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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

Sternberg Museum of Natural History

Within the four story domed museum, you will find a recreated day 88 million years ago when the mighty Tyrannosaurus haunted the land and Kansas was covered by an inland sea.

Hays, KS Museums

Mt. Allen Cemetery Tree Swings

As with many of the cemetery stories and records that date back to 100

Hays, KS Cemeteries

Downtown Historical Walking Tour

The famous and infamous walked the streets of Old Hays City during the 1860's to 1880's including Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill Cody and General George Armstrong Custer. Twenty five bronze plaques mark the route and explain the historical significance of each site. Begin the tour near 13

Hays, KS Tours

Walking Tour of Art Displays

Nearly a dozen art sculptures are located on the beautiful campus of Fort Hays State University. This self guided walking tour is a great way to enjoy the beautiful artwork on the FHSU campus. The interactive map link shows the location of the various pieces of artwork including the unique "

Hays, KS Arts

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

Things to do near Hays, KS

Delphos Museum

At the present time the Delphos Museum is in the early stage of development. The present building located on the southwest ...

Rediscovering Sod-House Days Self-Guided Auto Tour

In 1877, Pennsylvania native Howard Ruede arrived in the Kill Creek community of central Osborne County, Kansas and staked ou...

Bowl Plaza

The Bowl Plaza idea came about because of the lack of public restrooms for the 10,000 plus visitors that come to visit the Lu...