When cattlemen drove their herds
up the old Chisholm Trail, Wichita
served them as a market. Then, as
wheat farming developed, the city
shifted its allegiance to grain and as
a result ranks among the nation's
top milling centers and interior grain markets.
Wichita capitalized again on commercial
opportunity as oil field developments
in Kansas grew apace.
It is headquarters now for oil production not only in Kansas but four
other neighboring states.
The fledgling airplane manufacturing
industry also found a welcome
in Wichita and, despite a high
mortality rate among the earlier
companies, the city is a leading aircraft
manufacturing center today.
Diversified products of its other industries include meat and other food
products, textiles, leather goods, building materials, farm machinery,
tools and dies, drilling and oil field equipment.
On the cultural side Wichita supports an art museum with an outstanding
collection of American contemporary art, a historical museum and
a symphony orchestra. In addition to its fine system of public schools
the city is the home of Wichita Municipal University, Friends University
and Mount Carmel Academy.
- WILLIS (27 miles northwest of Atchison)
This Brown County grain marketing community came into being with
construction of the Missouri Pacific Railroad through this territory in
1882. It was established on one of the best farms in the county and
named for Squire M. C. Willis, one of its founders.
- WILSEY (58 miles southeast of Salina)
John D. Wilsey of Bloomville, Ohio, came to this spot in Morris County
for a visit and stayed to found the town which bears his name. The
town was platted in 1884 on land its founder purchased from the
In the center of a cattle feeding territory Wilsey is a receiving and
shipping station for the cattle before and after they have been fattened
- WINFIELD (40 miles southeast of Wichita)
The site of this substantial southern Kansas town in Cowley County is
an historic one. In 1542, Coronado camped on the banks of the Walnut
River for several days after crossing at "Kickapoo Corral." Later the
same crossing was used by those who followed the old Santa Fe Trail.
In 1869 the first log house was erected at a bend of the Walnut River
about two miles south of the present town of Winfield. The first town
company was organized in 1870, purchasing the land for the new community
from Chief Chetopah of the Osage Indians for the startling
sum of $6.00. The town was incorporated in 1873 and named for the
illustrious General Winfield Scott, whose memory is perpetuated also
in the names of Fort Scott and Scott City, Kansas. In return for this
honor, General Scott agreed to build a church in Winfield, a bargain he
fulfilled when the first stone church was erected on the townsite.
Winfield is the seat of Cowley County in an area of oil and gas fields
as well as rich farms producing kafir corn, wheat and alfalfa. Its local
industries include a gas burner factory, creameries, poultry packing
plant, metal products factory and flour and feed mills.
St. John's College and Southwestern College both are located in Winfield
and a State Training School is on the outskirts of the town.
- WOODSTON (85 miles west of Concordia)
A compromise effected by early settlers who wanted the town named
for themselves resulted, it is said, in the coined name "Woodston" for
this Rooks County agricultural community. Two brothers from Missouri,
named Woods, operated the first grocery store here. They debated
over the naming of the town with a wealthy pioneer whose name was
Houston. A compromise was reached by adding the "ton" from Houston
to "Woods" and everyone was satisfied.
- YATES CENTER (96 miles east of Wichita)
Originally the seat of Woodson County, Kansas, was at Neosho Falls on
the border of the county. This location was unsatisfactory to many
persons who preferred a more central one, an understandable attitude
in an era when transportation, even over short distances, was a problem.
Seeking to capitalize on this situation, Hale Chellis, an early settler,
platted a location for a new county seat about three miles southeast of
the present site of Yates Center. He sold lots and constructed stone
archways and driveways to the main entrance which are still there.
This was to be "Kalida," the new county seat, but shortly after Chellis