Zenda is located in southern Kingman County [KM] on highway K-42. The town is mostly contained between the highway on the south and the AT&SF railway, marked with grain elevators, on the north side.
Latitude: 37° 26' 32" N
Longitude: 98° 16' 54" W
School District: USD 332
ZIP code: 67159
Area Code: 620
The grade school looks like it was built in the last ten years and is still used for kindergarten through the eighth grade. The municipal building houses the small but award-winning library, a meeting room for 4-H and other groups, and the Friendship Meals program for senior citizens. The city park, offering tennis and basketball courts, is well maintained.
The simplest and shortest route to Zenda from Wichita is to take K-42, Southwest Boulevard, through Suppesville and Norwich. Another way is to go west from Kingman 9 miles and take SW90th 14 miles south through Calista to Zenda; this trip takes about an hour and a quarter.
The paved road south out of Zenda winds its way down into a surprisingly hilly part of Harper County, connecting with US 160 at Attica.
HistoryRochester, Kansas, named for Rochester, Minnesota, was first settled in the mid-1880s. When the A.T.&S.F. railway was built, the town moved to the present site of Zenda in 1887 and renamed New Rochester. The name created much confusion since there were 28 other places named Rochester in the country. The wife of a Santa Fe conductor read the novel The Prisoner of Zenda and thought the name was pretty. The Post Office officially changed names on October 7, 1892. There are currently three other towns named Zenda.
Zenda has had three newspapers over the years:
- Zenda Citizen 1909 -1917
- Zenda Headlight 1923-1939
- Zenda Zephyr 1939-1941
More Zenda History
Special EventsZenda celebrated its 110th anniversary celebration over the Labor Day weekend of 1997.
Places to visit in ZendaOne of the most interesting and unique presentations of the history of any Kansas town is on the second floor of the Municipal Building on Main Street. Thirty-six model buildings show Zenda's Main Street as it was around the turn of the century. Each building is "dollhouse" size with the largest about a yard high. The models are painstakingly crafted and are displayed with pictures of the originals. Be sure to look through the windows of the school. By standing at one end of the room between the rows of tables you can look down Main Street and be transported back in time. All that's missing is the smell of horses.
This display is open only by arrangement; to schedule a visit, contact Bonnie Bailey, the model builder. She can be reached after business hours at (620) 243-5681. Ms. Bailey, an expert on local history, is also on the board of the local museum and can arrange for it to be opened as well.
The Zenda Jail on the east side of Main Street, across from The Lumber Yard, is a tiny concrete box. The floor still has iron rings to shackle prisoners into place.
Dining in ZendaThe Lumber Yard (620) 243-6000
311 N. Main / P. O. Box 58, Zenda, KS 67159
The Geo. W. Ultch Lumber Co was built in 1902. Beulah and Woodrow Graber and family opened a restaurant in the building in 1993. The old shelves now hold antiques and interesting objects, the racks built for bolts and plumbing items now hold wine bottles, and the old Mosler safe sits in its accustomed place.
The menu includes prime rib the first Saturday evening of the month.
Reservations are suggested.
ShoppingBlasi Service Station (620) 243-5571
212 N. Main / Zenda, KS 67159
SchoolsZenda Grade School [K-8] USD 332 (620) 243-5721
306 E. Ave. A
LibraryZenda Library (620)243-5791
306 N. Main Street / Zenda, KS 67159
MuseumsZenda Community Museum (620)243-5531
Main Street / Zenda, KS 67159
Open by appointment
- Genealogical Information for Kingman County is available on Blue Skyways.
- Zenda was mentioned in Kansas, A Cyclopedia Of State History by Frank W. Blackmar (1912).
- Zenda is on the old A.T. & S.F. branch line that ran down to Englewood.
ReferencesZenda, Kansas Centennial 1887-1987 Privately published 1987; copy available in Zenda Library
For more information about ZendaZenda Telephone Co. (620) 243-5531
208 N. Main Street, Zenda, KS 67159
For complete and up-to-date information about current Kingman County events, businesses or other information,
Kingman County Economic Development Council,
324 North Main, Kingman KS 67068
Visit the Home Page for Kansas
A service of the Kansas State Library
© Copyright 1996