Moving to communities matching your lifestyle, wants, and needs are what most of us dream about as we’re nearing the age of retirement. Of the many states to consider, Kansas has some of the best places to retire and live in. Being part of these lists for years has led many to wonder and ask, “What is Kansas known for?” and “What is Kansas City known for?”
So, what is Kansas known for? Kansas is known for many things, both for its rich history and several products, which is why it has many nicknames. Its biggest city, Kansas City, has many structures built decades and centuries ago that you’ll surely love to visit.
Let’s discuss in detail the state’s popular nicknames and products and the city’s most famous food, tourist spots and landmarks, and shopping centers. This way, you’ll be able to decide if Kansas is the best retirement haven for you.
What is Kansas Known for Historically?
The key historical events in the state are brought about by natural events, such as calamities and plagues, and human causes like wars and invasions. Let’s look into some of the most famous appellations people associate with the state of Kansas based on its history. Here are some of them:
The Squatter State
New settlers from the slave state of Missouri flocked to Kansas and claimed lands. They moved quickly to protect the territory from being occupied by individuals from the free states, especially New Englanders.
With a high number of squatters, they established the Squatters Claim Association, ensuring secured land claims and preventing the emigration of people from northern states. As such, the desirable lands for settlement were claimed by pro-slavery Missourians, earning it the “Squatter State” or “Squatter Sovereign” labels.
Garden of the West
In relation to the last nickname Kansas is known for based on history, it’s believed that northern newspapers called the state the Garden of the West. Most claim that it was their way of counteracting the pro-slavery movement in Kansas.
Thanks to the Kansas soil’s fertility and landscape’s beauty, they were able to lure some people to the area.
Bleeding Kansas or The Battleground of Freedom
With the signing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, both states were given the freedom to tackle the slavery issues. The new settlers were asked to vote whether the state would be admitted to the union as “slave” or “free.”
Nebraska had no problems since most settlers were against slavery, but the case was different with Kansas. That’s because there were pro-slavery Missourians around the border who cast fraudulent votes.
It led to a violent battle for freedom. Pro-slavery Missourians attacked Kansas settlers who bravely spoke against slavery while the settlers raided Missouri.
The Jayhawk State
When asking, “What is Kansas most famous for in terms of history?” another popular answer you’ll get is Jayhawk state. It’s all thanks to Pat Devlin, an Irishman, who used “jayhawking” as his reason for participating in the raids discussed above.
Kansans were referred to as Jayhawks, while Missourians gained the Bushwacker designation. Factually, Jayhawk is a bird that lives off other birds, but Author Kirke Mecham turned it into an immortal mythical creature.
The Grasshopper State
If you browse through Kansas facts in history books, you’ll come across the Rocky Mountain Locust Plague of 1874. It was an incident where millions of locusts or grasshoppers swarmed down upon some parts of the US. It might not be exclusive to Kansas, but the state survived it but was once again attacked a year after.
What is Kansas Known for Producing?
Kansas has long been thriving in agriculture since the 19th century, thanks to its fertile soil. In fact, the Northern newspapers started referring to it as the Garden of the West or The Garden State. Not only that, but people also made a living through livestock meat production.
Today, the state has almost 46 million acres of ranches and farms. Here are the types of produce the State of Kansas is most famous for:
Gaining the “Wheat State” nickname in the early 20th century, Kansas continues to surpass the other states in wheat production. It’s the first grain the state was able to produce in high numbers. Other grains in terms of what Kansas is known for are corn, soybean, and sorghum.
With the millions of bushels of these grains produced and distributed throughout the country, the state ranked number one in the 2017 Census of Agriculture for grain production.
Cattle and Calf Meat
Kansas facts confirm that it’s the second-largest cattle and calf meat producer in the US. This was all thanks to a hub for herding and trails for shipping in the late 1800s when demand for beef cattle increased.
Unlike grains and meat, Kansas produced cotton in a later year around the 1990s, all thanks to the passing of the 1995 Farm Bill. It gave farmers the freedom to grow any crop while still receiving benefits.
Cotton was one of the top choices for Kansas farmers because of the low prices of the grains mentioned above. In fact, approximately 2% of corn farmers in the state shifted to cotton production.
Today, it is one of the fastest-growing commodities in the country, and the state produces around a hundred thousand bales of cotton.
What is Kansas City Known For?
Now that you know what Kansas is known for, let’s become more familiar with the state by learning about Kansas City.
