Great Bend, Kansas: Wikis


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Great Bend, Kansas
—  City  —
Barton County Courthouse in Great Bend
Location of Great Bend, Kansas
Coordinates: 38°21′58″N 98°46′41″W / 38.36611°N 98.77806°W / 38.36611; -98.77806Coordinates: 38°21′58″N 98°46′41″W / 38.36611°N 98.77806°W / 38.36611; -98.77806
Country United States
State Kansas
County Barton
 - Total 10.7 sq mi (27.8 km2)
 - Land 10.6 sq mi (27.5 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 1,850 ft (564 m)
Population (2006)
 - Total 15,537
 Density 1,443.7/sq mi (557.4/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 67530
Area code(s) 620
FIPS code 20-28300[1]
GNIS feature ID 0475650[2]

Great Bend is the most populous city in and the county seat of Barton County, Kansas, United States. The population was 15,345 at the 2000 census, and it was estimated to be 15,537 in the year 2006.[3] The city was named for its location at the historic big bend of the Arkansas River. Great Bend is home to Barton Community College.



Early settlers to the area arrived ca 1870. Most of the pioneer homes were rough dugouts and sod houses that barely protected their inhabitants from the severe weather often experienced in Kansas. They were fitted with holes in the wall to defend against Indians. Early settlers killed buffalo to provide food for their family and sent the tanned hides to the East for a cash income. A few settlers tried farming, but were unsuccessful at first because the buffalo trampled the crops. The first settlements in Great Bend township were made by E. J. Dodge and D. N. Heiser in 1871.

The town was named after the Great Bend of the Arkansas River, a feature noted as early as the first days of the Santa Fe Trail. It was here that a trading post was established and later a small military post, Fort Zarah. After the Civil War the land began to be developed by easterners, and by the early 1870s a town had formed and Great Bend participated for a short time as a cow town, complete with shootouts, Texas cowboys and saloons. Following the close of the cow town phase, Great Bend took up its place as a regional trade and service center, a role that grew stronger during the growth of the oil industry and, later, when it served as a major World War II Army Air Corps training base. Since then the community has continued to develop as a medical, legal and technical service center, as well as a regional shopping and entertainment provider. Since 1973, the Fuller Brush Company has had its factories in Great Bend, having moved from Connecticut after the founder's death.


Great Bend is located at 38°21′58″N 98°46′41″W / 38.36611°N 98.77806°W / 38.36611; -98.77806 (38.366056, -98.777958) at an elevation of 1,850 feet (564 m).[2][4] The city lies on the north side of the Arkansas River in the Great Bend Sand Prairie region of the Great Plains.[5] Cheyenne Bottoms, the largest inland wetland in the United States, is located approximately 6 miles (9.7 km) to the northeast.[6] Dry Walnut Creek, a tributary of nearby Walnut Creek, flows east along the northern edge of the city.

Great Bend is located in central Kansas at the intersection of U.S. Route 281 and U.S. Route 56. The city is approximately 95 miles (153 km) northwest of Wichita and 235 miles (378 km) west-southwest of Kansas City.[7] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.7 square miles (27.8 km²), of which 10.6 square miles (27.5 km²) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²), or 1.02%, is water.[1]


Great Bend has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) with hot, humid summers and cold, dry winters. The average temperature is 55 °F (13 °C), and the average relative humidity is 67%. Great Bend experiences extremes of heat and cold with temperatures exceeding 90 °F (32 °C) an average of 77 days a year and dropping below 32 °F (0 °C) an average of 125 days a year. On average, Great Bend receives 24.1 inches (61 cm) annually and experiences 49 rainy days a year.[8] Snowfall averages 18.5 inches (47 cm) per year.[9] On average, January is the coolest month, July is the warmest month, and May is the wettest month. The hottest temperature recorded in Great Bend was 111 °F (44 °C) in 1980; the coldest temperature recorded was -21 °F (-29 °C) in 1989.[10]

Climate data for Great Bend, Kansas, USA
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Record high °F (°C) 79
Average high °F (°C) 42
Average low °F (°C) 19
Record low °F (°C) -17
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.71
Snowfall inches (mm) 5.8
Source: The Weather Channel;[10] National Weather Service[9] 15 Feb 2010


Downtown Great Bend grain elevator and abandoned Santa Fe railroad station

Agriculture is the predominant industry in Great Bend, and its grain elevators are visible from miles away. The oil industry flourished from about 1930-1960. There was even an oil well in the city park. But this industry has been on the decline for years. Cattle raising is also an important source of income for many people.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1880 1,071
1890 2,450 128.8%
1900 2,470 0.8%
1910 4,622 87.1%
1920 4,460 −3.5%
1930 5,548 24.4%
1940 9,044 63.0%
1950 12,665 40.0%
1960 16,670 31.6%
1970 16,133 −3.2%
1980 16,608 2.9%
1990 15,427 −7.1%
2000 15,345 −0.5%

Great Bend's population was estimated to be 15,537 in the year 2006, an increase of 187, or +1.2%, over the previous six years.[3]

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 15,345 people, 6,371 households, and 4,000 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,443.7 people per square mile (557.4/km²). There were 7,080 housing units at an average density of 666.1/sq mi (257.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.81% White, 1.62% African American, 0.43% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 5.77% from other races, and 2.05% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.20% of the population.

There were 6,371 households out of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.1% were married couples living together, 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.2% were non-families. 32.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.7% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 25.4% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 18.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,841, and the median income for a family was $38,708. Males had a median income of $29,339 versus $19,647 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,085. About 11.5% of families and 15.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.0% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.


