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Hays, Kansas

Our community of Hays, a city of 20,000, presents the rare mix of the amenities of a larger city in the wholesome setting of a small town. This peaceful environment is perfect for a comfortable family life, while providing many commercial and economic opportunities.

In August of 1867 Hays City began when the Union Pacific Railroad, Eastern Division, reached the area. The town was located here not only because of its proximity to the railroad, but also due to the presence of Fort Hays, a U.S. Army garrison. Teamsters, railroad workers, homesteaders, soldiers, and even desperadoes following the railroad, made Hays City a tough "end of the track" town.

Of all the downtown businesses, The Tommy Drum Saloon may be the most well known. The record is cloudy as to when Tommy Drum came to Hays City, but it was sometime prior to June 1, 1870, when he was listed on the US Census. He was a veteran of the U.S. 6th Infantry in both the Mexican and Florida Wars. Drum's Saloon reputedly was a favorite gathering place of many famous men such as "Buffalo Bill" Cody, "Wild Bill" Hickok, Lieutenant Colonel Custer and Generals Miles and Sheridan.

Two Goddard brothers, Cy and Ed, also ran saloons in early Hays City. The Goddards may have played an important role in William Cody gaining the nickname "Buffalo Bill" by giving him a job hunting buffalo for them. "Wild Bill" was probably in this area as early as April of 1867 as a scout for Lieutenant Colonel George Custer. In December of the same year he was in Hays as a Deputy US Marshal. From late July or early August of 1869 to December of 1869, Hickok served as the acting sheriff of Ellis County. He apparently was not elected by served at the will of the vigilante committee. During his term as acting sheriff, Hickok killed 2 men, who may have been more or less outside the law than Hickok, depending on which historian you believe. The buildings from Hays violent past are gone but its history lives on in names such as "Wild Bill" Hickok, "Buffalo" Bill Cody, "Rattlesnake" Pete Lanahan and James "The Cur" Currie.

Located on the grounds of the Ellis County Historical Society Museum at 100 W. 7th is the reconstructed Volga-German House. This house was built from information obtained through diaries and documentation passed down to the descendants.

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Hays City Sportsman's Club

The Hays City Sportsman's Club provides trap, skeet, rifle and pistol ranges to members and guests with shooting clinics and registered events are held throughout the year. In 2006 the club celebrated their 30

Hays, KS Hunting

Hays Aquatic Park

The Hays Aquatic Park is the ideal place to cool off and enjoy some summer fun. The H.A.P. is located on approximately 3.5 acres of land and is located at 4th & Main. There are three bodies of water (lazy river, leisure pool, multi-purpose pool)

Hays, KS Water Parks

Buffalo Herd

Located on US-183 Alternate, four miles south of I-70 and directly across from Historic Fort Hays is a small herd of buffalo. Free admission and visitors are welcome to view the herd from either the road that goes through Frontier Park or the access road south of the buffalo herd pasture.

Hays, KS Pioneer Life

Plymouth Stone Schoolhouse

When the Germans settled on the Kansas high plains over a century ago, after homesteading their farm and establishing a church, the next priority was to build a schoolhouse. This schoolhouse was originally built in Russell County in the 1870'

Hays, KS Historic Schoolhouses

Downtown Historical Walking Tour

The famous and infamous walked the streets of Old Hays City during the 1860's to 1880's including Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill Cody and General George Armstrong Custer. Twenty five bronze plaques mark the route and explain the historical significance of each site. Begin the tour near 13

Hays, KS Tours

Things to do near Hays, KS

Drug Store Museum

The Drug Store Museum focuses on pharmacy primarily between the years 1880 and 1920. The museum's exhibits include a colle...

Rediscovering Sod-House Days Self-Guided Auto Tour

In 1877, Pennsylvania native Howard Ruede arrived in the Kill Creek community of central Osborne County, Kansas and staked ou...

Bill Hougland - Gold Medalist

Bill Hougland transferred to Beloit High School his junior year in 1947. He then took the team to its first state championshi...

Kansas Travel Information Center

Friendly staff give directions, brochures and suggestions. Free coffee and clean restrooms. Crafts and gifts and snacks for...