- Wichita, Kansas
Wichita, Kansas — City —
Nickname(s): Cowtown, The Air Capital Of The World Kansas Coordinates: Coordinates: Country United States State Kansas County Sedgwick Founded 1863 Incorporated 1870 Government – Mayor Carl Brewer (D) Area – City 165.9 sq mi (359.8 km2) – Land 163.7 sq mi (351.6 km2) – Water 3.2 sq mi (8.2 km2) Elevation 1,299 ft (396 m) Population (2010) – City 382,368 – Density 2,304.8/sq mi (889.9/km2) – Metro 630,721 – CSA 667,172 Time zone CST (UTC-6) – Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5) ZIP Codes 67201-67221, 67223, 67226-67228, 67230, 67232, 67235, 67260, 67275-67278 Area code(s) 316 FIPS code 20-79000 GNIS feature ID 0473862 Website www.wichita.gov
Wichita // wich-ə-taw is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kansas. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 382,368. Located in south-central Kansas on the Arkansas River, Wichita is the county seat of Sedgwick County and the principal city of the Wichita metropolitan area. As of 2011, the metro area had a population of 630,721.
The city 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 heading north to access railroads to eastern markets. In the 20th century, aircraft pioneers such as Clyde Cessna, Walter Beech and Bill Lear began projects that would lead to Wichita's nicknaming as the Air Capital of the World. The aircraft corporations Stearman, Cessna, Mooney and Beechcraft 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. The city was also at one time the headquarters of the former Derby Oil Company, which was purchased by Coastal Corporation in 1988.
An area cultural center, Wichita is home to Intrust Bank Arena as well as numerous nightclubs, restaurants, shopping centers, museums and parks. 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 most affordable cities. Wichita was also named most "Uniquely American" city by Newsmax Magazine.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Cityscape
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Economy
- 6 Government
- 7 Culture
- 8 Media
- 9 Education
- 10 Transportation
- 11 Notable people
- 12 Sister cities
- 13 See also
- 14 Gallery
- 15 References
- 16 Further reading
- 17 External links
The site at the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas Rivers has served as a trading center and meeting place for nomadic hunting people for at least 11,000 years. Human habitation in the Wichita area has been dated, in archeological digs, as far back as 3,000 B.C. 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 because of their pro-Union sentiments.
The city was officially incorporated in 1870. Its position on the Chisholm Trail made it a destination for cattle drives headed north to access railroads to eastern markets. As a result, it became a railhead destination for cattle drives from Texas and other south-western points, from whence it has derived its nickname "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 was Wyatt Earp.
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. An island in the middle of the Arkansas River, named Ackerman Island was home to an amusement park, and a dance pavilion. The island was connected to the West Bank of the river through a WPA project in the thirties. 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. Although she had visited all the bars in Wichita the night before, demanding that they close their doors, the John Noble painting Cleopatra at the Roman Bath in the Carey House had drawn her particular wrath.
In the 20th century, aircraft pioneers such as Clyde Cessna and Walter Beech began projects that led 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.
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 Cessna Comet became the first aircraft to be manufactured in Wichita. Soon after, the Swallow became Wichita's first airplane made specifically for production and the Swallow Airplane Company built 43 of them between 1920 and 1923. Lloyd Stearman and Walter Beech were both employees of the Swallow Company, but in January 1925 they left Swallow and teamed up with Clyde Cessna to form Travel Air. Stearman left the company in 1926 to start Stearman Aircraft in Venice, California and Cessna quit in January 1927 to start Cessna. In 1927, Stearman would relocate his factory back to Wichita. This varied aircraft industry, along with Wichita becoming a test center for new aviation, established Wichita as the "Air Capital."
Travel Air, with Walter Beech at the helm, grew to over 600 employees and operated from a huge factory complex constructed a few miles outside the city from 1927 to 1929. Due to so many employees working at such a large complex, it was dubbed "Travel Air City" by Wichita residents. The company merged with the huge Curtiss 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 1931 and by the fall of 1932, the remaining Travel Air employees were let go, the equipment was sold, and the entire Travel Air plant sat empty.
