This border town, famous as the gateway to the Cherokee Strip Land Rush, blends the past with the future in most appealing ways. Visitors can still experience the sound and feel of the event today, through Arkansas Citys Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum, which houses commemorative artifacts of "The Run," Native Americans, westward pioneers and Cowley County history. In one of our 17 local parks, a Santa Fe engine that tracks railroad history is situated next to the Robert Docking Memorial honoring one of the states most popular governors. Ireland Hall, the 1890 red-stained, stone high school, anchors the north end of Cowley College campus, and the new exquisitely sculptured Brown Center for Arts, Science & Technology secures the south end.
Arkansas City, an agricultural, industrial and business center, is a pleasant progressive community of approximately 12,000 residents. In roughly 100 years, "Ark City" has grown into an industrious community offering many cultural, recreational and educational opportunities. The spirit of progress is balanced by warmth, friendliness and tranquility that are typical of small towns.
Beyond a substantial agri-business sector, a number of major industries employ Arkansas City residents. Strother Field Industrial Park located just five minutes north of Ark City is an easy drive for many of our residents who work in businesses such as the General Electric jet-engine overhaul facility located at the Industrial Park. Future Beef Operations LLC, located in northwest Arkansas City, recently completed a $97 million expansion adding over 900 new jobs to the community.
Opportunities for recreational activities abound in Arkansas City. In addition to the 17 parks, Arkansas City is home to the second largest community swimming pool in Kansas, 12 public tennis courts, two choice golf courses and new hiking/biking trails. The Chaplin Nature Center provides interesting artifacts and an excellent opportunity for adventurers, with over five miles of trails that ramble through diverse habitats. The area surrounding Arkansas City includes a number of excellent outdoor recreational facilities for good hunting and fishing. Two such sites are the Cowley County State Lake and the Kaw Wildlife Area.
"Arkalalah," an Indian term meaning "good times" is one of the many annual events in Arkansas City. Celebrated in late October, Arkalalah involves people of all ages and is well known as a positive community festivity throughout Kansas and the surrounding area. Arkansas City has embraced a program focusing on the strengths of our diverse population and added celebrations such as the PrairieFest, an art and music festival, and WorldFest, to the community events. With family events and excitement year-round, you will want to "find the prairie spirit" in Arkansas City and make this fun and friendly town your own.
Atlanta, founded as a cattle-shipping point on the Frisco railroad, played a prominent role in the early oil boom. Though no longer a center of the oil business, the sense of kinship and community in Atlanta endures. Join the townspeople at the big round table in the Branding Iron Café at the heart of town or come out and join us at the annual Labor Day festival. Community pride is evident in the citizens efforts to keep the downtown buildings maintained. Having been burned to the ground twice, Atlanta Main Street stands as an example of the resiliency and determination of Cowley County people. Visitors should spend a day at the Caboose Museum, the intriguing Iron Horse Antiques and Crafts and other old-time shops. While in the area, take time to journey out and see the traditional barns and old stone bridges of the area.
Burden, formed in 1879 as a result of the building of the Kansas City, Lawrence and Southern Kansas railroad through Kansas, fulfilled the high hopes of the early settlers and marked a new era in the development of progress of Eastern Cowley County. Burdens character is rooted in its cowboy past, and its fertile fields and lush green pastures helped make the small town a productive and prosperous agricultural community. Burden draws numerous campers to its campsite, especially during its prime hunting season. Like most small communities, they know how to have fun at their rodeos held at the fairgrounds throughout the year. The city is proud of its buildings, including the historic State Bank building, and is refurbishing its City Hall, civic center and police station. Recently, Burden has seen the addition of several units of senior housing known as Shangri-La. Whether youre looking to stay for a day or a lifetime, Burden will welcome you with its local charm.
Cambridge was formed in 1880 on a beautiful site adjacent to the group of hills overlooking Cedar Creek, when the railroad came to the area. Cambridge residents reflect the pioneer faith that sustained early settlers when fires in 1923, 1928 and 1933 destroyed much of the original town. Cambridge hosts events like the Spring Gathering & Boardwalk Branding in April where you can see live longhorn cattle driven down the middle of Main or some young cowpokes rustlin up some fun. Bring your own brand to burn into the local boardwalk then gather around the campfire for some great cookin and lively music. The historic bank building at the main intersection, erected from stone quarried right within the town, provides a window into the past, and next door you will find an authentic saddlery shop with custom made leather goods. Stay for a while to see how a pair of genuine leather chaps are made. Cambridges cowboy roots are still apparent as ranchers from around the state stop in the shop. While in town, get a bite to eat at the Stockmans Café, the longest continuously operating Café under one name of its kind in the state. Dont forget to take a glance at "The Count" mural around the corner and in August come back for the annual Possum Run. A trip to this Kansas community will be a day well spent.
