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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 F.E.E.T Trail - Walking/Hiking/Biking Trails

There are four locations in Hays to take advantage of walking trails, trek out on a biking path, hike along the creek or enjoy a leisurely walk. The Hays Medical Center Fitness Trail is located behind the Hays Medical Center (2220 Canterbury Drive) and just east of the employee/

Hays, KS Parks

Volga-German Heritage

Volga German settlers began arriving in Ellis County in the mid-1870'

Hays, KS Ethnic Heritage

Kansas Postcard Collection

The Kansas Postcard Collection was donated to Fort Hays State University and the community of Hays by the Association of Community Arts Agencies in 2006. The display is located in the FHSU Robbins Center and is one of the largest collections of original Kansas Art in the world. There are 635

Hays, KS Arts

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


Things to do near Hays, KS

Cedar Bluff Boating

Six boat ramps are located on the reservoir. Blue water and sandy beaches make the area the water recreation mecca for Wester...

Largest Post Rock Slab in Kansas

This huge limestone post with the engraved words "Post Rock Country" is the largest post rock in Kansas. In it's entirety the...

Cawker City Cemeteries

Prairie Grove Cemetery and Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Cemetery are located 1/2 mile north of the city limits on Lake Driv...