In March 1932, Beech quit the Curtis Wright Corporation to form Beech Aircraft, along with his wife Olive Ann, and hired Ted Wells as his chief engineer. While the first few "Beechcraft" were built in the vacant Cessna Aircraft plant, which had also closed during the depression, Beech later leased and then bought the Travel Air plant from Curtis Wright and moved his factory to this plant. Beech's first aircraft was the Model 17, later dubbed the "Staggerwing", was first flown on November 5, 1932. Staggerwing production ended in 1946 (to be replaced by the Beechcraft Bonanza) with approximately 750 built. Nearly 100 Staggerwings are still in existence, many in flying condition. However, 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. On February 8, 1980, Beech Aircraft Corporation was purchased by the Raytheon Corporation and later renamed Hawker Beechcraft.
The city experienced a population explosion during World War II when it became a major manufacturing center for airplanes needed in the war effort. By 1945, an average of 4.2 bombers were being produced daily in Wichita. In 1962, the Lear Jet Corporation began when the Swiss American Aviation Corporation bought the tooling for building a failed ground-attack fighter to Wichita and opened a plant at Wichita's airport. On February 7, 1963 assembly of the first Learjet aircraft began and the following year, the company was renamed the Lear Jet Corporation. In 1990, Canadian firm, Bombardier Aerospace purchased Learjet Corporation.
The city remains a major manufacturing center for the aircraft industry today, with Boeing, Hawker Beechcraft, Bombardier, Cessna, and even Airbus all having major manufacturing centers in town."
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 of one of the first academic centers to study and support entrepreneurship at the Wichita State University Center for Entrepreneurship.
In October 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.
The Dockum Drug Store sit-in was one of the first organized lunch-counter sit-ins for the purpose of integrating segregated establishments in the United States. The protest began in July 1958 in Wichita at the Dockum Drug Store, a store in the old Rexall chain, in which protesters would sit at the counter all day until the store closed, ignoring taunts from counterprotesters. The sit-in ended three weeks later when the owner relented and agreed to serve black patrons, taking place 18 months before the more widely publicized Greensboro sit-ins in January 1960. A 20-foot (6.1 m)-long bronze sculpture first announced in 1998 at a cost of $3 million marks the site of the successful sit-in, with a lunch counter and patrons depicting the protest.
Recent history has seen increased development in downtown and to the east and west sides of Wichita. Sedgwick County voters recently[when?] 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.
Downtown Wichita is located at  The city lies on the Arkansas River near the western edge of the Flint Hills in the Wellington-McPherson Lowlands region of the Great Plains. The broad, flat alluvial plain of the Arkansas River valley and the gently rolling slopes which rise to the higher lands on either side characterize the topography of the area.(37.688888, -97.336111) at an elevation of 1,299 feet (396 m).
The Arkansas flows windingly south-southeast through Wichita, roughly bisecting the city, and is joined along the way by several of its tributaries. The largest of these is the Little Arkansas River which enters the city from the north and flows south to its confluence with the Arkansas immediately west of downtown. Chisholm Creek, formed by the confluence of its West and Middle Forks in extreme north-central Wichita, flows south through the city, diverted for most of its length into a drainage canal between the lanes of Interstate 135. The creek's East Fork flows south and west through far northeast Wichita, joining the creek just north of its diversion into the canal. Gypsum Creek and its tributary Dry Creek flow south then southwest through east Wichita, joining Chisholm Creek just north of its confluence with the Arkansas River in the south-central part of the city. West of the river lies the Wichita-Valley Center Floodway, known locally as "The Big Ditch." The Floodway splits from the river and flows south through west Wichita, then turns southeast, wrapping around the city's southern fringe, before emptying back into the river. Further west are Big Slough Creek and Cowskin Creek, two more tributaries of the Arkansas River which both run south through west Wichita and, at separate points, join the Floodway, then split off to continue along their courses toward the river. Fourmile Creek, a tributary of the Walnut River, flows south through the far eastern part of the city.
Wichita is located in south-central Kansas at the intersection of Interstate 135 and U.S. Route 54. In addition, Interstate 35 enters the city from the south, then runs northeast along the city's southeastern fringe. Located in the Central United States, Wichita is approximately 157 miles (253 km) north of Oklahoma City, 181 miles (291 km) southwest of Kansas City, and 439 miles (707 km) east-southeast of Denver.
