52 Weeks of Fun

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, Cowley County

Arkansas City Convention and Visitors Bureau

Local Attractions

Arkansas City lies in the peninsula formed by the meeting of the wide Arkansas and swift Walnut Rivers, in Cowley County. The name of this city is not pronounced like the nearby state of Arkansas, but rather as the state of Kansas, with the final "s" being pronounced. Over the years there has been much confusion over the regional pronunciation.

For a long time, experts debated whether present-day Arkansas City sat on the site of an ancestral Wichita city, said to have flourished from 1450 to 1700 with an estimated population of 20,000. In 2015, an anthropologist, Witchita State University Professor Dr. Don Blakeslee, led a wide-ranging field study in central and southern Kansas and rediscovered the long-lost Native American city of Etzanoa. Tours are now led from the Cherokee Strip Land Museum.

The Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889 (followed by the Cherokee Strip Land Run) was the first land run into the Unassigned Lands of former Indian Territory, which had earlier been assigned to the Creek and Seminole peoples. The land run started at high noon on April 22, 1889, and over the next four years, Arkansas City served as a gathering point for hundreds of thousands of people headed to the Kansas-Oklahoma border. Jockeying for positions was every conceivable mode of transportation at the time, including ox carts, bicycles, covered wagons, ponies, and racehorses all lined up. In addition, thousands walked or ran. The Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum offers visitors a history of these events.

In 1928, the city's official fall festival, Arkalalah, was inaugurated. This annual event still draws thousands of visitors each October and features a queen, a carnival, dozens of homegrown fair food vendors, and a spectacular parade typically lasting two hours or more. During the 1955 Arkalalah celebration, retired Santa Fe steam locomotive 2542 was dedicated in Wilson Park, where it remains today.

Visit Arkansas City and take in the rich history of Kansas, as well as the unique architecture that makes Arkansas City special. From downtown tours to hiking and biking trails, its great outdoors will satisfy any enthusiast.

, Arkansas City Chamber
, Arkansas City

A 52 Weeks of Fun Fascinating Fact about Arkansas City

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