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Once there were great herds of the American Buffalo in Kansas. The numbers were as low as 325 head that roamed the grasslands on state game preserves and more on private ranches. By 2005, the Buffalo has regained some numbers with over 6,000 head.

1999 - 2,560,000
2000 - 2,688,418
2005 - 2,583,745

In 2000, Kansas was 32nd largest in population
Population Density: 32.7 persons per square mile making Kansas the 40th most densely population state.

The largest cities (2002) are Wichita, Kansas City, Overland Park and Topeka.  The small cities are Freeport, Oak Hill, Benedict and Frederick

Time Zone:

Most of the state is in the Central Time Zone. Hamilton, Greeley, Wallace and Sherman counties in far western Kansas are on Mountain Standard Time.


Coronado first brought his expedition into the Kansas area in 1541 searching for the wealthy land which was supposed to lie northeast of the Arkansas River. Finding only a few small villages of native Indians, they left the area. It wasn't until 250 years later that the "white man" returned. Once the Louisiana Purchase was completed in 1803, exploration took off like wildfire. Lewis & Clark briefly crossed into the Kansas area in 1804. Zebulon Pike came across in 1806. In 1819, Major Stephen Long came on a scientific exploration. By the mid-1800's, many trails were forged in Kansas by trappers and immigrants. The Chisholm Trail, the Santa Fe Trail, and the Oregon Trail are only a few of the well-traveled routes used in that day. The Missouri Compromise created "free soil", but the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which created the Kansas Territory, left many decisions up to the states to deal with, including the slavery question. There was great conflict in the area at the time of the Civil War with both northerners and southerners coming in to settle - also brining in their own view of the slavery question. By 1859, anti-slavery forces had prevailed and a provision against slavery was included in the constitution. Becoming a state in 1861, Kansas declared itself to be a "free state." Much conflict occurred due to this issue, one of the most prominent being that of pro-confederacy guerrilla, William Quantrill. He and his followers raided and ruined Lawrence Kansas in August 1863.

Kansas was well known for its cattle during the second half of the 19th century. Many wild "cowtowns" sprouted up along the various cattle drive routes. Kansas has settled down appreciably since the famous cowboy era. Kansas was also a supporter of prohibition. Carry Nation began her crusade against drink in the early 1900's here in Kansas. Other noted people of Kansas are Journalist, William Allen Wright and the Menninger family with their medical clinic in Topeka. One of the most famous of the "famous sons," of course, is our 34th US President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, from Abilene, Kansas.

The Kansas State Capitol: Construction was completed in 1903 after 37 years at a cost of $3,200,588.92. It the same building were built today, this amound would only cover the marble on the floors and walls. The Capitol building was placed on the National Historic Register in 1971. Similar in height to our nation's capitol building in Washington, D. C., it rises 304 feet from the ground floor to the top of the dome. The dome is covered with copper sheeting. There is no public access to the top. The Capitol is on a 20 acre site which was donated through the efforts of Cyrus K. Holliday, president of the early Topeka Association and one of the founders of the Santa Fe Railroad.


Kansas has many nicknames.  The official flower was chosen because of the abundance of Sunflowers growing throughout the state.  The “Sunflower State” came very logically.  Because of the large quantities of wheat grown, mills and sold in Kansas, it has also been known as the “Wheat State.”  Another thing there are lots of in Kansas are grasshoppers.  It was first named the “Grasshopper State” after the onslaught of the insects in 1874. A nickname due to the fertile soil and landscape was “Garden of the West.”  It was mainly used by promoters to urge people to move out to Kansas.  When many new settlers came out west, in the mid 1800’s, the settlers from the pro-slavery state of Missouri moved in first, virtually taking all available land before the northern free states settlers had even arrived.  Another nickname, “Bleeding Kansas” also came about due to the slavery question.  When Kansas was being considered for statehood, it would play a deciding role in either pro or con as far as slavery was concerned.  Many battles were fought over the issue, hence the nickname.

The “Jayhawker State” was another early nickname also from the mid 1800’s.  There were many border crossing raids because of the slavery issue.  A man named Pat Devlin, told about an Irish bird called the Jayhawk that lived off other birds.  This was applied to this who participated in these raids.  Eventually the name was applied only to those from Kansas and the Missouri troublemakers were called bushwhackers.

Due to its location in the center of the US, several nicknames applied such as “Midway, U.S.A.”, and the “Central State.”  As everyone knows, there are tornados at times in Kansas.  Even though Oklahoma has more tornadoes, the nickname, the “Cyclone State” was given to Kansas.

Weather & Climate:

Annual Average Temperature: 55 degrees F.
Annual Average Rainfall: 26.5 inches (Statewide) 45 inches (Southeast) 15 inches (far west)
Record high temperature: 121 degrees F on 24 July 1936 at Alton
Record low temperature: -40 degrees F. on 3 February 1904 at Lebanon

Kansas enjoys four distinct seasons. You may expect mild springs, hot summers, warm falls and chilly winters.
Western Kansas has around 300 days of sunshine each year!


Kansas claims to be the "center of things" and they may rightly claim to be just that. Near Lebanon Kansas is a marker stating the spot to be the exact geographic center of the contiguous United States. The eastern portion of the state is more rolling hills with valleys and ridges. Going west finds more flat prairie land which runs from the north to the south of the state. Further west is a gradual lifting of the land as the Rockies are closer. Some of the areas here are the Cimarron Breaks with sharp cliffs and rivers and the Smoky Hills with sandstone and limestone outcroppings. The western portion of Kansas is what is known as "high plain." Generally this area is all gently rolling hills or flat.

Longitude: 94° 38'W to 102° 1' 34"W
Latitude: 37°N to 40°N
Length: 400 miles
Width: 210 miles
Geographic center: 15 miles NE of Great Bend in Barton County at Longitude: 98° 41.9'W Latitude: 38° 29.9'N

Borders:  Nebraska on the north and Oklahoma on the south.  The eastern border is with Missouri while the western border is common with Colorado.

Total land area: 81,823 square miles
Total water area: 459 square miles
Total area: 82,252 square miles, the 15th largest state in size

The Highest point in Kansas is Mount Sunflower at 4,039 feet above sea level
The Lowest point in Kansas is the Verdigris River at 680 feet above sea level
Average elevation: 2000 feet above sea level

Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks
Route 2, Box 54A
Pratt, Kansas 67124
Phone: 316-672-5911


Road and Weather Conditions Hotline: 800-585.ROAD



Kansas Department of Commerce
Travel & Tourism
700 S. W. Harrison St., Ste 1300
Topeka, KS 66603
Toll-free: 800-252-6727 (outside of Kansas)

Official Travel & Tourism website

Kansas Chamber of Commerce
835 SW Topeka Blvd.
Topeka, KS 66612-1671
Phone: 785-357-6321
Fax: 785-357-4732

Government Links page for Kansas
Great links page for all levels of government in Kansas

Kansas History Website
Kansas GenWeb Project

Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center
1100 North Plum
Hutchinson, Kansas 67501
Phone: 316-662-2305
Toll-free: 800-397-0330
"We're Like No Other Place on Earth"
The most comprehensive space museum in the world!
One of the most comprehensive space museums in existence. Also included in the complex are: The Hall of Space Museum, The Carey IMAX Dome Theater, the Justice Planetarium Theater, the Future Astronaut Program, the Cargo Bay Gift Store and food court. Please call for hours of operation.

Kansas Herpetology
Kansas Herpetology Society


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This page was last updated 26 September 2005 at 5:10 pm

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