As the core of the Wichita metropolitan area, the city is surrounded on all sides by suburbs. Bordering Wichita on the north are, from west to east, Valley Center, Park City, Kechi, and Bel Aire. Enclosed within east-central Wichita is Eastborough. Adjacent to the city's east side is Andover. McConnell Air Force Base lies immediately southeast of the city. To the south, from east to west, are Mulvane, Derby and Haysville. Goddard and Maize border Wichita to the west and northwest, respectively.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Wichita has a total area of 138.9 square miles (360 km2), 3.2 square miles (8.3 km2) of which is water.
Located on the Great Plains far from any large moderating influences such as mountains or large bodies of water, Wichita lies between the humid subtropical (Köppen Cfa) and humid continental (Köppen Dfa) zones with hot, humid summers and cold, dry winters. Over the course of a year, the city experiences temperatures that range from an average low of 20 °F (−7 °C) in January to an average high of nearly 93 °F (34 °C) in July . Temperatures reach 90 °F (32 °C) an average of 64 days per year and reach 100 °F (38 °C) an average of 14 days per year; conversely, temperatures fall below 0 °F (−18 °C) an average of 3.6 nights per year. In 2011, the city had both the hottest day in 30 years (111 °F (44 °C) on July 10) and the coldest day in 30 years as well (−17 °F (−27 °C) on February 10), exactly 5 months apart, further proving the wide range of temperature extremes in the city.
The area receives over 30 inches (760 mm) of precipitation during an average year. May and June receive the highest amount 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 about 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 during the spring and summer months. 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. Previously, on September 3, 1965, a tornado struck and damaged the city of Wichita.
Climate data for Wichita, Kansas Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year Record high °F (°C) 75
Average high °F (°C) 40.1
Daily mean °F (°C) 30.2
56.35 Average low °F (°C) 20.3
45.23 Record low °F (°C) −15
Precipitation inches (mm) .84
Snowfall inches (cm) 4.9
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 5.4 5.4 8.1 8.5 11.2 9.7 7.2 7.6 7.2 6.4 5.8 5.7 88.2 Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 3.6 2.5 1.1 .2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .8 2.7 10.9 Sunshine hours 192.2 189.3 229.4 258.0 288.3 306.0 341.0 310.0 246.0 226.3 171.0 167.4 2,924.9 Source no. 1: NOAA (normals, 1971−2000) Source no. 2: HKO (sun only, 1961−1990), Weather.com (records)
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 four anchor stores, and has more than 100 tenants apiece. The oldest mall, Wichita Mall, was for many years largely a dead mall, but has since been converted into office space. There is also a large outdoor shopping center on the city's north-east and north west sides. Bradley Fair and NewMarket Square (respectively) are large outdoor malls with over 50 stores each spread out on several acres.
Historical populations Census Pop. %± 1870 689 — 1880 4,911 612.8% 1890 23,853 385.7% 1900 24,671 3.4% 1910 52,450 112.6% 1920 72,217 37.7% 1930 111,110 53.9% 1940 114,966 3.5% 1950 168,279 46.4% 1960 254,698 51.4% 1970 276,554 8.6% 1980 279,272 1.0% 1990 304,011 8.9% 2000 344,284 13.2% 2010 382,368 11.1% U.S. Decennial Census
As of the 2010 census, there were 382,368 people, 151,818 households, and 94,862 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,304.8 per square mile (889.9/km²). There were 167,310 housing units at an average density of 1,022.1 per square mile (475.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.9% White, 11.5% African American, 4.8% Asian (2.4% Vietnamese, 0.5% Indian, 0.3% Filipino, 0.4% Chinese, 0.3% Laotian, 0.1% Korean, 0.1% Pakistani, 1.1% other Asian), 1.2% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 6.2% from other races, and 4.3% from two or more races. 15.3% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race (13.0% Mexican, 0.4% Puerto Rican, 0.1% Cuban, 1.7% other Hispanic or Latino).
