Kansas

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Posted by kaori 03/16/2009 @ 03:11

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INTERLEAGUE : Lohse joins pitching parade, shuts out Kansas City - Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Kyle Lohse threw eight innings of four-hit ball and the St. Louis Cardinals shut out the Kansas City Royals 5-0 for the second consecutive game Saturday, giving the rotation its fifth consecutive dominant outing. Lohse (4-3) struck out six and walked...
Recap: St. Louis vs. Kansas City - MiamiHerald.com
Bannister (4-1) yielded two runs on seven hits and a pair of walks in six frames, also adding an RBI single to help snap Kansas City's four-game slide. "I made pitches when I had to, kept pitches on the ground," Bannister said....
Cardinals activate Ankiel from DL - MLB.com
LOUIS -- Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel was activated from the disabled list on Sunday morning and was back in manager Tony La Russa's lineup for the finale of the three-game series with the Kansas City Royals, batting fifth and playing right field....
Recap: Kansas City vs. Chivas USA - MiamiHerald.com
By Sports Network Despite being down two men for the final 10 minutes of Major League Soccer action vs. league-leading Chivas USA on Saturday night at CommunityAmerica Ballpark, the Kansas City Wizards were able to earn a 1-1 draw....
Kansas City 3, St. Louis 2 - USA Today
Bannister (4-1) yielded two runs on seven hits and a pair of walks in six frames, also adding an RBI single to help snap Kansas City's four-game slide. "I made pitches when I had to, kept pitches on the ground," Bannister said....
Tribune-Herald All-Big 12 Baseball Team: A resurgence at Kansas State - Waco Tribune Herald
Such is the case for Brad Hill's Kansas State baseball team. No, Hill's Wildcats didn't win the Big 12. They didn't even finish second. But what they accomplished was no less significant. K-State's 14-11-1 record in Big 12 games this year marked the...
Royals execute myriad player moves - MLB.com
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com ST. LOUIS -- So who replaces Luke Hochevar in the Royals' rotation? Nobody, at least for now. Manager Trey Hillman said on Sunday that the Royals would get through the next 2 1/2 turns of the rotation with just four pitchers,...
One injured in Kansas City house fire - Kansas City Star
One person was taken to the hospital this afternoon after a fire broke out in a central Kansas City house. The fire was reported about 1:50 pm in the 5800 block of Wayne Avenue and the first firefighters to arrive said smoke was coming from the...
Swine flu cases hit 70 in Kansas - Kansas City Star
AP TOPEKA | A Colorado resident who became ill while traveling through Kansas is the state's latest confirmed case of swine flu. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Saturday that the state has 70 cases of the H1N1 virus....
Top seed beats KSU, will play in title game - Houston Chronicle
It's apparent, however, that the league's postseason party does matter to the top-seeded Longhorns, who moved one step away from the tournament title with a 4-2 victory over Kansas State on Saturday. “Winning a championship is something you'll never...

Kansas

Map of the United States with Kansas highlighted

The State of Kansas ( /ˈkænzəs/ (help·info)) is a Midwestern state in the central region of the United States of America, an area often referred to as the American "Heartland". It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kaw tribe, who inhabited the area. The tribe's name (natively kką:ze) is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south wind", although this was probably not the term's original meaning. Residents of Kansas are called "Kansans".

Historically, the area was home to large numbers of nomadic Native Americans who hunted bison. It was first settled by European Americans in the 1830s, but the pace of settlement accelerated in the 1850s, in the midst of political wars over the slavery issue. When officially opened to settlement by the U.S. government in 1854, abolitionist Free-Staters from New England and pro-slavery settlers from neighboring Missouri rushed to the territory to determine if Kansas would become a free state or a slave state. Thus, the area was a hotbed of violence and chaos in its early days as these forces collided, and was known as Bleeding Kansas. The abolitionists eventually prevailed and on January 29, 1861, Kansas entered the Union as a free state. After the Civil War, the population of Kansas exploded when waves of immigrants turned the prairie into productive farmland. Today, Kansas is one of the most productive agricultural states, producing many crops, and leading the nation in wheat, sorghum, and sunflower production most years.

Kansas is bordered by Nebraska on the north; Missouri on the east; Oklahoma on the south; and Colorado on the west. The state is divided up into 105 counties with 628 cities. It is located equidistant from the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans. The geographic center of the 48 contiguous states is located in Smith County near Lebanon, Kansas. The geodetic center of North America was located in Osborne County until 1983. This spot was used until that date as the central reference point for all maps of North America produced by the U.S. government. The geographic center of Kansas is located in Barton County.

The western two thirds of the state, lying in the great central plain of the United States, has a generally flat or undulating surface. However, the eastern third has many hills and forests. The land displays a gradual slope up from east to west; its altitude above the sea ranges from 684 ft (208 m) along the Verdigris River at Coffeyville in Montgomery County, to 4,039 ft (1,231 m) at Mount Sunflower, one half mile from the Colorado border, in Wallace County. It is a popular belief that Kansas is the flattest state in the nation, reinforced by a well known 2003 study stating that Kansas was indeed "flatter than a pancake." This has since been debunked, with most scientists ranking Kansas somewhere between 20th and 30th flattest state, depending on measurement method.

The Missouri River forms nearly 75 mi (121 km) of the state's northeastern boundary. The Kansas River (locally known as the Kaw), formed by the junction of the Smoky Hill and Republican rivers at appropriately-named Junction City, joins the Missouri at Kansas City, after a course of 170 mi (270 km) across the northeastern part of the state. The Arkansas River (pronunciation varies), rising in Colorado, flows with a bending course for nearly 500 mi (800 km) across the western and southern parts of the state. It forms, with its tributaries (the Little Arkansas, Ninnescah, Walnut, Cow Creek, Cimarron, Verdigris, and the Neosho), the southern drainage system of the state. Other important rivers are the Saline and Solomon Rivers, tributaries of the Smoky Hill River; the Big Blue, Delaware, and Wakarusa, which flow into the Kansas River; and the Marais des Cygnes, a tributary of the Missouri River.

Kansas contains three climate types, according to the Köppen climate classification: humid continental, semiarid steppe, and humid subtropical. The eastern two-thirds of the state has a humid continental climate, with cold winters and hot summers. Most of the precipitation falls in the summer and spring. The western third of the state has a semiarid steppe climate. Summers are hot, often very hot. Winters are cold in the northwest and cool to mild in the southwest. Also, the western region is semiarid, receiving an average of only about 16 inches (40 cm) of precipitation per year. Chinook winds in the winter can warm western Kansas all the way into the 80°F (25°C) range. The far south-central and southeastern reaches of the state have a humid subtropical climate,HOT summers, mild winters, and more precipitation than the rest of the state.

Precipitation ranges from about 46 inches (1200 mm) annually in the southeast of the state, to about 16 inches (400 mm) in the southwest. Snowfall ranges from around 5 inches (130 mm) in the fringes of the south, to 35 inches (900 mm) in the far northwest. Frost-free days range from more than 200 days in the south, to 130 days in the northwest. Thus, Kansas is the 9th or 10th sunniest state in the country, depending on the source. Western Kansas is as sunny as parts of California and Arizona.

