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Crazy Laws in the State of Kansas and Fun Facts
Crazy Laws in the State of Kansas and Fun Facts
Remember when I wrote “Why Did the Chicken Really Cross the Road?’
Well, Topeka, Kansas has a crazy law that forbids dead chickens from crossing the avenue. I kid you not.
Are these crazy state laws getting crazier and crazier? Or is it just me?
Crazy State Laws in Kansas
• Hunting rabbits in a motorboat is prohibited.
I didn’t know rabbits had motorboats.
• Pedestrians crossing the highways at night must wear tail lights.
What is this obsession with pedestrians wearing tail lights at night? I have already found this crazy bizarre law in Indiana as well.
• No one may catch fish with his bare hands.
Ain't that the truth?
• The state game rule prohibits the use of mules to hunt ducks.
Whaaat? I’ve heard of duck decoys, duck whistles, and duck blinds . . . but duck mules?
• If two trains meet on the same track, neither shall proceed until the other has passed.
On the same track? How is that possible?
• It is illegal to hunt whales.
Were those lawmakers aware that the state of Kansas is located smack dab in the middle of the country with no ocean in sight?
Crazy City Laws in Kansas
• In Derby – opening or damaging a coin-operated machine is illegal.
Better think twice before you punch that soda machine that failed to deliver your drink.
• “Any person within the corporate limits of the city who urinates upon any highway, street, alley or upon the premises of any public place or building or upon private property … shall upon conviction be subject to a fine of not more than $500.00 or imprisonment for not more than 30 days.”
Just wonderin’ – What if you are a person using a restroom ‘upon the premises of any public place,’ etc.?
• It is unlawful for any person while operating a motor vehicle … to accelerate or speed the vehicle in such a manner as to cause the tires to screech.
If your tires you screech, a jail cell you will reach.
• No one may wear a bee in their hat.
Do you think this is where the phrase, ‘bee in your bonnet,’ originated?
• In Dodge City – it is illegal to spit on a sidewalk.
This city has come full circle from being one of the most lawless towns in the old West.
• In Lawrence – to warn horses of your arrival, you must honk your horn when entering city limits.
What if you are not driving a car?
• In Overland Park – picketing at a funeral service is not allowed unless you do it 60 minutes before or after the service.
If you have a grievance with the deceased, it would appear your timing is poor.
• In Salina – it is against the law to leave your car running unattended.
Not to worry. It will not be unattended for long. Trust me.
• In Topeka – no dead animals or garbage may be hauled across Kansas Avenue.
So … dead chickens may not cross the road!
• It is against the law to have weeds in your yard.
Not just ‘weed’ but any weeds.
• Yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling or singing on the public streets, between the hours of 11:00 pm and 7:00 am, or at any time or place so as to annoy or disturb the quiet, comfort or repose of persons in any office, or in any dwelling, hotel or other type of residence, or of any persons in the vicinity, is unlawful.
If you disturb the peace, your freedom will cease!
Francisco Vázquez de Coronado y Luján
Fun Facts and Illustrious Information about Kansas
• Francisco Vázquez de Coronado y Luján (1510 –1554) was a Spanish explorer who led a large expedition from Mexico to present-day Kansas in 1541. He was searching for the mythical Seven Cities of Gold.
• Kansas is named after the Kansa (or Kaw Nation) Native American tribe which inhabited the area about 12,000 years ago. ‘Kansas’ is often said to mean ‘people of the south wind.’
• Topeka, capital city of Kansas, is said to be derived from the Kaw word, Tó Ppí Kˀé, meaning ‘a good place to grow potatoes.’
• The First United Methodist Church in Hutchinson was built in 1874 during the time of the grasshopper plagues. As a result, thousands of grasshoppers are mixed into the foundation.
The Wizard of Oz
• Liberal, Kansas is home to ‘The Land of Oz’ exhibit, a recreation of Dorothy’s home in ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ and the Yellow Brick Road which features bricks donated from celebrities such s the Reagans and Liza Minelli (Judy Garland’s daughter).
Kansans love their state and their home towns. As Dorothy said when she returned from Oz, ‘There's no place like home!’
• The statement, ‘We're not in Kansas anymore,' is an often-used line from the Oz film that describes finding oneself in a totally new situation.
• Fort Riley, between Junction City and Manhattan, was the cradle of the United States Cavalry for 83 years. George Custer formed the famed 7th Cavalry there in 1866.
Ten years later, at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, the 7th was virtually wiped out.
The only 7th Cavalry survivor was a horse named Comanche.
• At Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, waterbeds are used for horses requiring surgery.
