This portion of the Plains Indian Country until about 1870 is a center of Kansas agriculture and industry. Over the Chisholm trail, which ran a few miles west and roughly parallel to this turnpike from the Oklahoma line to Wichita, a million head of Texas cattle were herded north to Kansas railheads from 1867 to 1876. Caldwell, 37 miles southwest, rivaled Dodge City in cattle shipments and gunfights after the railroad reached there in 1880.
Oklahoma "boomers" camped in and around Wellington just before central Oklahoma was opened for white settlement in 1889. Again in 1893 when the Cherokee Outlet was opened, thousands waited near Arkansas City, South Haven, Hunnewell, and Caldwell for the shot that sent them spilling into the promised land.
Wellington is the seat of Sumner county, normally the banner wheat producer of Kansas. Winfield, 28 miles southeast, is a gateway to the great Bluestem pastures. North is Wichita Kansas' largest city and "air capital of the world."
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