is believed that these people came from Asia via Alaska and made their way down to present-day Kansas. These people were the Paleoindians and were hunter-gatherers who used spears to kill animals for food and materials.

Kansas was first explored by the Spanish

Francisco Vasquez de Coronado was the governor of a province in northern Mexico. He set out on an expedition to find riches, and he took 300 horsemen, 1,000 Indian people, and 1,200 horses north. They first entered Kansas in 1541.

It was part of the Louisiana Purchase

The United States bought the land in 1803 from France, which included multiple other states. Before it was adopted into the Union in 1861, many Native American tribes lived in the state. Some of them were forced to live there by the government, who relocated them there.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act created the territory of Kansas

Stephen Douglas, a senator from Illinois, created the Nebraska Bill, now called the Kansas-Nebraska Act. He wanted to organize the Nebraska Territory, so he could connect the land to Chicago by railroad.

It created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, which were later made states. It also repealed the Missouri Compromise and started the Bleeding Kansas uprising.

Bleeding Kansas was a pre-Civil War event

It was a mini-war that took place from 1854 to 1859 between the pro and anti-slavery residents. They were fighting for control of what would soon be the state of Kansas.

The war caused a lot of damage throughout the state. Eventually, Kansas was determined to be a free state when it was admitted to the Union.

Kansas officially became a state in 1861

It was officially declared the 34th state on January 29, 1861. While it entered the Union as a free state, there were still tensions between pro-slavery and anti-slavery people. Kansas became a territory in 1854.

Cool Facts About Kansas

The sun rising over a wheat field casting a golden shadow
A Kansas Golden Wheat Field Ready For Harvest

Next up are some cool and fun Kansas facts.

It is home to the longest grain elevator in the world

The elevator is in Wichita, Kansas, and it is operated by DeBruce Grain Inc. It is a single-unit grain elevator that is made up of 310 elevators. All of them together are 2,717 feet long and 100 feet wide.

The helicopter was invented here

The patent for the helicopter was given to William Purvis and Charles Wilson who invented the helicopter in 1909. Airplanes were also commonly produced in Kansas, specifically in Wichita. Because of this, Wichita is sometimes called the "Air Capital of the World."

There is a church made of grasshoppers in this state

The First United Methodist Church in Hutchinson, Kansas, was built in 1874. This was the year of the grasshopper plague in Kansas too. Some of the grasshoppers ended up in the foundation of the church during construction, and they are still there today.

It has many state symbols

Some of the more important ones are already listed in this article, but there are others. For example, there is an official state march called The Kansas March, which was adopted in 1935.

There is also the ornate box turtle, which became the state reptile in 1986. It is prominent in the state, specifically in the prairies and pastures.

Kansas to New York North is nearly half of the distance across the US

The distance between the two states, by plane, or the crow's distance, is just over 1,300 miles. If you measure the distance across the United States from east to west from the furthest points, it is 2,800 miles. This distance is from Florida to Washington State.

Important Facts About Kansas

Aerial view of an urban area with a dome, buildings, and greenery
Aerial shot of Topeka, the capital city and 5th largest city in Kansas

Finally, here is some important information on Kansas that you should know.

Topeka is the capital of Kansas

Topeka is just west of Kansas City, and it sits on the Kansas River. The population of Topeka, Kansas is 127,000 people. With a population of 233,000 within the metropolitan area, it is the fifth largest city in the state.

Wichita is its largest city by population

In 2021, the population of Wichita was 395,699 people. Exactly 25% of the population is under 18 years old.

Aerial shot of a city filled with buildings and skyscrapers on a bright day
Aerial shot of buildings and skyscrapers in Kansas City

Kansas City is in Kansas and Missouri

There are technically two cities called Kansas City. One is in Kansas, and one is in Missouri, and they border each other.

There was a settlement where the cities are today. When the states were admitted into the Union, the cities had to be split in two, one in each state.

The population of Kansas is 2.9 million

During the 2020 census, the population was counted to be 2,937,880 people. Between the 2010 and 2020 censuses, the population increased by 3%. A majority of Kansas' population is white, with 2.2 million people identified as white in the 2020 census.

This is the 13th largest state by area in the United States

By land area, Kansas is about 82,000 square miles large. This puts it between Utah, which is just a couple hundred square miles larger, and Minnesota. Minnesota is just over 2,000 square miles smaller than Kansas.

Conclusion

The flat, tornado-filled state of Kansas is well known for its many sunflowers and its high wheat production. It is also a historical state, coming from the Louisiana Purchase and being a territory before becoming the 34th state. Pizza Hut, graham crackers, and the helicopter were all invented in Kansas. Other fun facts about the state include it being home to a grasshopper church and having the windiest city in the country.

50 is a lot, but this list is just the tip of the iceberg regarding interesting Kansas facts. Hopefully, it helped inspire you to do some fact-exploring of your own.

This article was edited by Henry Grahame.

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Written by Sarah Hartness

Sarah_Hartness WRITER I am a Chicago-based travel writer who loves to explore the Midwest and beyond. I have traveled all over the US and Europe. I look forward to going to Latin America and Asia next!


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