• Fire Station No. 4 in Lawrence, originally a stone barn constructed in 1858, was a station site on the Underground Railroad.
• The largest ball of twine can be seen in Cawker City. It measures over 41.42 feet in circumference and weighs more than 19,973 pounds … and is still growing.
The city built a gazebo over the ball and a ‘Twine-a-thon’ celebration is held every August when more twine is added.
• Have you heard that saying: “Kansas is flatter than a pancake”? Not true! Its average elevation is 2,000 feet, higher than that of 36 U.S. states.
• The Geodetic Center of North America is about 40 miles south of Lebanon at Meade's Ranch. It is the beginning point of reference for land surveying in North America.
When a surveyor checks a property line, he or she is checking the position of property in relation to Meade's Ranch in northwest Kansas.
• The term ‘red light district’ may have originated from the Red Light House Saloon located in a well-known prostitution district in Dodge City during the 19th century. The red glass front door of the building produced a red glow when lit at night.
• Dodge City has been called the ‘Wickedest Little City in America’ and ‘Queen of the Cow Towns.’
• Wyatt Earp, James Butler ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok and William B. ‘Bat’ Masterson were three of the legendary lawmen who kept the peace in rowdy frontier towns like Abilene, Dodge City, Ellsworth, Hays, and Wichita.
• Barton County is the only Kansas County that is named for a woman – the famous volunteer Civil War nurse, Clara Barton, who later was president of the American Red Cross.
• The first woman mayor in the United States was Susan Madora Salter. She was elected to office in Argonia in 1887.
• Amelia Earhart, from Atchison, was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932. The flight took 14 hours and 56 minutes.
• The first black woman to win an Academy Award was Hattie McDaniel born in Wichita. She won the award for her role in ‘Gone with the Wind' (1939).
• The first national hamburger chain was founded when Walter Anderson opened the first White Castle hamburger restaurant in Wichita in 1921.
• Pizza Hut was founded in 1958 by two Wichita State University students, Frank and Dan Carney, as a single location in Wichita.
The oldest continuously operating Pizza Hut is in Manhattan, Kansas in a shopping district known as Aggieville.
• Though Chicago is nicknamed the ‘Windy City,’ Dodge City is the windiest city in the U.S. with an average wind speed of 14 miles per hour.
Chicago averages about 10 miles per hour.
• Kansas averages over 50 tornadoes per year and severe thunderstorms sometimes drop very large hail.
• A hailstone weighing more than one and a half pounds once fell on Coffeyville.
• There are 27 Walnut Creeks in the state.
Kansans love their Walnut Creeks.
• Goodland boasts the world's largest easel.
Sitting atop the gigantic 80 foot, 40,000 pound steel easel, is a magnificent replica of Vincent Van Gogh's ‘The Sunflowers’ painting.
• The largest amount of winter wheat produced in the U.S. is produced in Kansas – 10.8 million tons.
In 1990, Kansas wheat farmers produced enough wheat to make 33 billion loaves of bread, or enough to provide each person on earth with six loaves.
• A grain elevator built in 1961 in Hutchinson is a half mile long and holds 46 million bushels of grain.
• In Kansas, farmland covers more than 88% of the total land.
• The Arkansas River may be the only river whose pronunciation changes as it crosses state lines. In Kansas, it is called the Arkansas (ahr-KAN-zuhs). On both sides of Kansas (Colorado and Oklahoma) it is called the ‘Arkansaw.’
• Omar Knedlik of Coffeyville invented the first frozen carbonated drink machine, the ICEE machine, in 1961.
7-Eleven purchased some of his machines and called their product the Slurpee.
• The public swimming pool at the Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City occupies half a city block and holds 2 1/2 million gallons of water.
• Speaking of water, In 1985, Kansas sued Colorado for a violation of an agreement concerning water use and was awarded $14 million in damages.
• Speaking of damages, in 2007, a tornado 22 miles long and nearly 2 miles wide, leveled or destroyed 95% of Greensburg, and caused damage of more than $250 million.
• Kansas has the largest population of wild grouse in North America. The grouse is commonly called the prairie chicken.
• Hutchinson is nicknamed ‘the Salt City’ because it was built above some of the richest salt deposits in the world. Salt is still actively mined, processed and shipped from Hutchinson.
• The Hugoton Natural Gas Area is the largest natural gas field in the U.S. It underlies almost 8,500 square miles, an area nearly five times as large as the state of Rhode Island.
• In an area about the size of two football fields, 200 sandstone rocks, some as large as houses, dot the landscape at Rock City.
There is no other place in the world where there are so many giant size rocks.