In spite of the frequent sunshine throughout much of the state, the state is also vulnerable to strong thunderstorms, especially in the spring. Many of these storms become Supercell thunderstorms. These can spawn tornadoes, often of F3 strength or higher. According to statistics from the National Climatic Data Center, Kansas has reported more tornadoes (for the period 1 January 1950 through to 31 October 2006) than any state except for Texas - marginally even more than Oklahoma. It has also - along with Alabama - reported more F5 tornadoes than any other state. These are the most powerful of all tornadoes. Kansas averages over 50 tornadoes annually.

According to NOAA, the all time highest temperature recorded in Kansas is 121°F (49.4°C) on July 24, 1936, near Alton, and the all time low is -40°F (-40°C) on February 13, 1905, near Lebanon.

Kansas' all time record high of 121°F (49.4°C) ties with North Dakota for the fifth-highest all-time record high recorded in a state, behind California (134°F/56.7°C), Arizona (128°F/53.3°C), Nevada (125°F/51.7°C), and New Mexico (122°F/50°C).

For millennia, the land that is presently Kansas was inhabited by Native Americans. The first European to set foot in present-day Kansas was Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, who explored the area in 1541. In 1803, most of modern Kansas was secured by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Southwest Kansas, however, was still a part of Spain, Mexico, and the Republic of Texas until the conclusion of the Mexican-American War in 1848. From 1812 to 1821, Kansas was part of the Missouri Territory. The Santa Fe Trail traversed Kansas from 1821 to 1880, transporting manufactured goods from Missouri and silver and furs from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Wagon ruts from the trail are still visible in the prairie today.

In 1827, Fort Leavenworth became the first permanent settlement of white Americans in the future state. The Kansas-Nebraska Act became law on May 30, 1854, establishing the U.S. territories of Nebraska and Kansas, and opening the area to broader settlement by whites. Kansas Territory stretched all the way to the Continental Divide and included the sites of present-day Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo.

Missouri and Arkansas sent settlers into Kansas all along its eastern border. These settlers attempted to sway votes in favor of slavery. The secondary settlement of Americans in Kansas Territory were abolitionists from Massachusetts and other Free-Staters, who attempted to stop the spread of slavery from neighboring Missouri. Directly presaging the American Civil War, these forces collided, entering into skirmishes that earned the territory the name of Bleeding Kansas. Kansas was admitted to the United States as a free state on January 29, 1861, making it the 34th state to enter the Union. By that time the violence in Kansas had largely subsided. However, during the Civil War, on August 21, 1863, William Quantrill led several hundred men on a raid into Lawrence, destroying much of the city and killing nearly two hundred people. Until the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Quantrill's raid was the single bloodiest act of domestic terrorism in America. He was roundly condemned by both the conventional confederate military and the partisan rangers commissioned by the Missouri legislature. His application to that body for a commission was flatly rejected due to his pre war criminal record (see, Jones, Gray Ghosts and Rebel Riders Holt & Co. 1956, p.76).

In part as a response to the violence perpetrated by cowboys, on February 19, 1881 Kansas became the first U.S. state to adopt a Constitutional amendment prohibiting all alcoholic beverages.

As of 2007, Kansas has an estimated population of 2,775,997, which is an increase of 20,180, or 0.7%, from the prior year and an increase of 87,579, or 3.3%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 93,899 people (that is 246,484 births minus 152,585 deaths) and a decrease due to net migration of 20,742 people out of the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 44,847 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of 65,589 people. The population density of the state is 52.9 people per square mile. The center of population of Kansas is located in Chase County, at 38°27′N 96°32′W / 38.45°N 96.533°W / 38.45; -96.533, approximately three miles north of the community of Strong City.

As of 2004, the population included 149,800 foreign-born (5.5% of the state population). The largest reported ancestries in the state are: German (25.9%), Irish (11.5%), English (10.8%), American (8.8%), French (3.1%), and Swedish (2.4%). People of German ancestry are especially strong in the northwest, while those of British ancestry and descendants of white Americans from other states are especially strong in the southeast. Mexicans are present in the southwest and make up nearly half the population in certain counties. Many African Americans in Kansas are descended from the Exodusters, newly freed blacks who fled the South for land in Kansas following the Civil War.

The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 405,844; the United Methodist Church with 206,187; and the Southern Baptist Convention with 101,696.

Kansas is one of the slowest-growing states in the nation. Known as a rural exodus, the last few decades have been marked by a migratory pattern out of the countryside into cities.

Out of all the cities in these Midwestern states, 89% have fewer than 3000 people, and hundreds of those have fewer than 1000. In Kansas alone, there are more than 6,000 ghost towns, according to one Kansas historian.

At the same time, some of the communities in Johnson County (metropolitan Kansas City) are among the fastest growing in the country.

The 2003 gross domestic product of Kansas was US$97 billion, an increase of 4.3% over the prior year, but trailing the national average increase of 4.8%. Its per-capita income was US$29,438. The December 2003 unemployment rate was 4.9%. The agricultural outputs of the state are cattle, sheep, wheat, sorghum, soybeans, cotton, hogs, corn, and salt. Eastern Kansas is part of the Grain Belt, an area of major grain production in the central United States. The industrial outputs are transportation equipment, commercial and private aircraft, food processing, publishing, chemical products, machinery, apparel, petroleum and mining.

Kansas ranks 8th in U.S. oil production. Production has experienced a steady, natural decline as it becomes increasingly difficult to extract oil over time. Since oil prices bottomed in 1999, oil production in Kansas has remained fairly constant, with an average monthly rate of about 2.8 million barrels (450,000 m3) in 2004. The recent higher prices have made carbon dioxide sequestration and other oil recovery techniques more economical.

Kansas ranks 8th in U.S. natural gas production. Production has steadily declined since the mid-1990s with the depletion of the Hugoton Natural Gas Field—the state's largest field which extends into Oklahoma and Texas. In 2004, slower declines in the Hugoton gas fields and increased coalbed methane production contributed to a smaller overall decline. Average monthly production was over 32 billion cubic feet (0.9 km³).

The Kansas economy is also heavily influenced by the aerospace industry. Several large aircraft corporations have manufacturing facilities in Wichita and Kansas City, including Boeing, Beech, Cessna, Learjet, and Hawker-Beechcraft (formerly Raytheon).

Kansas has three income brackets for income tax calculation, ranging from 3.5% to 6.45%. The state sales tax in Kansas is 5.3%. Various cities and counties in Kansas have an additional local sales tax. Except during the 2001 recession (March–November 2001) when monthly sales tax collections were flat, collections have trended higher as the economy has grown and two rate increases have been enacted. Total sales tax collections for 2003 amounted to $1.63 billion, compared to $805.3 million in 1990.