Of the 151,818 households, 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.1% were married couples living together, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48, and the average family size was 3.14.
In the city, the population was spread out with 26.6% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 26.9% from 25 to 44, 24.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.9 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.1 males age 18 and over.
The median income for a household in the city was $44,477, and the median income for a family was $57,088. Males had a median income of $42,783 versus $32,155 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,517. About 12.1% of families and 15.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.5% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.
In terms of population, Wichita is the largest city in Kansas and the 49th largest city in the United States.
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 was 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.
During the 1970s, the city's population grew by only 1%, but the growth rate accelerated in the following two decades to more than 13% in the 1990s. The growth among minorities is still strong.
Wichita is the principal city of both the Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and the Wichita-Winfield Combined Statistical Area (CSA). The Wichita MSA encompasses Sedgwick, Butler, Harvey, and Sumner counties and, as of 2010, had an estimated population of 623,061, making it the 84th largest MSA in the United States. The larger Wichita-Winfield CSA also includes Cowley County and, as of 2010, had an estimated population of 659,372. Nearby Reno County is not a part of the Wichita MSA or Wichita-Winfield CSA, but, were it included, it would add an additional population of 64,511 as of 2010.
Wichita's principal industrial sector is manufacturing, which accounted for 21.6 percent of area employment in 2003. Aircraft manufacturing has long dominated the local economy, and plays such an important role that it has the ability to influence the economic health of the entire region; the state offers tax breaks and other incentives to aircraft manufacturers. In the early 2000s a national and international recession combined with the after effects of the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks to depress the aviation sub-sector in and around Wichita. Orders for new aircraft plummeted, prompting Wichita's five largest aircraft manufacturers—Boeing Co., Cessna Aircraft Co., Bombardier Learjet Inc., Hawker Beechcraft and Raytheon Aircraft Co.—to slash a combined 15,000 jobs between 2001 and 2004. In response, these companies began developing small- and mid-sized airplanes to appeal to business and corporate users.
Healthcare is Wichita's second-largest industry, employing approximately 28,000 people in the local area. Since health-care needs remain fairly consistent regardless of the economy, this field was not subject to the same pressures that affected other industries in the early 2000s. The Kansas Spine Hospital opened in 2004, as did a critical care tower at Wesley Medical Center. In July 2010, Via Christi Health, which is the largest provider of health care services in Kansas, is ready to open a hospital that will serve the northwest area of Wichita. Via Christi Hospital on St. Teresa will be the system's fifth hospital to serve the Wichita community.
The two largest privately held companies in the United States, Cargill and Koch Industries, both operate headquarters facilities in Wichita. Cargill's beef processing business is headquartered downtown, and Koch Industries' primary corporate headquarters complex is located in northeast Wichita.
Other firms with headquarters in Wichita include roller coaster manufacturer Chance Morgan, renewable energy company Alternative Energy Solutions, and Coleman Company, a manufacturer of camping and outdoor recreation supplies.
The following is a summary of data regarding the Wichita metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual average:
- Size of nonagricultural labor force: 282,800
Number of workers employed in:
- construction and mining: 16,100
- manufacturing: 58,400
- trade, transportation and utilities: 49,500
- information: 6,100
- financial activities: 12,200
- professional and business services: 26,300
- educational and health services: 38,400
- leisure and hospitality: 25,200
- other services: 12,100
- government: 38,500
Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $19.45 (2004)
Unemployment rate: 6.3% (February 2005)
Since 1917, Wichita has had a council-manager form of government. The city council consists of seven members popularly elected every four years with staggered terms in office. For representative purposes, the city is divided into six districts with one council member elected from each district. The mayor is the seventh council member, elected at large. The council sets policy for the city, enacts laws and ordinances, levies taxes, approves the city budget, and appoints members to citizen commission and advisory boards. The city manager is the city’s chief executive, responsible for administering city operations and personnel, submitting the annual city budget, advising the city council, preparing the council’s agenda, and oversight of non-departmental activities.
The Wichita Police Department, established in 1871, is the city’s law enforcement agency. With over 800 employees, including more than 600 commissioned officers, it is the largest law enforcement agency in Kansas.
