Wichita – Air Capital of the World

Wichita Network

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Town Feeling in a Big City Way

Located in the Midwestern section of the United States, Kansas is known for its rolling hills, wheat fields, and fields of sunflowers that change direction with the sun. It’s largest city, Wichita, is located in the Southern part of the state on the Arkansas River. According to the latest census, Wichita’s population was just over 350,000.

Two rivers meet here making this a major trading center for the areas nomadic tribes for several centuries. The original peoples here were the Quiviras Indians. Archaeological evidence would later identify them as the Wichitas. They were met by Francisco Coronado in 1541 while hew as looking for the famed „cities of gold.“ By 1719, most of the Native peoples had been moved south to Oklahoma. Some of the Wichitas were allowed to return to Kansas because they favored the anti-slavery movement right before the civil war.

The original city was a collection of grass huts in which the Natives lived. It later officially became a city in 1870 and was a major destination for northbound cattle drives due its location on the Chisholm trail. This later led to the introduction of the railroad and its nickname, „Cowtown“, through which many well known lawmen, such as Wyatt Earp, once passed through.

Wichita became famous when Carrie Nation and other members of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union smashed the window of the Carey House bar after paying visits to other bars in town, demanding they close up shop.

After the first flight of the Wrights, Wichita became a testing ground for aeronautics and in the early 1900’s, the aircraft leaders, Clyde Cessna and Walter Beech giving made it their company homes. Then larger companies, such as Stearman, which was later bought by Boeing, also came to town. When oil was discovered between 1914-1915, more money became available for these aeronautical companies to expand their testing making it possible for the Cessna Comet to become reality. The aeronautical industry helped Wichita earn the nickname „Air Capital of the World.“ During World War II, its population exploded due to increased demand.

With companies such as Coleman, Pizza Hut, White Castle, and Koch having been founded after World War II Wichita has since become known as a major business center. This business spirit led to the founding of one of Wichita State University, one of the first business schools.

Now the city is working on downtown revitalization to make it a more welcome place.