Revenue shortfalls resulting from lower than expected tax collections and slower growth in personal income following a 1998 permanent tax reduction has contributed to the substantial growth in the state's debt level as bonded debt increased from $1.16 billion in 1998 to $3.83 billion in 2006. Some increase in debt was expected as the state continues with its 10-year Comprehensive Transportation Program enacted in 1999. As of June 2004, Moody's Investors Service ranked the state 14th for net tax-supported debt per capita. As a percentage of personal income, it was at 3.8%—above the median value of 2.5% for all rated states and having risen from a value of less than 1% in 1992. The state has a statutory requirement to maintain cash reserves of at least 7.5% of expenses at the end of each fiscal year.

Major company headquarters in Kansas include the Sprint Nextel Corporation (with world headquarters in Overland Park), Embarq (with national headquarters in Overland Park), YRC Corp Overland Park, Garmin in Olathe, Payless Shoes (National headquarters and major distribution facilities in Topeka), and Koch Industries (with national headquarters in Wichita).

Kansas is served by two Interstate highways with one beltway, two spur routes, and three bypasses, with over a total of 874 miles (1,407 km) in all. The first section of Interstate in the nation was opened on I-70 just west of Topeka on November 14, 1956. I-70 is a major east/west route connecting to St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri, in the east and Denver, Colorado, in the west. Cities along this route (from east to west) include Kansas City, Lawrence, Topeka, Junction City, Salina, Hays, and Colby. I-35 is a major north/south route connecting to Des Moines, Iowa, in the north and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in the south. Cities along this route (from north to south) include Kansas City (and suburbs), Ottawa, Emporia, El Dorado, and Wichita.

Spur routes serve as connections between the two major routes. I-135, a north/south route, connects I-70 at Salina to I-35 at Wichita. I-335, a northeast/southwest route, connects I-70 at Topeka to I-35 at Emporia. I-335 and portions of I-35 and I-70 make up the Kansas Turnpike. Bypasses include I-470 around Topeka and I-235 around Wichita. I-435 is a beltway around the Kansas City Metropolitan Area while I-635 bypasses through Kansas City, Kansas.

US Route 69 runs north and south, from Minnesota to Texas. The highway passes through the eastern section of Kansas, from the Kansas City area, through Louisburg, Fort Scott, Frontenac, Pittsburg, and Baxter Springs before entering Oklahoma.

Kansas also has the second largest state highway system in the country after California. This is because of the high number of counties and county seats (105) and the intertwining of them all.

In January 2004, the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) announced the new Kansas 511 traveler information service. By dialing 511, callers will get access to information about road conditions, construction, closures, detours and weather conditions for the state highway system. Weather and road condition information is updated every 15 minutes. The elaborate and efficient transportation system in Kansas has attracted praise from experts nationwide, including the former Mayor of New York City, Ed Koch, who frequents Kansas roadways.

The state's only major commercial airport is Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, located along US-54 on the western edge of the city. Most air travelers in eastern Kansas fly out of Kansas City International Airport, located in Platte County, Missouri. For those in the far western part of the state, Denver International Airport is a popular option. Connecting flights are available from smaller airports in Dodge City, Garden City, Great Bend, Hays, Manhattan, Salina, and Topeka.

The top executives of the state are Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius and Lieutenant Governor Mark Parkinson. Both officials are elected on the same ticket to a maximum of two consecutive 4-year terms. Parkinson replaced John E. Moore who served as Lt. Governor during Sebelius's first term which ended on January 8, 2007. Sebelius will not be up for re-election in 2010. The state's Attorney General is Democrat Stephen Six, a former Douglas County District Court Judge who was appointed to the post.

The legislative branch of the state government is the Kansas Legislature. The bicameral body consists of the Kansas House of Representatives, with 125 members serving two year terms, and the Kansas Senate, with 40 members serving four year terms.

Kansas has a reputation as a progressive state with many firsts in legislative initiatives—it was the first state to institute a system of workers' compensation (1910) and to regulate the securities industry (1911). Kansas also permitted women's suffrage in 1912, almost a decade before the federal constitution was amended to require it. Suffrage in all states would not be guaranteed until ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920. The council-manager government was adopted by many larger Kansas cities in the years following World War I while many American cities were being run by political machines or organized crime, notably the Pendergast Machine in neighboring Kansas City, Missouri. Kansas was also at the center of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, a 1954 Supreme Court decision that banned racially segregated schools throughout the U.S.

Kansas was one of the few states where Franklin D. Roosevelt had limited political support, winning Kansas only twice. The state backed Republicans Wendell Willkie and Thomas E. Dewey in 1940 and 1944, respectively. Kansas also supported Dewey in 1948 despite the presence of incumbent president Harry S. Truman, who hailed from Independence, Missouri, approximately 15 miles east of the Kansas-Missouri state line.

The state's current delegation to the Congress of the United States includes Republican Senators Sam Brownback of Topeka and Pat Roberts of Dodge City and Representatives Jerry Moran (R) of Hays (District 1), Lynn Jenkins (R) of Topeka (District 2), Dennis Moore (D) of Lenexa (District 3), and Todd Tiahrt (R) of Goddard (District 4).

Kansas has not elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1932, when Franklin D. Roosevelt won his first term as President in the wake of the Great Depression. This is the longest Senate losing streak for either party in a single state. Senator Sam Brownback was a candidate for the Republican party nomination for President in 2008. Brownback has stated he will not be a candidate for re-election in 2010.

Historically, Kansas has been strongly Republican. In fact, the only non-Republicans Kansas has given its electoral vote to are Populist James Weaver and Democrats Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt (twice), and Lyndon Johnson. In 2004, George W. Bush won the state's six electoral votes by an overwhelming margin of 25 percentage points with 62% of the vote. The only two counties to support Democrat John Kerry in that election were Wyandotte, which contains Kansas City, and Douglas, home to the University of Kansas, located at Lawrence. The 2008 election brought similar results as John McCain won the state with 57% of the votes. Douglas (64% Obama, 34% McCain), Wyandotte (70% Obama, 29% McCain), and Crawford County (49% Obama, 48% McCain) were the only counties in support of President Barack Obama.

The legal drinking age in Kansas is 21. In lieu of the state retail sales tax, a 10% Liquor Drink Tax is collected for liquor consumed on the licensed premises and an 8% Liquor Enforcement Tax is collected on retail purchases. Although the sale of cereal malt beverage (also known as 3.2 beer) was legalized in 1937, the first post-Prohibition legalization of alcoholic liquor did not occur until the state's constitution was amended in 1948. The following year the Legislature enacted the Liquor Control Act which created a system of regulating, licensing, and taxing, and the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) was created to enforce the act. The power to regulate cereal malt beverage remains with the cities and counties. Liquor-by-the-drink did not become legal until passage of an amendment to the state's constitution in 1986 and additional legislation the following year. As of November 2006, Kansas still has 29 dry counties and only 17 counties have passed liquor-by-the-drink with no food sales requirement. Today there are more than 2600 liquor and 4000 cereal malt beverage licensees in the state.

