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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


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

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

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

Things to do near Great Bend, KS