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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

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

Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Refuge

There are 650 bird species in the United States, 417 in Kansas, and 320 in Cheyenne Bottoms! Besides birds, there are 23 species of mammals 19 species of reptiles and nine species of amphibians.

Great Bend, KS Wildlife Refuges

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

Great Bend Mural Project

Great Bend is home to an expanding collection of outdoor murals created by local artists and groups. Several of the brightly colored murals are located in the Main Street business area. Following are murals visitors can enjoy now:

Migration is located at the corner of Main & 16

Great Bend, KS Arts

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