The state's investigative branch is the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. The Kansas Corporation Commission regulates public utilities, common carriers, oil and gas production, telecommunications companies, and motor carriers. The Kansas Department of Agriculture regulates the supply of meat, milk and eggs among other agricultural goods and services. The Secretary of Agriculture is Adrian Polansky, who heads the department as well as operating Polansky farms.

Kansas has 627 incorporated cities. By state statute, cities are divided into three classes as determined by the population obtained "by any census of enumeration." A city of the third class has a population of less than 5,000, but cities reaching a population of more than 2,000 may be certified as a city of the second class. The second class is limited to cities with a population of less than 25,000, and upon reaching a population of more than 15,000, they may be certified as a city of the first class. First and second class cities are independent of any township and are not included within the township's territory.

The northeastern portion of the state, extending from the Eastern border to Junction City and from the Nebraska border to south of Johnson County, has a rich history and is home to more than 1.5 million people in the Kansas City, Lawrence,and Topeka metropolitan areas. In the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the cities of Johnson County have some of the fastest growing populations and highest median incomes in the state and the entire country. Overland Park, a young city incorporated in 1960, has the largest population and the largest land area in the county. It is home to Johnson County Community College, the state's largest community college, and the corporate campus of Sprint Nextel, the largest private employer in the metro area. In 2006 the city was ranked as the 6th best place to live in America; the neighboring city of Olathe was 13th. Olathe is the county seat and home to Johnson County Executive Airport. The cities of Olathe, Shawnee, and Gardner have some of the state's fastest growing populations. The cities of Overland Park, Lenexa, Olathe, and Gardner are also notable because they lie along the former route of the Santa Fe Trail. Among cities with at least one thousand residents, Mission Hills has the highest median income in the state.

Several institutions of higher education are located in Northeast Kansas including Baker University (the first university in the state) in Baldwin City, MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Ottawa University in Ottawa and Overland Park, Kansas City Kansas Community College and KU Medical Center in Kansas City, and KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park. Less than an hour's drive to the west, Lawrence is home to the University of Kansas, the largest public university in the state, and Haskell Indian Nations University.

To the north, Kansas City, Kansas, with the second largest land area in the state, contains a number of diverse ethnic neighborhoods. Its attractions include the Kansas Speedway, Kansas City T-Bones and The Legends at Village West retail and entertainment center. Further up the Missouri River, the city of Lansing is the home of the state's first maximum-security prison. Historic Leavenworth, founded in 1854, was the first incorporated city in Kansas. North of the city, Fort Leavenworth is the oldest active Army post west of the Mississippi River. The city of Atchison was an early commercial center in the state and is well-known as the birthplace of Amelia Earhart.

To the west, nearly a quarter million people reside in the Topeka metropolitan area. Topeka is the state capital and home to Washburn University. Built at a Kansas River crossing along the old Oregon Trail, this historic city has several nationally registered historic places. Further westward along Interstate 70 and the Kansas River is Junction City with its historic limestone and brick buildings and nearby Fort Riley, well-known as the home to the U.S. Army's 1st Infantry Division, also known as the "Big Red One." A short distance away, the city of Manhattan is home to Kansas State University, the second largest public university in the state and the nation's oldest land-grant university, dating back to 1863. South of the campus, Aggieville dates back to 1889 and is the state's oldest shopping district of its kind.

In south-central Kansas, the four-county Wichita metropolitan area is home to nearly 600,000 people. Wichita is the largest city in the state in terms of both land area and population. 'The Air Capital' is a major manufacturing center for the aircraft industry and the home of Wichita State University. Wichita Falls was the Dallas Cowboys training camp in 2001 Hank Hill tried to convince the Dallas Cowboys to move their training camp from Wichita to Arlen Texas. With a number of nationally registered historic places, museums, and other entertainment destinations, it has a desire to become a cultural mecca in the Midwest. Although Wichita's population growth has been anemic in recent years, surrounding suburbs are among the fastest growing cities in the state. The population of Goddard has grown by more than 11% per year since 2000. Other fast-growing cities include Andover, Maize, Park City, Derby, and Haysville.

Up river (the Arkansas River) from Wichita is the city of Hutchinson. The city was built on one of the world's largest salt deposits, and it has the world's largest and longest wheat elevator. It is also the home of Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, Prairie Dunes Country Club and the Kansas State Fair. North of Wichita along Interstate 135 is the city of Newton, the former western terminal of the Santa Fe Railroad and trailhead for the famed Chisholm Trail. To the southeast of Wichita are the cities of Winfield and Arkansas City with historic architecture and the Cherokee Strip Museum (in Ark City). The city of Udall was the site of the deadliest tornado in Kansas on May 25, 1955; it killed 80 people in and near the city. To the southwest of Wichita is Freeport, the state's smallest incorporated city (population 8).

Located midway between Kansas City, Topeka, and Wichita in the heart of the Bluestem Region of the Flint Hills, the city of Emporia has several nationally registered historic places and is the home of Emporia State University, well-known for its Teachers College. It was also the home of newspaper man William Allen White.

Southeast Kansas Southeast Kansas has a unique history with a number of nationally registered historic places in this coal-mining region. Located in Crawford County (dubbed the Fried Chicken Capital of Kansas), Pittsburg is the largest city in the region and the home of Pittsburg State University. The neighboring city of Frontenac in 1888 was the site of the worst mine disaster in the state in which an underground explosion killed 47 miners. "Big Brutus" is located a mile and a half outside the city of West Mineral. Along with the restored fort, historic Fort Scott has a national cemetery designated by President Lincoln in 1862.

Central and North-Central Kansas Salina is the largest city in central and north-central Kansas. South of Salina is the small city of Lindsborg with its numerous Dala horses. Much of the architecture and decor of this town has a distinctly Swedish style. To the east along Interstate 70, the historic city of Abilene was formerly a trailhead for the Chisholm Trail and was the boyhood home of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. To the west is Lucas, the Grassroots Art Capital of Kansas.

Westward along the Interstate, the city of Russell, traditionally the beginning of sparsely-populated northwest Kansas, is the home of former U.S. Senator Bob Dole and the boyhood home of U.S. Senator Arlen Specter. The city of Hays is home to Fort Hays State University and the Sternberg Museum of Natural History, and is the largest city in the northwest with a population of around 20,000. Two other landmarks are located in smaller towns in Ellis County: the "Cathedral of the Plains" is located 10 miles (16 km) east of Hays in Victoria, and the boyhood home of Walter Chrysler is 15 miles (24 km) west of Hays in Ellis. West of Hays, population drops dramatically, even in areas along I-70, and only two towns containing populations of more than 3,000: Colby and Goodland, which are located 35 milies apart along I-70.

Southwest Kansas Southwest Kansas, and Dodge City in particular, is famously known for the cattle drive days of the late 19th century. The city of Dodge was built along the old Santa Fe Trail route. The city of Liberal is located along the southern Santa Fe Trail route. The first wind farm in the state was built east of Montezuma. Garden City has the Lee Richardson Zoo.

