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Hays, Kansas

Our community of Hays, a city of 20,000, presents the rare mix of the amenities of a larger city in the wholesome setting of a small town. This peaceful environment is perfect for a comfortable family life, while providing many commercial and economic opportunities.

In August of 1867 Hays City began when the Union Pacific Railroad, Eastern Division, reached the area. The town was located here not only because of its proximity to the railroad, but also due to the presence of Fort Hays, a U.S. Army garrison. Teamsters, railroad workers, homesteaders, soldiers, and even desperadoes following the railroad, made Hays City a tough "end of the track" town.

Of all the downtown businesses, The Tommy Drum Saloon may be the most well known. The record is cloudy as to when Tommy Drum came to Hays City, but it was sometime prior to June 1, 1870, when he was listed on the US Census. He was a veteran of the U.S. 6th Infantry in both the Mexican and Florida Wars. Drum's Saloon reputedly was a favorite gathering place of many famous men such as "Buffalo Bill" Cody, "Wild Bill" Hickok, Lieutenant Colonel Custer and Generals Miles and Sheridan.

Two Goddard brothers, Cy and Ed, also ran saloons in early Hays City. The Goddards may have played an important role in William Cody gaining the nickname "Buffalo Bill" by giving him a job hunting buffalo for them. "Wild Bill" was probably in this area as early as April of 1867 as a scout for Lieutenant Colonel George Custer. In December of the same year he was in Hays as a Deputy US Marshal. From late July or early August of 1869 to December of 1869, Hickok served as the acting sheriff of Ellis County. He apparently was not elected by served at the will of the vigilante committee. During his term as acting sheriff, Hickok killed 2 men, who may have been more or less outside the law than Hickok, depending on which historian you believe. The buildings from Hays violent past are gone but its history lives on in names such as "Wild Bill" Hickok, "Buffalo" Bill Cody, "Rattlesnake" Pete Lanahan and James "The Cur" Currie.

Located on the grounds of the Ellis County Historical Society Museum at 100 W. 7th is the reconstructed Volga-German House. This house was built from information obtained through diaries and documentation passed down to the descendants.

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Stone Gallery

Pete "Fritz" Felten, Jr. was born and raised in Hays. Pete was a track star and expert swimmer in high school and spent one year at Fort Hays State College. His interest in art and sculpting began during his time of service in the U.S. Navy between 1952 and 1956

Hays, KS Arts

Plymouth Stone Schoolhouse

When the Germans settled on the Kansas high plains over a century ago, after homesteading their farm and establishing a church, the next priority was to build a schoolhouse. This schoolhouse was originally built in Russell County in the 1870'

Hays, KS Historic Schoolhouses

Hays Public Library

A nationally-recognized leader for outstanding per capita usage, renovated and expanded in 2003 to match the original 1911 Carnegie library. The 39,000

Hays, KS Libraries

Kansas Postcard Collection

The Kansas Postcard Collection was donated to Fort Hays State University and the community of Hays by the Association of Community Arts Agencies in 2006. The display is located in the FHSU Robbins Center and is one of the largest collections of original Kansas Art in the world. There are 635

Hays, KS Arts

The Battle of the Saline River

The survey party was unprepared for the attack and the men were mowed down like grass before a scythe. P.S. Ashley and his crew of six men were careless that day, August , 1867

Hays, KS Battlesites

Things to do near Hays, KS

"Opera House"

The old "Opera House" building was built in 1881. The second level of the building was used as a theater for commercial plays...

Elks Country Club

Course Access: PrivateHoles: 18Reserve Advance Tee Times: 7 days...