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Big Sites in Small Towns ... Kansas Edition

Updated on August 29, 2014

"Big Things Come In Small Packages" is a well-known phrase and this stands true in regards to many of the sites that you are able to see throughout the Flint Hills of Kansas. When I first moved to Kansas from South Carolina I thought that all I would see were cows, grasslands and tornadoes. Yes, that was the perception because of things that I'd heard but not yet seen especially having lived on the East Coast.

The Flint Hills extends from Marshall County (KS) in the north to Osage County (OK) in the south. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) have designated this as an eco-region because it is very distinct compared to other areas within the Great Plains.

Three of the many small towns which are nestled within this region and offer some great historical sites are: Abilene, Council Grove and Wamego.

Eisenhower Presidential Museum
Eisenhower Presidential Museum | Source

Abilene is nestled in Dickinson County with a population of a little over 6,800 people. It is known for its "five-star museum district" because they are located in a four square block. The museum district includes the following five sites:

  1. Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad
  2. Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum
  3. Greyhound Hall of Fame
  4. Old Abilene Town
  5. The Heritage Center

There are also a number of historic mansions such as the Seeyle Mansion which was built in 1905 at a cost of $55,000 for Dr. and Mrs. A. B. Seeyle. All of the mentioned sites are included in the National Register of Historic Places.

Madonna of the Plains & Children (Council Grove)
Madonna of the Plains & Children (Council Grove) | Source

Council Grove is located approximately 20 minutes from the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve and 30 minutes from the Konza Prairie. This historical city, which served as a rendezvous for Santa Fe Trail travelers, is nestled in Morris County.

Three historical sites located in this beautiful small town are:

  1. Council Grove Lake
  2. Hays House
  3. Kaw Mission

You can also travel the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway which begins in Council Grove and extends for 47.2 miles across the Flint Hills region on Highway K-177.

Oz Museum
Oz Museum | Source

Wamego, located within Pottawatomie County, is home to one of Kansas' famous attractions. Additionally, this historical city is the birthplace of Walter P. Chrysler - the founder of Chrysler Corporation.

Five sites within this city that are interesting, one of which is very famous, will provide you with a great deal of enjoyment and photo opportunities:

  1. Beecher Bible & Rifle Church
  2. Oregon Trail
  3. Oz Museum
  4. Oz Winery
  5. Wamego History Museum and Historic Prairie Village

Abilene, Council Grove and Wamego are definitely three cities that you would want to visit during your travel(s) to Kansas. The Flint Hills region will allow you to see some of the most interesting, captivating, exploratory and historical sites located within the Midwest. Some of the other small cities throughout this beautiful state that may be of interest include but are not limited to: Alma, Alta Vista and Chapman - just to name a few.


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    • UMHiram profile image

      Unique Hiram 5 years ago from Midwest

      Hi Deborah,

      I actually started/finished high school in Holly Hill, SC as well as lived in Columbia, SC for a while. I love to travel as well :o) Hope to chat with you some more about SC. Unique

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      You are from S.C.? O

      I went to high S.C....this. is. A great hub.I love to travel...see new things ...thanks for the follow.Debbie