Education in Kansas is governed primarily by the Kansas State Board of Education (web). Twice the Board has approved changes in the state science curriculum standards that encouraged the teaching of intelligent design. Both times, the standards were reversed after changes in the composition of the board in the next election.

Persons in western Kansas may sometimes support the major league teams in Denver. Many people who live close to the Oklahoma state line support the Dallas Cowboys. All Chiefs games are televised throughout Kansas by television stations in Topeka and Wichita, and Broncos and Cowboys games which do not conflict with Chiefs telecasts are also broadcast across the state.

Two major auto racing facilities are located in Kansas. The Kansas Speedway located in Kansas City hosts races of the NASCAR, IRL, and ARCA circuits. Also, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) holds drag racing events at Heartland Park Topeka.

Kansas is also the home to many fictional sports teams. In the show ], the Metropolis Sharks' are located in Metropolis, Kansas. Other teams in Metropolis are include: Metropolis Meteors, Metropolis Metros (football); Metropolis Monarchs, Metropolis Meteors (baseball); Metropolis Generals (basketball); and Metropolis Mammoths (hockey).

While there are no franchises of the four major professional sports within the state, many Kansans are fans of the state's major college sports teams, especially the Wildcats of Kansas State University, known as "KSU" or "K-State" by many and the Jayhawks of the University of Kansas, commonly referred to as "KU." Wichita State University, which also fields teams (called the Shockers) in Division I of the NCAA, is best known for its baseball program, winning the College World Series in 1989.

Both KU and K-State have tradition-rich programs in men's college basketball. The Jayhawks are a perennial national power, ranking third in all-time victories among NCAA programs, behind Kentucky and North Carolina. The Jayhawks are also the reigning national champions of men's college basketball, winning the 2008 NCAA Tournament in April for their fifth national crown (third NCAA tournament title). K-State also had a long stretch of success on the hardwood, lasting from the 1940s to the 1980s. Kansas State returned to the NCAA tournament in 2008 for the first time in 12 years. KU is tied for 4th all-time with 13 Final Four appearances, while K-State is tied for 17th with 4 appearances in the Final Four. Wichita State has made 1 Final Four appearance.

However, success on the football field has been infrequent for either team. When the two teams met in 1987, KU's record was 1-7 and K-State's was 0-8. Fittingly, the Governor's Cup that year, dubbed the "Toilet Bowl" by the media, ended in a 17-17 tie when the Jayhawks blocked a last-second K-State field goal attempt. There have been recent breakthroughs for both schools. KU won the Orange Bowl for the first time in three tries in January 2008, capping a 12-1 season, the best in school history. K-State was historically one of the worst college football programs in the country, until Bill Snyder arrived to coach the Wildcats in 1989. He turned K-State into a national force for most of the 1990s and early 2000s, until he retired after the 2005 season. The team won the Fiesta Bowl in 1997 and took the Big 12 Conference championship in 2003.

Notable success has also been achieved by the state's smaller schools in football. Pittsburg State University, a NCAA Division II participant, has claimed three national titles in football, two in the NAIA and most recently the 1991 NCAA Division II national title. Pittsburg State became the winningest NCAA Division II football program in 1995. PSU passed Hillsdale College at the top of the all-time victories list in the 1995 season on its march to the national runner-up finish. The Gorillas, in 96 seasons of intercollegiate competition, have accumulated 579 victories – posting a 579-301-48 overall mark.

Washburn University, in Topeka, won the NAIA Men's Basketball Championship in 1987. The Fort Hays State University men won the 1996 NCAA Division II title with a 34-0 record, and the Washburn women won the 2005 NCAA Division II crown. St. Benedict's College (now Benedictine College), in Atchison, won the 1954 and 1967 Men's NAIA Basketball Championships.

In 1992-93, KU became the second college program to participate in a football bowl game, the NCAA men's basketball tournament, and the College World Series in the same academic year. And in the 2007-08 academic year, KU's football and basketball programs set an NCAA Division I record for most combined victories with 49 total victories (12 in football and 37 in basketball).

Amelia Earhart (aviation pioneer), Carrie Nation (temperance activist), former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Vice President Charles Curtis, and former presidential candidates Bob Dole and Alf Landon called Kansas their home. NASA astronauts Ronald Evans, Joe Engle, and Steve Hawley also lived in Kansas.

Kansas was also home to Danny Carey (musician), Del Close (comdedian/actor), Inger Stevens (actress),Vivian Vance (actress), Samuel Ramey (opera singer), Louise Brooks (actress), Annette Bening (actress), Bill Kurtis (Journalist), Jack Cafferty (Journalist}, John Brown (abolitionist), Langston Hughes (poet), Gordon Parks (photographer, movie director, musician, author), Fatty Arbuckle (actor), William Inge (writer), Dennis Hopper (actor), Kelli McCarty (actress and Miss USA 91), Buster Keaton (actor), Coleman Hawkins (Jazz musician), Martina McBride (Country Singer), Joe Walsh (Musician), Chely Wright (Country Musician), Melissa Etheridge (musician), Kirstie Alley (actress), Paul Rudd (actor), Sarah Lancaster (actress), Charlie Parker (Jazz musician), Mike Jerrick (network journalist), Steve Doocy (network journalist, author), Campbell Brown (network journalist), Jeff Probst (Survivor host), Melissa McDermott (Journalist), Phil McGraw (psychologist), and William Allen White (editor). And members of the progressive rock band Kansas: Dave Hope (bass), Phil Ehart (drums, percussion), and Kerry Livgren (guitars, keyboards, synthesizers) formed the group named Kansas in 1970 in their hometown of Topeka, along with vocalist Lynn Meredith from Manhattan, Kansas.

Famous athletes from Kansas include Clint Bowyer, Braden Looper, Johnny Damon, Kyle Farnsworth, Wes Santee, Joe Carter, Wilt Chamberlain, George Brett, Barry Sanders, Gale Sayers, Darren Sproles, John H. Outland, Steve Fritz, Billy Mills, Jim Ryun, Walter Johnson, Jackie Stiles, Scott Fulhage, Caroline Bruce, John Riggins, Maurice Greene, Kendra Wecker, and Lynette Woodard. Kansas was also home to coaches James Naismith, Larry Brown, Phog Allen, Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp, Ralph Miller, Gene Keady, Lon Kruger, John Calipari, Roy Williams, Glen Mason, Tex Winter, Dana Altman, Mark Turgeon, Bill Self, Bill Snyder, and Eddie Sutton.

Famous fictional residents include Marshal Matt Dillon from the TV show Gunsmoke, Mary Ann Summers of Gilligan's Island, Dennis Mitchell (Dennis the Menace), Dean and Sam Winchester from the TV show Supernatural, Clark Kent/Superman, Liz Sherman, Lt. Col. Cameron Mitchell of Stargate SG-1, Walter and India Bridge from Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, Jonas Nightengale from Leap of Faith, and Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz.

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Kansas Territory

The Territory of Kansas was an organized territory of the United States that existed from May 30, 1854, until January 29, 1861, when Kansas became the 34th U.S. state admitted to the Union.