The Wichita River Festival is held 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. In 2011, the festival was changed to June, because of rain during previous festivals in May.
The Tallgrass Film Festival was founded in Wichita by the late Timothy Gruver in 2003. The festival draws an estimated 100 independent feature and short films from all over the world for three days each October. MPAA president Dan Glickman and legendary actor Seymour Cassel have attended.
Points of interest
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.
Intrust Bank Arena features 22 suites, 2 party suites, 40 loge boxes and over 300 premium seats with a total potential capacity of over 15,000. This arena in the middle of Wichita opened in January 2010.
Small art galleries are scattered around the city 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.
Moody's Skidrow Beanery, 625 E. Douglas in what was to become Old Town, was one of the more famous places in Wichita in the 1960s. It was the scene of a nationally followed First Amendment struggle  and was visited by Allen Ginsberg in 1966 (the name had been changed to the Magic Theatre Vortex Art Gallery) where he first read his long poem "Wichita Vortex Sutra."
Sports teams in Wichita are:
- Friends University Falcons Athletics including Football, Volleyball, Soccer, Cross Country, Basketball, Tennis, Track and Field, and Golf
- Newman University Jets Athletics including Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Tennis, Wrestling, Volleyball, Cheer/Dance
- Wichita Wingnuts, Baseball
- Wichita Thunder, ice hockey
- Wichita Wild, Indoor Football
- Wichita Barbarians, Rugby Union
- Wichita World 11, Cricket
- Wichita State Shockers Athletics, including Men's and Women's Basketball, Baseball, Volleyball, Track and Field, and Tennis
- Kansas Diamondbacks Semi-pro Football, member of the Gridiron Developmental Football League
- Kansas Cougars Semi-Pro football, member of CFL
Note: Three of the teams listed do not play their home games within the city limits, but are headquartered in Wichita. The Wichita Wild play at Hartman Arena, which is in Park City, The Kansas Diamondbacks play at Maize South High School which is located in Maize, the Kansas Cougars play at Fischer Field in Newton
In popular culture and the arts
Wichita is mentioned in the songs "Wichita Skyline" by Shawn Colvin, "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes, and the Negro spiritual "Brother, Why Are You Here" by local musician Jerry Hahn. Allen Ginsberg wrote about a visit to Wichita in his poem Wichita Vortex Sutra, for which Philip Glass subsequently wrote a solo piano piece. Glen Campbell's Wichita Lineman, written by Jimmy Webb, peaked at #1 on Billboard's country singles chart and at #3 on the pop chart in 1968. Ruby Vroom, released by the band Soul Coughing in 1994, contains a song called "True Dreams of Wichita".
There is a character who used the pseudonym Wichita in the Film Zombieland played by Emma Stone. The award-winning stage play Hospitality Suite written by Roger Rueff takes place in Wichita. The film adaptation of the play, titled The Big Kahuna, is also set in the city.
In the 1987 movie Planes Trains and Automobiles a Chicago bound flight is diverted to Wichita because of bad weather.
Local rapper Kae Wun's first song was titled "ICT (The Official Anthem)". ICT is a common nickname locally for Wichita, stemming from the airport code for Wichita Mid-Continent Airport.
The title song for local rapper XV's 2011 mixtape, "Zero Heroes" is "Wichita" This song is also produced by Just Blaze, another Kansas Native. XV (AKA Donovan Johnson) signed a major record deal with "Warner Bros. Records" in 2010
AMD will be releasing a new processor, code named Wichita, in 2012.
The Wichita Eagle, which began publication in 1872, is the city's major daily newspaper. With a daily circulation exceeding 70,000, it has the highest circulation of any newspaper published in Kansas. The Wichita Business Journal is a weekly newspaper that covers local business events and developments. Several other newspapers and magazines, including lifestyle and neighborhood publications aimed at various segments of the local population, are also published in the city.
Wichita is the principal city of the Wichita-Hutchinson, Kansas television market which consists of the western two-thirds of the state. All of the market's network affiliates broadcast from Wichita with the ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC affiliates serving the wider market through state networks of satellite and translator stations. The city also hosts a PBS member station, a Univision affiliate, and several low-power stations. Cable television service for Wichita and the surrounding area is provided by Cox Communications and AT&T.
