46 Things You Didn’t Know About KansasDiscover some of the biggest unknown facts about Kansas while scratching the surface of this crazy place.
1. Kansas really is flatter than a pancake. Scientists proved it when they compared the topography of Kansas against that of a pancake from IHOP.
2. The largest ball of twine is in Cawker City and it measures over 38 feet in circumference and weighs more than 16,750 pounds.
3. In Derby County, Kan., a law is in place that makes it illegal for any person to hit or punch a vending machine when it has stolen a person’s money.
4. Smith County, Kan. is the geographical center of the 48 contiguous states.
5. In Kansas, it is illegal to hunt whales, even though it is located in the middle of the country with no coastline in sight.
6. The world famous fast-food chain of Pizza Hut restaurants opened its first store in Wichita.
7. Urban legend has it the Gates of Hell reside hidden in the Stull United Methodist Church in Stull, Kan.
8. Kansas ranks second nationally in average number of tornadoes per year (60) and third in tornadoes per 1,000 square miles (44).
9. The graham cracker was named after the Reverend Sylvester Graham. He was a minister who strongly believed in eating whole-wheat flour products.
10. Helium was discovered in 1905 at the University of Kansas.
11. The tallest waterslide in the world is at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas city, Kan. It is taller than Niagara Falls.
12. Amelia Earhart, first woman granted a pilot's license by the National Aeronautics Associate and first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean was from Atchison, Kan.
13. The first woman mayor in the United States was Susan Madora Salter. She was elected to office in Argonia, Kan. in 1887.
14. There are 27 Walnut Creeks in the state.
15. William Purvis and Charles Wilson of Goodland, Kan. invented the helicopter in 1909.
16. In 1990, Kansas wheat farmers produced enough wheat to make 33 billion loaves of bread, or enough to provide each person on earth with six loaves.
17. In Kansas you are prohibited from using of mules to hunt ducks.
18. It’s also illegal to shoot rabbits from motorboats.
19. And in Topeka it is illegal to sing the alphabet on the streets at night.
20. Dodge City is the windiest city in the United States, with an average wind speed of 14 mph.
21. The term "red light district" came from the Red Light Bordello in Dodge City, Kansas. The front door of the building was made of red glass and produced a red glow when lit at night.
22. The Hugoton Gas Field is the largest natural gas field in the United States. It underlies almost 8,500 square miles, an area nearly five times as large as the state of Rhode Island.
23. The First United Methodist Church in Hutchinson was built in 1874 during the time of the grasshopper plagues. As a result, thousands of grasshoppers are mixed into foundation.
24. Kansas won the award for most beautiful license plate for the wheat plate design issued in 1981.
25. Hutchinson is nicknamed the Salt City because it was built above some of the richest salt deposits in the world.
26. South of Ashland, the Rock Island Bridge is the longest railroad bridge of its kind. It measures 1,200 feet long and is 100 feet above the Cimarron River.
27. Second only to Texas, there have been more meteorites found in Kansas than in any other state west of the Mississippi River.
28. The Arkansas River may be the only river whose pronunciation changes as it crosses state lines. In Kansas, it is called the Arkansas (ahr-KAN-zuhs). On both sides of Kansas (Colorado and Oklahoma) it is called the “Arkansaw.”
29. Opened in 1857, Hays House, in Council Grove, is the oldest continuously operating restaurant west of the Mississippi River.
30. A hailstone weighing more than one and a half pounds once fell on Coffeyville.
31. At Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, waterbeds are used for horses in surgery.
32. There is a grain elevator in Hutchinson, Kansas that is half mile long and holds 46 million bushels of grain.
33. Kansas in one of the two sources of helium in the U.S.
34. Goodland boasts the world's largest easel. Sitting atop the 80 foot, 40,000 pound steel easel, is a giant replica of Vincent Van Gough's “Sunflower” painting.
35. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, was from Abilene.
36. In 1919 the first airplane factory in Kansas was built in Wichita, which became one of the nation's top plane manufacturing cities.
37. In 1985, Kansas sued Colorado for a violation of an agreement concerning water use and was awarded $14 million in damages.
38. In 2007, a tornado leveled, or destroyed, 95 percent of Greensburg. It was 26 miles long, nearly two miles wide, and the damage it caused cost $250 million. It was the first tornado to be rated EF5.
39. There are currently 528 caves and counting identified throughout the state.
40. In 1928, a tornado in Kansas was so strong, it plucked feathers off of some chickens.
41. In the town of Liberal, Kan., you can see a house that is an exact replica of Dorothy’s house in the movie “The Wizard of Oz.”
42. The state motto of Kansas is “to the stars through difficulties.”
43. Historians have reported that Native Americans were living in Kansas as early as 12,000 B.C.
44. In Kansas, farmland covers more than 88 percent of the total land.
45. All the wheat grown in Kansas in a single year would fit in a train stretching from western Kansas to the Atlantic Ocean.
46. The first national hamburger chain started in Kansas when Walter Anderson opened the first White Castle hamburger restaurant in Wichita in 1921.
What's your favorite Kansas fun fact? Tell us in the comments below!