The territory extended from the Missouri border west to the summit of the Rocky Mountains and from the 37th parallel north north to the 40th parallel north. Much of the eastern region of what is now the State of Colorado was part of Kansas Territory. The Territory of Colorado was created to govern this western region of the former Kansas Territory on February 28, 1861.

Kansas Territory was established by the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The Kansas-Nebraska Act became law on May 30, 1854, establishing the Nebraska Territory and Kansas Territory. The most momentous provision of the Act in effect repealled the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and allowed the settlers of Kansas Territory to determine by popular sovereignty whether Kansas would be a free state or a slave state.

Within a few days after the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, hundreds of Missourians crossed into the adjacent territory, selected a section of land, and then united with fellow-adventurers in a meeting or meetings, intending to establish a pro-slavery preemption upon all this region.

As early as June 10, 1854, the Missourians held a meeting at Salt Creek Valley, a trading post three miles west from Fort Leavenworth, at which a "Squatter's Claim Association" was organized. They said they were in favor of making Kansas a slave state if it should require half the citizens of Missouri, musket in hand, to emigrate there. According to these emigrants, abolitionists would do well not to stop in Kansas Territory, but keep on up the Missouri River until they reach Nebraska Territory, which was anticipated to be a free state. Before the first arrival of Free-State emigrants from the northern and eastern States, nearly every desirable location along the Missouri River had been claimed by men from western Missouri, by virtue of the preemption laws.

During the long debate that preceded the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, it had become the settled opinion at the North that the only remaining means whereby the territory might yet be rescued from the grasp of the slave power, was in its immediate occupancy and settlement by anti-slavery emigrants from the free states in sufficient numbers to establish free institutions within its borders. The desire to facilitate the colonization of the Territory took practical shape while the bill was still under debate in the United States Congress. The largest organization created for this purpose was the New England Emigrant Aid Company, organized by Eli Thayer.

Emigration from the free states, including New England, Iowa, Ohio, and other Midwestern states, flowed into the territory beginning in 1854. These emigrants were known as Free-Staters. Because Missourians had claimed much of the land closest to the border, the Free-Staters were forced to establish settlements further into Kansas Territory, as at Lawrence (the first established), Topeka, and Manhattan.

To protect themselves against the encroachments of non-residents, the "Actual Settlers' Association of Kansas Territory" was formed. This association held a meeting on August 12, 1854, the object being the adoption of some regulations that should afford protection to the Free-State settlers, under laws not unlike those adopted by the pro-slavery squatters in the border region east.

On March 30, 1855 "Border Ruffians" from Missouri invaded Kansas during the territory's first legislative election and forced the election of a pro-slavery Territorial Legislature. The general facts concerning the Missouri invasion of the ballot boxes at the election were known throughout Kansas from the day after the election. The Pro-slavery residents, with their allies over the Missouri border, considered it a fair victory, fairly won. The Missourians had gone over to the various precincts in Kansas in overwhelming numbers, and elected a Pro-slavery Legislature. Antislavery candidates prevailed in only one election district, in the future Riley County, where Manhattan had just been situated.

The first session of the legislature was actually held in Pawnee, Kansas (near modern-day Ft. Riley) at the request of Governor Reeder. The two-story stone legislature building still stands to this day as the first Territorial Capitol of Kansas. The building remained as the seat for the legislature for only five days, from July 2-6, 1855, as the proslavery forces voted to move east to be nearer to Missouri, with the next session to be held at the Shawnee Methodist Mission.

James H. Lane became involved in the Free-State movement in Kansas in 1855. He was often called the leader of "Jayhawkers" movement in Kansas. The first Free-state convention was held in Lawrence on the evening of June 8, 1855, in response to a call signed "Sundry Citizens," "for the purpose of considering matters of general interest to the Territory." Whereas they stated, certain persons from the neighboring State of Missouri have, from time to time, made irruptions into this territory, and have fraud and force driven from and overpowered our people at the ballot-box, and have forced upon us a Legislature which does not represent the opinions of the legal voters of this Territory. Many of its members not being even residents of this Territory, but having their homes in the State of Missouri.

These people used violence toward the persons and property of the inhabitants of the territory. The convention resolved in favor of making Kansas a free Territory, and as a consequence, a free State; the convention looked upon the conduct of a portion of the people of Missouri in the late Kansas election as a gross outrage on the elective franchise and rights of freemen and a violation of the principles of popular sovereignty. The convention members did not feel bound to obey any law of illegitimate legislature enacted and opposed the establishment of slavery. The convention reserved the right to invoke the aid of the General Government against the lawless course of the slavery propaganda with reference to the Territory.

There was held in the public hall in Lawrence a "Ratification Convention." It was a general ratification of all that had been done and showed most conclusively that thereafter there was a united force in Kansas pledged to freedom which no opposing powers could intimidate nor inward dissensions divide.

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Wichita, Kansas

Location in the state of Kansas

Wichita (IPA: /ˈwɪtʃɪtaː/; WICH-i-tar), is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Kansas, and the county seat of Sedgwick County. The 2006 estimated population of 361,420 makes it the 51st largest city in the U.S. Wichita is located in south central Kansas on the Arkansas River.

Wichita was incorporated in 1870, based on the success of businessmen who came to hunt and trade with native populations. Its position on the Chisholm Trail made it a destination for cattle drives headed north to access railroads to eastern markets. In the 20th century, aircraft pioneers such as Clyde Cessna and Walter Beech began projects that would lead to Wichita's establishment as the "Air Capital of the World". The aircraft corporations Stearman, Cessna, Mooney and Beech were all founded in Wichita in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft remain based in Wichita today, along with Learjet and Spirit AeroSystems, and both Airbus and Boeing maintain a workforce in Wichita.

Wichita has also evolved into a cultural and entertainment center. The vital downtown district offers nightclubs, restaurants, shopping centers, museums and parks. A 15,000 seat arena in the middle of Wichita is under construction with completion slated January 2010. Several universities are in Wichita, the largest being Wichita State University with an enrollment of 15,000 students.

In July 2006, CNN/Money and Money magazine ranked Wichita 9th on its list of the 10 best U.S. big cities in which to live. In 2008, MSN Real Estate ranked Wichita 1st on its list of best affordable cities.

Wichita was also the location of one of the most infamous, and now solved, serial murder cold cases in US history. The BTK Strangler murdered 10 people between 1974 and 1991. When BTK reemerged in 2004, a task force led by Lt. Kenneth Landwehr identified and arrested compliance officer Dennis Rader, who subsequently pled guilty to all 10 murders.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 138.9 square miles (360 km2), 3.2 square miles (8.3 km2) of which is water.

Wichita has a humid subtropical climate (Koppen Cfa) with hot, humid summers and cool to cold, dry winters. Over the course of a year, temperatures range from an average low of about 20 °F (−7 °C) in January to an average high of nearly 93 °F (34 °C) in July. The maximum temperature reaches 90 °F (32 °C) an average of 64 days per year and reaches 100 °F (38 °C) an average of 14 days per year. The minimum temperature falls below 32 °F (0 °C) an average of 108 days per year. The first fall freeze typically occurs between the second week of October and mid-November, and the last spring freeze occurs between the end of March and the final week of April.

