The Kansas Information Center focuses primarily on two points of pride: the Chisholm Trail and the aviation industry. Wichita was along the Chisholm Trail and so cattle drives headed north to the railroads would pass through. As a result of the Chisholm trail, Wichita became a cattle drive destination from Southwest points throughout the country, especially Texas. (Fun Fact: This is how Wichita became known as "Cowtown.") However, along with cattle drives comes cowboys and cowboys were not exactly known for their decorum when on the trail. Wichita developed a wild reputation where cowboys could let loose in Cowtown. The city employed a number of famous lawmen to try and control the rambunctious cowboys - including Wyatt Earp.
Just outside of Wichita is the little town Wellington, where the actual information center is. Wellington was also part of the Chisholm trail and while Wichita was the cattle destination, Wellington was a stopping point for settlers. Located just along the Oklahoma border, eager settlers would wait in Wellington for the landruns in Oklahoma to begin. Or they would wait until they could sneak across and stake their claims a little early. (Fun Fact: The Oklahoma University "Sooners" are named after the "sooners" who cheated during the landruns and staked their claims before the runs actually had begun.)
The second point of pride is Wichita and Kansas' participation in the aviation industry. Amelia Earhart, one of the country's most famous aviators, is a native Kansan. (You can see my visit to her birthplace museum in Atchison, Kansas here.) But Kansas continues to be a huge part of the aviation industry. Wichita's nickname - the Air Capital of the World - is well earned. Multiple aviation companies are based in Wichita, including: Learjet, Cessna, and Hawker Beechcraft. Spirit AeroSystems, Airbus and Boeing all maintain workforces in Wichita.
While at the information center, I grabbed a few brochures about roadside attractions I hadn't heard about. But then I had to hit the road. I still had a couple hours to go before I would get to Oklahoma City and the weather was not cooperating.
Total Distance Traveled: 190 miles
Total Time Traveled: 3 hours
Soundtrack: "Live and Loud" Cross Canadian Ragweed, "Loud Guitars, Big Suspicions" Shannon Curfman