Category: Kingman


Riggs/Waterloo Aboretum

Established by John Water Riggs, the Riggs Arboretum at Waterloo is perhaps the oldest and least known arboretum west of the Mississippi River.

The property is in essence a large (10 acre) grove of trees, most ranging in age from 75 to 100+ years. There are no remaining structures although foundations and other evidences exist in sufficient detail to allow documentation of locations of the residence, horticultural buildings, processing areas and other facilities of the working nursery, circa 1910.

The grove yet contains many of the first trees of type to be introduced in the state and several which were also among the first nationally. The grove also contains three of the state champion large trees; a Yellowwood, a Loblolly pine and a Laurel oak, which were early introductions from the native forests toward the east.

Although generally overgrown, the grounds contain a network of walking paths, some of recent construction, which allow pedestrian circulation for observation of specimen, trees, many of which are over 100 feet tall.rn

Kingman State Fishing Lake

Kingman State Fishing Lake and Byron Walker Wildlife Area are located on U.S. Highway 54 seven miles west of Kingman, in the valley of the South Fork of the Ninnescah River. The area encompasses 4,529 acres, including the 144-acre Kingman State Fishing Lake.

Picnic Tables, firerings, pit toilets, and a group shelter are available for campers, picnickers, and fisherman. Camping is permitted in designated areas only. Two boat launching facilities are located on the east side of the lake. Motorized boating in Kingman State Fishing Lake is restricted to fishing only and a no wake policy is enforced.

Byron Walker Wildlife Area

Hunters and non-consumptive wildlife users alike will find plenty to do on Byron Walker Wildlife Area. The habitat is diverse, including streamside woodlands, shrub plots, native prairie and food plots. Most of the grassland has been enhanced with tree and shrub cover strips adjacent to food plots.

Wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy a self-guided nature trail which begins at the northeast corner of Kingman State Fishing Lake. The diverse habitat offers users excellent opportunities to view many varied types of plants and animals. Additional Wildlife viewing is offered just east of the headquarters on the south side of the highway, where a small herd of bison may be seen in the pasture.

Former Santa Fe Depot

In March, 1999, the Santa Fe Depot was purchased by a private citizen from the Central Kansas Railway and later deeded to The Santa Fe Depot Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. The railroad itself has been purchased by the Watco Co., Pittsburg, KS, who operate the railroad as Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad.

The depot is restored back to its original look as much as possible. The main use of the depot is the Cannonball Welcome Center and a railroad museum. The museum features railroad memorabilia from a private collection, from items found within the depot, and other items that have been donated or loaned. There is also a display of HO gauge model trains. Small meetings, parties, reunions, etc. can be held in and around the building.

History – The former Santa Fe Depot has played an important part of the history of the city of Kingman. Construction of the railroad was begun in 1883 as the Wichita and Western Railroad from Wichita and reached Kingman by October 1884. The line was extended to Pratt by 1887 under the name of Kingman Pratt & Western Railroad. Under foreclosure, the line was purchased by The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway in December, 1898.

In January 1994, the line from Wichita to Pratt and from Kingman south and west was sold to OmniTRAX of Denver and became known as Central Kansas Railway. Omnitrax sold the railroad to Watco in 2001, who still operate the railroad today.rn rnThe first depot, a wooden structure, was built in 1884. When it was replaced by the present brick depot in 1910, it was used as a freight house until torn down in 1947. Its crowing moment history was in 1900 when a train bearing Theodore Roosevelt made stop beside the depot and the San Juan hero mesmerized the crowd with a speech.

The brick countyseat style depot which still stands at the intersection of Spruce and Sherman Streets was built in 1910 at a cost of $13,480.98. It had both ladies and men’s waiting rooms, modern restrooms for each, and a 14 x 14 office for the agent. At the east end was located a baggage room and a freight room. At the west end was an open- air waiting room with concrete benches. Electric lights illuminated the building and steam heat provided warmth with the coal bin located in the basement of the depot. The boiler is still located in the basement but has been converted to gas. It was in working order when it was shut off when some of the heat radiators were disconnected.

Having this depot was important to the progress of Kingman as it indicated a faith that the town was going to grow. Having the court house built in 1908, across the street north helped to further this belief.

The depot is built of No. 1 Coffeyville brick, trimmedwith Bedford stone, and has a green glazed tile roof.