The area receives over 30 inches (760 mm) of precipitation during an average year, with the largest share being received in May and June—with a combined 21 days of measurable precipitation. During a typical year, the total amount of precipitation may be anywhere from 22 to 40 inches (560 to 1,000 mm). There are on average 88 days of measurable precipitation per year. Winter snowfall averages almost 17 inches (43 cm), but the median is less than 8 inches (20 cm). Measurable snowfall occurs an average of 11 days per year with at least an inch of snow being received on five of those days. Snow depth of at least an inch occurs an average of 18 days per year.

The area is vulnerable to severe weather, with frequent thunderstorms occurring mainly during the spring and summer months of March-June. These occasionally bring large hail as well as frequent lightning. Sometimes tornadoes occur. The outskirts of Wichita were affected during the Andover, Kansas Tornado Outbreak on April 26, 1991, which spawned an F5 tornado—the most violent of its kind. During the 1999 Oklahoma tornado outbreak, on May 3, 1999, an F4 tornado hit the town of Haysville, which then tracked north and hit the southwest edge of Wichita.

Wichita's population was estimated to be 357,698 in the year 2006, an increase of 6188, or +1.8%, over the previous six years.

The Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses Sedgwick, Butler, Harvey, and Sumner counties, has an estimated population of 596,452 residing in 245,159 households, making it the 84th largest MSA in the United States. The Wichita-Winfield Combined Statistical Area also includes Cowley County, and has an estimated population of 630,703. Nearby Reno County is not a part of the Wichita MSA or CSA, but the Census reported a population estimate of 63,832 in Reno County in 2003.

As of the U.S. Census in 2000, there were 344,284 people, 139,087 households, and 87,763 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,536.1/sq mi (979.2/km²). There were 152,119 housing units at an average density of 1,120.6/sq mi (432.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 75.20% White, 15.62% Black or African American, 3.96% Asian, 1.16% Native American, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 5.10% from other races, and 3.10% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.62% of the population.

Of the 139,087 households, 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.3% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.9% were non-families. 31.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the city the population was spread out, with 27.1% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 97.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $39,939, and the median income for a family was $49,247. Males had a median income of $36,457 versus $25,844 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,647. About 8.4% of families and 11.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.4% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.

Following the incorporation of the city in 1870, rapid immigration resulted in a land boom involving speculation into the late 1880s. By 1890 Wichita had become the third largest city in the state (behind Kansas City and Topeka), with a population of nearly 24,000. After the boom the city suffered from 15 years of comparative depression and slow growth.

The early 20th century saw a resurgence in growth from the nascent aircraft industry (see below) with the population increasing by 350% between 1900 and 1930. By 1920 Wichita had entered the top 100 largest cities in the United States and by 1930 reached 77th in rank. The depression of the 1930s again slowed growth, with total population only increasing by 3% between 1930 and 1940. The decades during and after World War II saw a growth spurt as the city's population increased by more than 120% between 1940 and 1960. Wichita had become the largest city in the state by 1950 and the 51st largest city in the country by 1960.

The period between 1950 and 1970 saw a major shift in the city's racial make-up, as the proportion of blacks in the population increased significantly. Until 1950, blacks had made up about 5% of the population, with little variation. The black population increased from 8,082 (4.8%) in 1950 to 26,841 (9.7%) in 1970. Even as the white population has increased from 160,000 in 1950 to about 260,000 in 2000, the percentage of the population has dropped from 95% to 75%.

During the 1970s, the city's population only grew by 1%, but the growth rate accelerated in the following two decades to more than 13% in the 1990s. The growth in minority races is still strong. The black population has grown by a more modest 14% per decade, but the proportion of the other races, including indigenous Americans and immigrants from Asia and the Pacific Rim, has risen from just 1% to over 10% of the population.

Most residents of Wichita travel around the region by automobile. The Kansas Turnpike (Interstate 35), Interstates 135 and 235, U.S. Route 54/400, and K-96 run through and near the city. Currently the idea of a Northwest Corridor is under discussion, to run from K-96 south from Maize to US-54/400.

The Wichita Transit Authority operates 51 buses on 18 fixed bus routes within the city.

The nearest Amtrak station is in Newton (20 miles/32 km to the north), offering service on the Southwest Chief route between Los Angeles and Chicago. However, the Kansas Department of Transportation recently requested Amtrak study route options between Oklahoma City and Newton or Kansas City, Missouri.

Wichita is home to Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, the largest airport in the state of Kansas. Flights from Wichita's airport travel to many U.S. airport hubs via 9 commercial carriers. Mid-Continent is currently experiencing a period of growth, and served a record 1.6 million passengers in 2007. However, besides hotel shuttles there is at present only a limited 6-day-a-week hourly daytime bus service to and from the airport, and no rail connection.

Colonel James Jabara Airport is a general aviation facility located on the city's northeast side.

Wichita has several recognized areas and neighborhoods. The downtown area is generally considered to be east of the Arkansas River, west of Washington Street, north of Kellogg and south of 13th Street. The downtown area contains landmarks such as Century II, the Garvey Center, and the Epic Center. Old Town is also part of downtown; this 2-3 square mile area is home to a cluster of night clubs, bars, restaurants, a movie theater, shops, and apartments and condominiums, many of which make use of historical warehouse-type spaces.

The two most notable residential areas of Wichita are Riverside and College Hill. Riverside is northwest of the downtown area, across the Arkansas River, and surrounds the 120-acre (0.49 km2) Riverside Park. College Hill is east of the downtown area, south of Wichita State University. College Hill is one of the more historic neighborhoods, along with Delano on the west side and Midtown in the north-central city.

The town of Eastborough, Kansas is east of College Hill, entirely engulfed by the city of Wichita.

Wichita is also home to two major shopping malls: Towne East Square and Towne West Square, on opposite ends of town, and each managed by Simon Property Group. Each mall is home to five anchor stores, and has more than 100 tenants apiece. The oldest mall, Wichita Mall, is largely a dead mall. There is another mall in the Northeastern part of the city called the Bradley Fair Mall. As of April 2007, it had 52 stores and restaurants.

The City of Wichita is a cultural center for Kansas, home to several art and history museums and performing arts groups. The Music Theatre of Wichita and Wichita Symphony Orchestra perform regularly at the Century II Convention Hall downtown. The Orpheum Theatre, built in 1922, serves as a downtown venue for smaller shows.

The city is scattered with small art galleries with some clustered in the districts of Old Town, Delano and south Commerce street. These galleries started the Final Friday Gallery crawl event, where visitors tour attractions for free in the evening on the last Friday of each month. Larger museums began participating and staying open late on Final Fridays shortly after its beginning.

