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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

Holiday Trail of Lights

Every year visitors from all over the Midwest hit the trail to Great Bend. Our holiday light displays are among the best in the nation. In fact, the trail is a recipient of the American Bus Association's Top 100 Events in North America for the year 2000

Great Bend, KS Tours

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

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

Crest Theatre

The Crest Theater, a former movie theater in downtown Great Bend, was renovated for use as a live performing arts facility. In addition to four community theater productions a year, the 618 seat theater'

Great Bend, KS Theatres


Things to do near Great Bend, KS

The Community Church

The Community church was organized in 1872, and constructed the following year at a cost of $2,000. The church had a startin...

Pratt County Historical Museum

A visit to the Pratt County Historical Museum is like instant time travel to the days when America began building an empire o...

Carry Nation Marker

"The hatchet Lady" began her crusade against alcohol by smashing her first saloon with rocks & bricks on July 6, 1899 in Kiow...