Great Bend has a mayor-council form of government. The city council consists of eight members, two elected from each city ward for two-year terms. The mayor is elected at-large, also for a two-year term. The mayor and city council together constitute the city's Governing Body which sets goals, establishes policies, and approves all ordinances and resolutions.[11]


Barton Community College, a two-year, public college, is located approximately three miles northeast of Great Bend.[12][13]

USD 428 Great Bend Public Schools provides public primary and secondary education with eight schools in Great Bend:[14]

  • Washington Early Childhood Center (Pre-K)
  • Eisenhower Elementary School (Grades K-6)
  • Jefferson Elementary School (K-6)
  • Lincoln Elementary School (K-6)

There are two Christian schools in Great Bend:[15]

  • Central Kansas Christian Academy (K-8)
  • Holy Family School (Pre-K-6), Catholic school


U.S. Route 281 runs north-south through Great Bend, intersecting U.S. Route 56, K-96, and K-156 which run concurrently east-west through the city. K-96 splits from U.S. 56 and K-156 in western Great Bend, exiting the city to the northwest. U.S. 56 and K-156 continue concurrently west, then turn south and ultimately southwest.

Great Bend Municipal Airport, located approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) west of the city, hosts commercial air service and general aviation.

A Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad line runs east-west through the city with a second line branching off to the northwest, paralleling K-96.



Great Bend has one daily newspaper, The Great Bend Tribune.[16]



Frequency Callsign[17] Format[18] City of License Notes
1590 KVGB Talk Great Bend, Kansas -


Frequency Callsign[19] Format[18] City of License Notes
88.1 K201DG Christian Great Bend, Kansas Translator of KREJ, Medicine Lodge, Kansas
89.7 KBDA Christian Great Bend, Kansas AFR
90.9 KHCT Public Great Bend, Kansas NPR; Satellite of KHCC-FM, Hutchinson, Kansas
91.3 K217EN Contemporary Christian Great Bend, Kansas Air 1; Translator of KHRI, Hollister, California
91.9 KWBI Contemporary Christian Great Bend, Kansas K-LOVE
96.7 KSOB Adult Hits Larned, Kansas Jack FM; Broadcasts from Great Bend
100.7 KHOK Country Hoisington, Kansas Broadcasts from Great Bend
104.3 KVGB-FM Classic Rock Great Bend, Kansas -
106.9 KBGL Oldies Larned, Kansas Broadcasts from Great Bend
107.9 KZRS Hot Adult Contemporary Great Bend, Kansas -


Digital Channel Analog Channel Callsign[20] Network City of License Notes
22; 2 (Virtual) - KSNC NBC Great Bend, Kansas Satellite of KSNW, Wichita, Kansas
- 30 K30GD ABC Great Bend, Kansas Translator of KAKE-TV, Wichita, Kansas


From 1947 to 1989 Great Bend was the home of the Argonne Rebels Drum and Bugle Corps. Under the direction of many dedicated individuals including Glenn and Sandra Opie, the corps achieved national fame, most notably, American Legion national championships in 1971, 1972, and 1973. They were also ranked 3rd at the American Legion contest in 1956, and 5th at the Drum Corps International contest in 1972.[citation needed]

Greyhound racing got its start in the United States in the bottoms in 1887 during a formal coursing event.[21]

In popular culture

  • In November 1959 Perry Smith and Richard Hickok stopped for dinner in Great Bend on their 400 mile journey to Holcomb, KS., where they murdered the Clutter family. Author Truman Capote wrote a ground breaking book In Cold Blood about the murder. In 1967 part of the movie, by the same name, was filmed in Great Bend.[citation needed]
  • In the 1993 novel The Death and Life of Superman by Roger Stern, Jonathan and Martha Kent drive from the Great Bend, Kansas airport to Smallville[22], which would put Smallville somewhere in central Kansas.

Notable natives and residents


  1. ^ a b c "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ a b "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ a b "Population Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division.  Annual estimates of the population to 2006-07-01. Released 2007-06-28. Population change is from 2000-07-01 to 2006-07-01.
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "Ecoregions of Nebraska and Kansas". Environmental Protection Agency. 2001. Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  6. ^ Cheyenne Bottoms: Jewel of the Prairie - - Retrieved February 10, 2009
  7. ^ "City Distance Tool". Geobytes. Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  8. ^ "Historical Weather for Great Bend, Kansas, United States of America". Weatherbase. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  9. ^ a b "NOWData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Weather Service Forecast Office - Wichita, KS. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  10. ^ a b "Average weather for Great Bend". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  11. ^ "Governing Body". City of Great Bend. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  12. ^ "Programs of Study". Barton Community College. Retrieved 2010-01-27. 
  13. ^ "About Our Campuses". Barton Community College. Retrieved 2010=01-27. 
  14. ^ "USD 428 Great Bend". USD 429 Great Bend Public Schools. Retrieved 2010-01-27. 
  15. ^ "Schools". City of Great Bend. Retrieved 2010-01-27. 
  16. ^ "About this Newspaper: Great Bend tribune". Chronicling America. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  17. ^ "AMQ AM Radio Database Query". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  18. ^ a b "Station Information Profile". Arbitron. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  19. ^ "FMQ FM Radio Database Query". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  20. ^ "TVQ TV Database Query". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  21. ^ History of the Greyhound and Greyhound Racing - The Greyhound Review, February 2006
  22. ^ Stern, Roger. The Death and Life of Superman. Bantan Books: New York. 1993: 286.

External links

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