Dexter, located in eastern Cowley County, is on the side of the valley overlooking Grouse Creek. The historical marker south of town at US 166 and K-15 describes the discovery of helium in the area. Dirigibles were once the main attractions in this peaceful valley community. The huge airships stopped to inflate with helium, the inert, colorless gas discovered here in 1903. Though Dexter's helium well is no longer active, the torch that wouldn't burn lighted the way to a multi-million dollar industry. Dexters graceful manner conceals its exciting past, including a bank robbery by the infamous Dalton gang. These days its candy that draws visitors to Dexter as they make their way to Henrys Candy Company where you can see a real old-fashioned candy factory in operation. This candy factory is the original maker of the O'Henry Candy Bar and they'll wow you with their selection of hard and soft candies all available to sample. Many sportsmen enjoy this pastoral part of Cowley County as a fertile hunting and fishing ground.
Udall, named one of the safest communities in America, is a quiet community in Northwest Cowley County, which continues to grow with the urban sprawl from the Wichita metropolitan area. Located high on a ridge overlooking the Walnut River Valley, Udall offers quiet neighborhoods and real small town living. Udalls location and opportunities are attractive to both families and businesses looking for a home near the metropolitan area. A new housing development, Whispering Pines, is now under development at the site surrounding Browns Lake. A stone marker in the city park tells about the towns history and the museum brings visitors from around the world to visit this historic town. Fun can also be found in Udall at the annual Fall Festival in October and at the Community Theatre productions performed twice yearly.
The county seat of Cowley County, with a population of roughly 12,000, is consistently rated one of "The 100 Best Small Towns in America," and the reasons are quickly apparent.
The town is in a beautiful pocket of the state, where groves of stately trees give way to breathtaking open spaces. Perched on the banks of the Walnut River, Winfield is at the entrance to the Flint Hills. Even the trees decorating the streets show dazzling pink and white blossoms in the spring, lush greenery through the summer, and bold crimson and orange leaves in the fall.
Though Winfields rich history stretches back to the days of the explorer Coronado, it is the communitys Victorian charm that shines through. A popular driving tour of Winfields unique Victorian homes points out turrets, towers, curved verandas and delicate millwork architectural features as lovely as they are historically important. Architecture lovers are also drawn to the 19th century buildings of the former St. Johns College. As Winfields forward-thinking city government finds new uses for those buildings, it is serving as a model of historic preservation and community development.
The universally known orange Rubbermaid cooler is manufactured in Winfield at the Newell-Rubbermaid plant. Several key employers, including Saint-Gobain Calmar, KSQ, Prime Plastics and Winfield Consumer Products/Husky Liners, also produce plastic-related products. GE Engine Services occupies a facility in Winfield and a plant in the nearby Strother Field industrial park. Winfield has a strong tradition of sensitive, high quality human services companies, including several that care for the needs of people with disabilities.
Festive activities and warm spirits abound throughout the seasons. During the holiday season, enjoy Winfields Isle of Lights, a mile-long drive through a holiday wonderland of thousands of twinkling lights in themes including the Wizard of Oz, the Carousel, Noahs Ark and more. The world famous Walnut Valley Music Festival, held the third weekend in September, is just another of many Winfield events, as well as Kanza Days in May, Horsefeathers and Applesauce Dinner Theatre and the Cowley County Fair in the summer, and Art in the Park in October.
In a day, a visitor to Winfield might take in the Kansas Vietnam Memorial Wall at Memorial Park and investigate the Cowley County Historical Museum. Southwestern College and the Kansas Veterans Home welcome visitors. Your car or the community trolley can take you to see the murals that have earned Winfield the title "Mural Capital of Kansas." Music and drama performances, including Winfield Regional Symphony concerts, take place regularly. Shops and restaurants are plentiful, and the pedestrian-friendly atmosphere makes strolling Main Street a joy. If you visit us in the summer months, stop and make a splash in the beautiful Winfield Aquatic Center or make it a leisurely afternoon at Winfields Island Park where you can feed the ducks or stop to fish. Two golf courses, outstanding schools and a full schedule of recreation activities create even more options for filling a day or a lifetime.
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