GREAT BEND, Kan. (KSNW) — The first stop on the last day of our KSN Summer Road Trip is Great Bend. The KSN team arrived around 9:15 a.m. We’re at the Brit Spaugh Zoo Education Building, 2123 Main Street, until about 10 a.m. Stop by and say hello.
Great Bend is home to 14,733 people. The town was built on agriculture and the oil industry. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income is $46,659. But the town is also known for the wildlife at Cheyenne Bottoms, the largest inland marsh in the United States.
Great Bend got its name for being by a “great bend” in the Arkansas River. The town is the county seat of Barton County. The county is named for Clara Barton, making it the only Kansas county named for a woman.
The airport in Great Bend was built as an Air Force base in the early 1940s to handle the B-29 Superfortress bomber being used in WWII. When the war was over, the City of Great Bend took it over and started turning it into a passenger airport.
Jack Kilby was a Great Bend native who received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on integrated circuits. He invented the microchip which led to many technological advances over the last six decades. He was also involved in creating the handheld calculator.
Things to do in the Great Bend area:
- Jack Kilby Square
- Outdoor Murals
- Barton Co. Historical Museum
- Brit Spaugh Park & Zoo
- Great Bend Parks
- Kansas Wetlands Education Center, Cheyenne Bottoms
- Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway
- Visit Great Bend
- Kansas Oil & Gas Hall of Fame and Museum
Community & Government:
- Great Bend
- Barton County
- Great Bend Public Schools
- Great Bend Chamber of Commerce
- Barton Community College
- Fuller Brush Company
- SRCA Drag Strip
- Great Bend Farm & Ranch Expo
Notable events, people & heritage:
- Jack Kilby, Great Bend High School grad, invented the integrated curcuit (microchip), during his time at Texas Instruments, awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.
- Oscar Micheaux, Author and filmmaker