Primary and secondary education
With over 50,000 students, Wichita Public Schools (USD 259) is the largest school district in Kansas. It operates more than 90 schools in the city including 10 high schools, 16 middle schools, 61 elementary schools, and more than a dozen special schools and programs. Outlying portions of Wichita lie within suburban public school districts including Andover (USD 385), Circle (USD 375), Derby (USD 260), Goddard (USD 265), Haysville (USD 261), Maize (USD 266), and Valley Center (USD 262).
There are more than 35 private and parochial schools in Wichita. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Wichita operates 16 Catholic schools in the city including 14 elementary schools and two high schools, Bishop Carroll Catholic High School and Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School. The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod operates two Lutheran schools in the city, Bethany Lutheran School (Grades PK-5) and Holy Cross Lutheran School (PK-8). There are also two Seventh-day Adventist schools in Wichita, Three Angels School (K-8) and Wichita Adventist Christian Academy (K-10). Other Christian schools in the city are Bethel Life School (K-8), Calvary Christian School (PK-12), Central Christian Academy (K-8), Sunrise Christian Academy (PK-12), Trinity Academy (9-12), and Wichita Friends School (PK-6). In addition, there is an Islamic school, Anoor School (PK-8), operated by the Islamic Society of Wichita. Non-religious private schools in the city include Wichita Collegiate School and The Independent School as well as three Montessori schools.
Colleges and universities
Three universities have their main campuses in Wichita. The largest is Wichita State University (WSU), a four-year public university which has more than 14,000 students and is the third-largest university in Kansas. WSU's main campus is in northeast Wichita with four satellite campuses located throughout the metro area. Friends University, a private, non-denominational Christian university with approximately 2,800 students, has its main campus in west Wichita as does Newman University, a private Catholic university with over 2,500 students. In addition, Wichita Area Technical College, a two-year public college with over 2,100 students, has its main campus and two satellite locations in the city.
Several colleges and universities based outside Wichita operate satellite locations in and around the city. The University of Kansas School of Medicine has one of its three campuses in Wichita. Baker University, Butler Community College, Cowley College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Southwestern College, Tabor College, Vatterott College, and Webster University have Wichita facilities as do for-profit institutions including Heritage College, ITT Technical Institute, and University of Phoenix.
The Wichita Public Library is the city's library system, presently consisting of a Central Library downtown and nine branch locations in neighborhoods around the city. Local business owners funded the establishment of the library in 1876. In 1912, it expanded into a Carnegie library that would remain open until the establishment of the current Central Library and its system of branches in 1967. The library operates several free programs for the public, including special events, technology training classes, and programs specifically for adults, children, and families. As of 2009, its holdings included more than 1.3 million books and 2.2 million items total.
Several federal and state highways pass through Wichita. Interstate 35, as the Kansas Turnpike, enters the city from the south and turns northeast, running along the city's southeastern edge and exiting through the eastern part of the city. Interstate 135 runs generally north-south through the city, its southern terminus lying at its interchange with I-35 in south-central Wichita. Interstate 235, a bypass route, passes through north-central, west, and south-central Wichita, traveling around the central parts of the city. Both its northern and southern termini are interchanges with I-135. U.S. Route 54 and U.S. Route 400 run concurrently through Wichita as Kellogg Avenue, the city's primary east-west artery, with interchanges, from west to east, with I-235, I-135, and I-35. U.S. Route 81, a north-south route, enters Wichita from the south as Broadway, turns east as 47th Street South for approximately half a mile, and then runs concurrently north with I-135 through the rest of the city. K-96, an east-west route, enters the city from the northwest, runs concurrently with I-235 through north-central Wichita, turns south for approximately a mile, running concurrently with I-135 before splitting off to the east and traveling around northeast Wichita, ultimately terminating at an interchange with U.S. 54/U.S. 400 in the eastern part of the city. K-254 begins at I-235's interchange with I-135 in north-central Wichita and exits the city to the northeast. K-15, a north-south route, enters the city from the south and joins I-135 and U.S. 81 in south-central Wichita, running concurrently with them through the rest of the city. K-42 enters the city from the southwest and terminates at its interchange with U.S. 54/U.S. 400 in west-central Wichita.