• The Kansas Speleological Society has cataloged at least 528 caves in 37 Kansas counties. Commanche County has 128 caves and Barber County, 117 caves.
Some Kansas Celebrities
George Washington Carver (1864-1943) botanist and chemist, Minneapolis, KS
Walter Chrysler (1875-1940) founder of Chrysler Corporation, Wamego
Martin Johnson (1884–1937) and Osa Johnson (1894–1953) explorers and film pioneers, Chanute
Russell Stover (1888-1954) founder Russell Stover Candies, Alton
Dwight Eisenhower (1890-1969) 34th President of the U.S., World War II Allied Commander, raised in Abilene
Karl Menninger (1893-1990) psychiatrist, Topeka
Buster Keaton (1895-1966) actor, director, Piqua
Emmett Kelly (1898-1979) circus clown, Sedan
Vivian Vance (1909-1979) actor (I Love Lucy), Cherryvale
Dennis Hopper (1936-2010) actor, Dodge City
Ed Asner (1929) actor, Kansas City
Dan Carney (1931) and Frank Carney (1938) founders of Pizza Hut, Wichita
Charles G. Koch (1935) and David H. Koch (1940) Koch Industries, Wichita
Kirstie Alley (1951) actor, Wichita
Annette Bening (1958) actor, Topeka
Don Johnson (1959) actor, Wichita
• Tom Henry of Arkansas City, Kansas ran the Peerless Candy Company. In 1919, he began making the Tom Henry candy bar.
He sold the candy bar to the Williamson Candy Company in 1920 that later changed the name to ‘Oh Henry!’
Henry's family now runs a candy factory in Dexter that sells ‘Momma Henry’ bars, which are nearly identical to the original candy bar.
• Charles Curtis was a U.S. Senator, and then served as Herbert Hoover's Vice President from 1929 to 1933.
Curtis is the only Native American (Kaw Nation) to be elected Vice President.
• State nicknames – the Air Capital of the World. Beechcraft, Cessna, Airbus and Learjet all have plants in Wichita, and Sunflower State.
• State Motto – ‘ad astra per aspera’ – To the stars through difficulties
• State song – ‘Home on the Range ‘written by Dr. Brewster Higley and Daniel Kelly.
• State insect – honeybee
• State reptile – Omate Box turtle. Most turtles can withdraw into their shells, but a box turtle can close up more completely than other species because their lower shell is hinged.
• State bird – Western meadowlark
• State flower – sunflower
• State tree – cottonwood
• State animal – buffalo
More Fun Facts
• Holy Cross Shrine in Pfeifer, was known as the 2-Cent Church because the building was built using a 2-cent donation on each bushel of wheat sold by members of the church.
• Russell Springs located in Logan County is known as the ‘Cow Chip Capital of Kansas.’
That’s almost as funny as Pee Pee, Ohio.
• Morton County sells the most trout fishing stamps of all the Kansas counties. (Remember the fishing stamp from ‘Fun Facts in Iowa?’)
• The Menninger clinic founded in 1925 is located in Topeka. The clinic has become world famous for its innovative and humane treatment of psychiatric disorders.
• The tallest waterslide in the world is at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas. It is taller than Niagara Falls. The 168-foot-tall slide is called the ‘Verrückt' – a German word meaning ‘insane.’ The three-person rafts reach 60 to 70 mph speeding down the chute.
Verruckt (Insane) Water Slide, Kansas City
Kansas in Films and TV
• The film, ‘Capote’ (2005) for which Philip Seymour Hoffman won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Capote, profiled the author as he traveled across Kansas while writing ‘In Cold Blood.’
• The movie, ‘In Cold Blood’ (1967) like the book on which it was based, was set in various locations across Kansas which were filmed at the exact locations where the events took place.
• Scenes for the 1996 film, ‘Mars Attacks!’ took place in the fictional town of Perkinsville. Various towns used as background were Lawrence, Burns, and Wichita.
• The 1973 film, ‘Paper Moon,’ in which Tatum O’Neal won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (the youngest to win an Academy Award) was based and filmed in the small towns of Hays, McCracken and Wilson, Kansas.
• The setting of ‘The Day After,’ a 1983 made-for-television movie about a fictional nuclear attack was the city of Lawrence.
• The 2012 film, ‘Looper,’ with Bruce Willis is set in Kansas.
• The 2013 film, ‘Man of Steel,’ is set primarily in Kansas as Superman is portrayed as being from Smallville, a fictitious town in the state.
• 'Gunsmoke,’ the longest-running dramatic series in TV history, is based on Dodge City of the 1870s.
Another favorite Will Rogers quote: "Everything is funny, as long as it's happening to somebody else."
© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2015. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So."