The Mennonites left Russia for fear of religious persecution in the 1870s. Among them was one of Kansas' famous Mennonite immigrants, Bernhard Warkentin, whose letters home described the fertile Kansas prairie and the promise it held for farming the "Turkey Red" hard winter wheat. His letters persuaded moter than 5,000 Mennonites to settle in Kansas.
Entire congregations left Russia and came to Kansas. These hardworking farmers broke the virgin sod with wheat that graced the steppes of Russia. Today, the prairies still wave with the golden grain that makes Kansas the "Breadbasket of the World."
Today Mennonite influence is clearly visible. Harvey County is home to nearly two dozen Mennonite Churches, two colleges, a nationally recognized mental health center, the Mennonite General Conference national headquarters, several halfway houses and Mennonite Press. Each were founded and are supported by Mennonites. Come and visit our museums, sample our ethnic foods and enjoy our unique festivals.
Let us share our heritage with you!
Explore Harvey County
Halstead is proud of its city parks, one of which has a "Hollywood" connection. The famous 1955 MGM movie,"Picnic," starring Kim Novak, William Holden and Cliff Robertson, was filmed primarily in Halstead's Riverside Park, located at the river confluence that marks the city's earliest beginnings.Halstead, KS Recreation
The historic Warkentin House is the former home of Bernhard and Wilhelmina Warkentin, built in 1887. It is a splendid example of the Victorian period in American architecture and furnishings. As a museum, the house offers a glimpse into the way the Warkentins lived, since 80Newton, KS Famous Homes
The 43 acre park contains a 4 acre pond stocked with channel catfish, crappie, largemouth bass and sunfish. Park facilities include an enclosed shelter house (available by reservation) which contains a kitchenette, restrooms, fireplace and a large meeting room for 100Newton, KS Recreation