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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

Volga-German House

Located on the grounds of the Ellis County Historical Museum is a replica of a Volga German house furnished with authentic household items used by the Volga German settlers. The first homes built by our early settlers were constructed of sod. Typically the homes were 28 feet long and 16

Hays, KS Museums

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

Historic Hays Driving Tour

A self-guided driving tour to over 30 locations throughout the community provides the opportunity to see some of the most important landmarks, historic sites and points of interest in Hays. The tour begins at 27th &

Hays, KS Historic Markers

Historic Church Tours

There are more historic German Catholic churches in Ellis County then any other county in Kansas. They were built of native limestone over 100

Hays, KS Historic Churches

Mt. Allen Cemetery Tree Swings

As with many of the cemetery stories and records that date back to 100

Hays, KS Cemeteries

Things to do near Hays, KS

Bowl Plaza

The Bowl Plaza idea came about because of the lack of public restrooms for the 10,000 plus visitors that come to visit the Lu...