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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


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

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

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

Barton County Historical Museum & Village

The Barton County Historical Society Museum & Village lets you take a fascinating walk into the past. The Village is located on a five-acre tract of land that is south of Great Bend.

Nine buildings are part of the Village including an 1871 Pioneer Rock Home, an 1898 Church, a 1910 Depot, a 19

Great Bend, KS Museums

Things to do near Great Bend, KS