Souvenirs from Kansas
If you think Kansas is just the home of small village rural charm, think again. The state may surprise you with its urban modernity, unique approach to the Wild West legacy and its reinvention of traditional museums. Kansas people pride themselves with living in the state which set the standard for the pure American spirit of iconic sceneries, wild prairies, colourful hills and green fields - all seemingly untouched by modernity. Even the historical North American bison can still be seen in a lost valley or along an old road. The romantic shades of the Smoky Hills in Central Kansas, the surreal prairies with the last tall-grass in the USA or the silent beauty of the Gypsum Hills in Southern Kansas can all be marvelled at and explored every year without fail. Keep Kansas charm alive with fridge magnets, keychains, souvenir plates and T-shirts available now online.
Kansas, the Western Frontier
The old rural charm and tranquillity of Kansas have little in common with the historic conflicts which shaped it from violent cultural clashes to the frightening everyday realities of old Wild West historic towns full of cowboy shootings and horse ridings. Kansas had marked the Western boundary of the newly established USA for decades hence its controversial history of Native American and colonist conflicts which soon earned Kansas the name of 'Bleeding Kansas'. Beyond the Kansas border a world of opportunities and new beginnings existed in the minds and hearts of those who took the famous Conestoga trains and headed to the unknown. During the Civil War, Kansas had often been the place of outrageous aggression: in 1858 supporters of slavery killed eleven men and in the same place John Brown later ordered the construction of a fort which can be visited as part of the Marais des Cygnes Massacre State Historic Site opened in the 1970s. Similarly the Mine Creek Battlefield State Historic Site celebrates the memory of famous Mine Creek battle during the Civil War and prairie trails are available.
The Kansas of the Wild West
In pure Kansas style, within the state's museums and historical sites, an abundance of Wild West stories is beautifully brought to life with large collections of Native American and Civil War memorabilia and a unique chance to spot authentic railroads or legendary forts which tell exciting stories of colonists, war and peace. Within the Appanoose area, real buildings such as farm houses and schools dating back to the beginning of the 20th century are rebuilt in the Museum on the Prairie. Fascinating history bits which are not taught in schools are rediscovered and promoted in Kansas: try the Surveyor's Monument which tells the story of a great land surveying in the middle of the 19th century and of early administrative boundaries between states such as Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming.
A Journey of Old Charm
For the intense feeling of travelling to old Kansas, the Abilene & Smoky Valley Excursion Train will take you from Abilene to Enterprise and you'll even get the chance to sit in a wooden diner and admire the beautiful Smoky Hill River Valley. Also don't miss your chance to take a Yellow Brick Road Trip, you may fall in love with the legends of cowboys and get a sneaky glimpse into the real lives of famous cattle towns, some of which have nowadays turned into modern cities of shopaholics such as Wichita and Dodge City. Still throughout Kansas, the cowboy spirit continues to live in small places such as Newton and Ellsworth.