The depot was a center of special activities throughout the years. Agricultural trains stopped to give local farmers an education in farming practices. Special trains brought people from Pratt and Wichita during the annual Cattlemen’s Picnic. The high school used the trains to go to sporting events.

Still remembered by many around Kingman was the day that Co. L, 137th Infantry, 35th Division of the Kansas National Guard Troop shipped from the depot in January 1941. They served overseas with many casualties.

Passenger trains brought new residents to this area during the 1880s through the turn of the century. Regular passenger trains operated until the 1930s when it became a mixed train. The last passengers to ride on this line was in 1967.

There is a brick sidewalk, 8 feet wide and bordered by brick curbing, leading from the depot to Main Street. This sidewalk was neglected for several years and nearly buried under dirt and grass. While Santa Fe yet owned the property, two ladies received permission to restore the sidewalk. They spent the summer hauling away wheelbarrow loads of dirt and down on their knees pulling out the grass. When they were finished, the townspeople began to notice the depot itself.

Within a year after Central Kansas took possession, the local citizens received permission to give the depot a cosmetic restoration. Many people spent several hours scraping, repairing, and painting until the building fairly glistened.

Cannonball Stageline Highway

Donald R. Green was originally from Kentucky but learned to ride a stage coach while living in Montana. Hearing about how people were moving westward through Kansas during the late 1800s beyond where the railroads ended, he saw a financial opportunity.

Beginning in Kingman, west of Wichita, he soon had a reputation for moving people faster than any other stageline. Remembering the legend of the Wabash Cannonball trail and comparing the speed of his stages to it, Green named the stageline “The Cannonball” and claimed that even Father Time could not keep up with him. Using two teams of horses, he had relay stations every ten to fifteen miles, thus being able to travel faster than his competition.

His stageline first went from Kingman to Coldwater, a 100-mile trip. This trip would include Pratt, west of Kingman, and the round trip could be made in 2 days. Ever looking for new opportunities, Green teamed with other men to found the city of Greensburg.

Green was elected to represent Greensburg and Kiowa County in the state legislature. It was during this time that the nickname “Cannonball” was tagged on him.

As the railroads caught up with him, Green would move further west and in 1889 he made an agreement with the Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railroad to take passengers to the unassigned land in Indian Territory. This was to be the salvation of his by then foundering company, but it turned into the downfall instead as the railroad did not let him know in time that nearly all the passengers would arrive on one train and he could not possibly take care of them all. His reputation suffered immensely.

In 1893 he made the run into the Cherokee Strip and staked a claim northwest of Pond Creek. Never as successful at farming as he had been as a stage coach driver, he lost his great financial status, but never his flamboyancy and determination.

D.R. “Cannonball” died in 1922 at the age of 85 years in Long Beach, California.

When Woody Hockaday began marking major roads, he followed the former Cannonball Stage route. In later years, this route became U.S. Highway 54.

rn- Researched speech presented to the State of Kansas Transportation Committees to acquire the official designation of Highway 54 between Kingman and Greensburg as the Cannonball Stageline Highway.

Kingman Post Office Mural

The Kingman Post Office is listed on the National Register of Historic Places because of the mural on the inside south wall of the building.

The Painting at the Kingman Post Office is one of over 1300 pieces of art, murals, paintings and sculpture which were placed in federal buildings constructed between 1935 and 1943 as New Deal projects, to bring art to the general public.

Artist, -Jesse Wilbur

Stan Herd Murals

Stan Herd, a famous international artist, painted two murals on the north wall of the Kingman County Museum.

Clyde Cessna is depicted flying his first airplane over Kingman County. In 1911, Clyde founded Cessna Aircraft Company.

The second mural depicts a stagecoach running the Cannonball Stage Highway. “Cannonball” Green owned and operated this Stan Herd, ’98stage service that originated at Kingman.

Kingman County Museum

Completed in 1888, the building was originally the Kingman City Hall, fire department, and city jail. The two-story Renaissance-style structure is 150 feet by 25 feet of Kingman red brick and native limestone.

The museum has two floors filled with memorabilia depicting the history of Kingman County and Kansas. Items are included from prehistoric bones to instruments of the city’s first surveyor on through the years to the City of Kingman’s Centennial celebration in 1983.

The octagonal tower is nearly 80 feet from its cylindrical stone base to its tip. It was used to dry 50-foot lengths of cotton fire hose, which would rot if rolled with water inside.