Friday, July 22, 2005

Apple #91: Wichita


I've been away for a few days. While I did not visit Wichita, a friend of mine likes the word "Wichita," so I thought I'd do a blog entry on the fine Kansas city.

Map of Kansas from Enchanted Learning
  • The name "Wichita" comes from the Wichita Indians, who had built their grass houses in the area. Different historians offer different meanings for the word "Wichita," which may mean either "scattered lodges" or "painted faces."
  • The city as we know it was originally founded as a trading post on the banks of the meeting-place of two rivers, the Arkansas and the Little Arkansas. Archaeological evidence indicates that this nexus of two rivers has been a trading place for at least 11,000 years.
  • On July 21, 1870, Wichita was incorporated as a city, with 123 men and one woman signing the petition for incorporation. Happy recent birthday, Wichita!
  • The woman who signed the petition was named Catherine McCarty, and she owned a laundry. Later, she moved to New Mexico, where her oldest son, Henry, changed his name to William Bonney, a.k.a. Billy the Kid.
  • Back in Wichita, the cattle trade was growing the city by leaps and bounds. Jess Chisholm came to Wichita in 1863, leading a party of sportsmen, and marking a trail from Texas to Kansas that became known as the Chisholm Trail. This trail was used to drive hundreds of thousands of cattle to the Santa Fe rail station at Wichita.
  • Because of the booming cattle trade (more than $2 million in cattle in 1872, which is insane), lots of folks showed up in Wichita, including such notables as Wyatt Earp, "Buffalo Bill" Mathewson, and Bat Masterson.
  • Very quickly, however, the cattle trade moved west, following the rail lines, and Wichita was temporarily depressed, in more ways than one. Soon agriculture began to take hold and helped the community continue to exist. Much later, oil and aviation would further add to the city's economy, but no industry has had as profound an effect on Wichita as cattle.
  • W.C. Coleman produced his first Coleman lantern in Wichita in 1914.
  • White Castle hamburgers were born in Wichita, and the first Pizza Hut was built in Wichita, in 1958.
  • The population of Wichita and its outlying towns today is 581,379, which makes it Kansas' largest city. Boeing employs 20,000 of these citizens.
  • The average 2 bedroom apartment in Wichita goes for $595. The national average for the same size apartment is $753.
  • A new single-family home in Wichita sells for an average price of $248,834, which is 11% lower than the average price of $278,186.
  • On average, Wichita doesn't get more than 4 inches of rain in a month, or 3 inches of snow in the winter. It gets pretty hot in the summer, though, with highs regularly hitting around 93 degrees in July. This evening, at about 8:30 their time, it was 99.
P.S. Don't forget to tell me your top 10 favorites.

Wichita Area Chamber of Commerce
Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition
Wichita's History at a Glance
Weather Underground Season Weather Averages for Wichita

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