What Food is Kansas City Known For?
When moving to or visiting a place, most of us look forward to what food we should eat that speaks volumes about the area’s culture and tradition. Kansas City has long been known for having one of the most succulent barbecues that started with the Father of Kansas City Barbecue”, Henry Petty.
The city also has a non-profit organization, Kansas City Barbecue Society, with 20,000 members at the moment. With its dedication to promoting and enjoying barbecues, they oversee hundreds of barbecue contests and events while assisting charitable and civic organizations. They also hold classes related to preparing barbecues.
What Landmarks or Tourist Spots is Kansas City Known For?
There’s so much to love about the city when it comes to places you can visit and relax in while also learning about its history. Some of them are:
City planners during the 1800s modeled the city’s streets, parks, and squares from Europe. Thus, Kansas City has about 200 water features, from water sprouts to cascading water fountains and displays and statues. In fact, the city’s baseball stadium has its own fountain display.
These outdoor fountains were initially constructed for aesthetics and drinking areas for dogs, horses, and other animals. They’ve been perfect areas for locals and tourists to relax and capture Instagram-worthy photos for years.
As much as the city has several fountains, it also has lots of museums worthy of visiting, namely:
- Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: A notable thing about this museum is its manicured lawn with several sculptures and four huge badminton shuttlecocks. Perfect for art lovers, you’ll find excellent Asian Art, Native American galleries, and a Hallmark Photographic Collection.
- Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art: This small museum for art lovers has an oversized spider sculpture in its frontage. Unlike Nelson-Atkins, they don’t have a permanent collection but hold exhibits every three months that you shouldn’t miss.
- Negro Leagues Baseball Museum: The US has a rich history, including creating the Negro American League that gave African Americans the chance to play professional baseball. The Kansas City Monarchs team was one of the most successful, so the museum honors the hall of farmers. Thus, preserving America’s baseball history.
- National World War I Museum and the Liberty Memorial: Whether or not you’re into history, this museum is one place you shouldn’t miss visiting. It’s dedicated to teaching visitors about the Great War or “War to End All Wars” in a very creative manner. Underneath its glass bridge is the scarlet-red-colored poppies that symbolize those who died during WWI.
If it’s something that doesn’t appeal to you, purchase a ticket to allow you to ride the elevator and go up the Liberty Memorial to check out the fantastic views of the city. Nonetheless, you can stay on the grounds to do the same.
Kansas City’s Union Station
If you love history, but the museum isn’t a place you want to visit, this train station built in 1914, damaged during WWII, and re-opened in 1999 is the perfect place for you. It has an exhibit that narrates the station’s rich history or story that you can view from the southwest elevator vestibule’s staircase to the third level’s mezzanine.
You’ll also love visiting the station’s Escape Room, Planetarium, Science City, and Extreme Screen Movie Theater.
What Shopping Centers is Kansas City Known For?
Apart from what food Kansas City is known for, it’s not surprising that most visitors and new residents would want to know where to shop in the area. Two of the best ones are as follows:
The Country Club Plaza
With an architecture inspired by Seville, Spain, the Country Club Plaza is the first shopping area perfect for patrons with vehicles. Enjoy free parking while strolling, shopping, eating, and window-shopping, while enjoying the fantastic view of sculptures, fountains, and boulevards. You’ll also find many popular shops, such as Tiffany’s, Burberry, Forever 21, and several restaurants.
As beautiful as it is, certain activities are held at the Plaza. One is the Plaza Art Fair, usually held during the third weekend of September. It features artists from different parts of the world. You’ll also enjoy live music and local cuisine. You also don’t have to worry about vehicles that can ruin your experience since nine city blocks are closed during the event.
In line with the city’s tradition that started in 1925, the Plaza also holds an annual lighting ceremony from Thanksgiving to mid-January. There are horse-drawn-carriage backgrounds, bright bulbs, and live music.
The West Bottoms
Who doesn’t want affordable shopping? The West Bottom that opens every weekend has a variety of vintage clothing, antiques, one-of-a-kind home decorations, and other good finds. Not only that, but the area also has a good history since it was once a livestock and stockyard exchange site.
Have Fun in Kansas!
While some states are highly popular for their beaches, Kansas, especially Kansas City, mostly has famous places related to history. There’s so much to discover in the state, whether it’s a structure built in an area with a rich history or built and rebuilt years ago. Not only that, but Kansas also has acres of agricultural land and gardens, perfect for those who love nature.