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Great Bend, Kansas

Great Bend, Kansas

The Santa Fe Trail brought oxen-pulled Conestoga wagons to the big bend of the Arkansas river (from which Great Bend was named) carrying people with a vision. The Plains Indians, primarily Cheyenne, Pawnee and Quivira, brought early civilization to the Arkansas River Valley and early white settlers wrote of driving their wagons through throngs of buffalo.

The Great Bend Town Company was organized in 1871. Less than a year later, the Atchison, Topeka ans Santa Fe Railroad laid track into Great Bend. Like the hub of a giant wagon wheel laid on the prairie, Great Bend's commerce attracted people from all around the area, including cowboys who brought cattle to ship out on the train. Cowboys also had money to spend in the end-of-the-trail towns. Money allowed the town to grow and attracted other merchants and settlers.

To further explore the history of our area we recommend a visit to the Barton County Historical Village and Museum.


Barton County has 4,676 acres of walk-in hunting.

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Shafer Art Gallery

The L. E. "Gus" and Eva Shafer Memorial Art Gallery has been referred to as the "Gem of the Campus"

Great Bend, KS Arts

Kansas Oil & Gas Hall Of Fame And Museum

The Museum was founded in 1990 by a group interested in preserving the history of the oil and gas industry.

Great Bend, KS Museums

The Great Bend Expo Complex

The Expo Complex is the ideal location for a variety of events. The Expo complex consists of nearly 100,000 square feet of indoor space in three buildings and over 900,000 square feet of outside paved exhibit space. There are also electrical services available to all outside spaces.

Great Bend, KS Civic Centers

Brit Spaugh Park And Zoo

Tucked in Brit Spaugh Park on North Main, the Zoo is great Bend's little jewel. Dedicated to the conservation, preservation and rescue of animals and the education and entertainment of both children and adults, the Zoo is a natural resource for Great Bend and its visitors.

Great Bend, KS Zoos

Barton County Courthouse

Santa Fe Trail travelers and traders passed through, traded, camped and hunted where the Barton County Courthouse now stands in the center of town. Historically, Great Bend's downtown has served as a focus for the city's business, civic, and social activities.

Great Bend, KS Historic Courthouses

Things to do near Great Bend, KS