Wichita Transit operates 53 buses on 18 fixed bus routes within the city. The organization reports over 2 million trips per year (5,400 trips per day) on its fixed routes. Wichita Transit also operates a demand response paratransit service with 320,800 passenger trips annually. A 2005 study ranked Wichita near the bottom of the fifty largest American cities in terms of percentage of commuters using public transit. Only 0.5% used it to get to or from work. Greyhound Lines provides intercity bus service with a station in Wichita.
A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Wichita 38th most walkable of fifty largest U.S. cities.
The Wichita Airport Authority manages the city's two main public airports, Wichita Mid-Continent Airport and Colonel James Jabara Airport. Located in the western part of the city, Mid-Continent Airport is the city's primary airport as well as the largest airport in the state of Kansas. Ten commercial airlines serve Mid-Continent with daily flights to several U.S. airline hubs. Wichita Transit provides hourly daytime bus service to and from the airport six days a week. Jabara Airport is a general aviation facility located on the city's northeast side. In addition, there are several privately-owned airports located throughout the city. Cessna Aircraft Field and Beech Factory Airport, operated by manufacturers Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft, respectively, lie in east Wichita. Two smaller airports, Riverside Airport and Westport Airport, are located in west Wichita.
Two Class I railroads, BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad (UP), have lines which pass through Wichita. UP's OKT Line runs generally north-south through the city; north of downtown, the line consists of trackage leased to BNSF. An additional UP line enters the city from the northeast and terminates downtown. BNSF's main line through the city enters from the north, passes through downtown, and exits to the southeast, paralleling highway K-15. The Wichita Terminal Association, a joint operation between BNSF and UP, provides switching service on three miles (5 km) of track downtown. In addition, two lines of the Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad enter the city, one from the northwest and the other from the southwest, both terminating at their junction in west-central Wichita.
Wichita has not had passenger rail service since 1979. The nearest Amtrak station is in Newton 25 miles (40 km) north, offering service on the Southwest Chief line between Los Angeles and Chicago. However, since 2008, Amtrak and the Kansas Department of Transportation have been studying the feasibility of restoring service via route options between Oklahoma City and Newton or Kansas City.
- Cancún, Mexico - November 25, 1975
- Kaifeng, Henan, China - December 3, 1985
- Orléans, France - August 16, 1944 through Sister Cities International
- Zacatecas, Mexico - October 16, 1973
- Omaha, Nebraska, United States - August 8, 1993
Kansas Aviation Museum, formerly Wichita Municipal Airport from 1935 to 1951
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- Wichita : Illustrated History 1868 to 1880; Eunice S. Chapter; 52 pages; 1914. (Download 3MB PDF eBook)
- Sedgwick County
- History of Wichita and Sedgwick County Kansas : Past and present, including an account of the cities, towns, and villages of the county; 2 Volumes; O.H. Bentley; C.F. Cooper & Co; 454 / 479 pages; 1910. (Volume1 - Download 20MB PDF eBook),(Volume2 - Download 31MB PDF eBook)
- History of the State of Kansas; William G. Cutler; A.T. Andreas Publisher; 1883. (Online HTML eBook)
- Kansas : A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc; 3 Volumes; Frank W. Blackmar; Standard Publishing Co; 944 / 955 / 824 pages; 1912. (Volume1 - Download 54MB PDF eBook),(Volume2 - Download 53MB PDF eBook), (Volume3 - Download 33MB PDF eBook)
- City of Wichita
- Wichita - Directory of Public Officials
- Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Wichita Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Wichita Area Sister Cities
- USD 259, local school district
- Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum
- Discover Historic Wichita, Brochure with Map / List / Photos / Description of 121 Registered Historic Landmarks
- Carthalite - Wichita's Beautiful Concrete, Fall 2007 issue of American Bungalow magazine
- Wichita History at a Glance
- Wichita Photo Archives at WSU
Municipalities and communities of Sedgwick County, KansasCounty seat: Wichita Cities CDP Unincorporated
‡This populated place also has portions in an adjacent county or counties
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