The Wichita Art Museum is the largest art museum in the state of Kansas, and contains 7,000 works in permanent collections. This museum is a hub of the city's museums along the Arkansas River: the Mid-America All-Indian Center, Old Cowtown living history museum, Exploration Place science and discovery center, The Keeper of the Plains statue, and Botanica, The Wichita Gardens. Botanica boasts 24 themed gardens including the popular Butterfly Garden and the award-winning Sally Stone Sensory Garden.

The Sedgwick County Zoo in the northwest part of Wichita is the most popular outdoor tourist attraction in the state of Kansas, and is home to more than 2,500 animals representing 500 different species. The zoo is next to Sedgwick county park and Sedgwick County Extension Arboretum.

The Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum in downtown Wichita occupies the original Wichita city hall, built in 1892. The museum contains artifacts that tell the story of Wichita and Sedgwick County starting from 1865 and continuing to the present day.

Slightly east of downtown, Old Town was transformed in the early 1990s from an old warehouse district to a mixed-zone neighborhood with residential space, nightclubs, restaurants, hotels and museums, including the Great Plains Transportation Museum and Museum of World Treasures.

The Ulrich Museum of Art and Lowell D. Holmes Museum of Anthropology are part of Wichita State University.

The Wichita River Festival is held each May in the Downtown and Old Town areas of the city. It is one of the longest continuous running festivals in the state of Kansas and features over 70 events, including musical entertainment, sporting events, traveling exhibits, cultural and historical activities, plays, interactive children's events, a flea market, river events, a parade, block parties, a food court, fireworks and souvenirs for the roughly 370,000+ patrons who attend each year.

The River Run, a 10K race held on the first Saturday of the festival, is the largest road race in Kansas.

The Wichita Eagle began circulation in 1872 and remains the major daily newspaper in Wichita. There is also a weekly business newspaper, the The Wichita Business Journal.

Monthly publications include Wichita Magazine, The Urban News, The Chronicle, The WestSide Story, and the East Wichita News.

See Broadcast Media in Wichita for the full list of local terrestrial television stations.

Cable television service for Wichita and the surrounding areas is provided by Cox Communications and AT&T.

Disc golf is a popular activity in Wichita. There are two eighteen hole disc golf courses (with alternate pads): Oak Park in the Riverside Area and Herman Hill Park at Pawnee and Broadway. Other courses in the metro area are listed at the Kansas Disc Golf site.

The site on the two rivers has served as a trading center for nomadic peoples for the last 11,000 years. The area was visited by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado in 1541, while he was in search of the fabulous "cities of gold." While there, he encountered a group of Indians whom he called Quiviras and who have been identified by archeological and historical studies as Wichita Indians. By 1719 these people had moved south to Oklahoma, where they met French traders. The first permanent settlement in Wichita was a collection of grass houses inhabited by the Wichita Indians in 1863. They had moved back to Wichita from Oklahoma during the American Civil War due to their pro-Union sentiments. The city was officially incorporated in 1870. Shortly thereafter it became a railhead destination for cattle drives from Texas and other south-western points, from whence it has derived its nickname of "Cowtown." It quickly gained a wild reputation, and had numerous well known lawmen pass through, employed to help keep the rowdy cowboys in line. Among those lawmen was Wyatt Earp.

Wichita reached national fame in 1900 when Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) member Carrie Nation decided to carry her crusade against alcohol to Wichita. On December 27 of that year she entered the Carey House bar in downtown Wichita and smashed the place with a rock and a pool ball. She had visited all the bars in Wichita the night before and demanded that they close their doors. However, the painting by John Noble of Cleopatra at the Roman Bath in the Carey House had drawn her particular wrath.

In 1914-1915, oil was discovered nearby and Wichita became a major oil center. The money derived from oil allowed local entrepreneurs to invest in a nascent airplane industry. In 1917, the first plane, the Cessna Comet, was manufactured in Wichita. Forty-three Swallows, the first airplanes made specifically for production, were built in Wichita between 1920 and 1923. This industry, coinciding with Wichita becoming a test center for new aviation, established Wichita as the "Air Capital." Lloyd Stearman and Walter Beech were employees of the Swallow Aircraft Company, but in January 1925 they left Swallow Aircraft and teamed up with Clyde Cessna to form Travel Air. Lloyd Stearman left the company in 1926 to start Stearman Aircraft in Venice, California. Cessna quit in January 1927 to start Cessna. Stearman would only be gone from Wichita for a year before returning.

Travel Air, with Walter Beech at the helm, grew to over 600 employees and operated from a huge factory complex constructed from 1927 to 1929. Due to employing so many workers at such a large complex and being a few miles outside the city limits, it was tagged "Travel Air City" by Wichita residents. The company merged with the huge Curtis Wright Corporation in the Roaring Twenties' heyday of company buyouts and takeovers just two months before the Stock Market crash in 1929. Workers were laid off by the hundreds during 1930 and more so in 1931. By the fall of 1932 all workers of Travel Air in Wichita were let go, the equipment was sold and the entire Travel Air plant sat empty.

In March 1932 Walter quit Curtis Wright to form Beech Aircraft with his wife Olive Ann and hired Ted Wells as his chief engineer. The first four or five "Beechcraft" were built in the vacant Cessna Aircraft plant which was also closed during the depression. Beech later leased and then bought the Travel Air plant from Curtis Wright and men, machinery, and an airplane or two were moved from the Cessna plant. The first aircraft was the Model 17, later dubbed the "Staggerwing", which was first flown on November 5, 1932. The aircraft that would propel the small company into a huge corporation was the Model 18 "Twin Beech", of which thousands were built from 1937 to 1969. The Staggerwing production ended in 1946 with approximately 750 built, and a few more were assembled from parts in 1947. The Staggerwing production was replaced by the Beechcraft Bonanza, although there are still nearly 100 Staggerwings in existence, most in usable condition.

In October of 1932 orchestra leader Gage Brewer introduced the electric guitar to the world from Wichita using an instrument developed by what would later become known as the Rickenbacker Guitar Company.

Wichita was also a significant entrepreneurial business center during the pre and post-war period, with Coleman, Mentholatum, Pizza Hut, White Castle, Taco Tico and Koch Industries having all been founded in Wichita. (Ironically, White Castle closed all of their restaurants in Wichita in 1938 and has not operated in the state of Kansas after a failed revival attempt in the Kansas City area in the early 1990s.) The entrepreneurial spirit of Wichita led to the creation one of the first academic centers to study and support entrepreneurship at The Wichita State University Center for Entrepreneurship.

Recent history has seen increased development in downtown and to the east and west sides of Wichita. Sedgwick County voters recently approved a sales tax raise to build a new arena downtown to replace the aging Kansas Coliseum, located north of the city. This is considered by some as a stepping stone to launch new development downtown.

The majority of Wichita's students are served by Wichita Public Schools (USD 259), although portions of Wichita are served by the Derby (USD 260), Haysville (USD 261), Maize (USD 266), Valley Center (USD 262), Goddard (USD 265) and Circle (USD 375) school districts. The largest private schools are Bishop Carroll Catholic High School, The Independent School, Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School, Trinity Academy and Wichita Collegiate School.

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Source : Wikipedia