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Wamego, Kansas
—  City  —
Location of Wamego, Kansas
Coordinates: 39°12′15″N 96°18′30″W / 39.20417°N 96.30833°W / 39.20417; -96.30833
Country United States
State Kansas
County Pottawatomie
 - Total 1.7 sq mi (4.3 km2)
 - Land 1.6 sq mi (4.2 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 991 ft (302 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 4,246
 - Density 2,615.3/sq mi (1,009.8/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 66547
Area code(s) 785
FIPS code 20-75325[1]
GNIS feature ID 0476420[2]

Wamego (pronounced /wɔːˈmiːɡoʊ/) is a city in Pottawatomie County, Kansas, United States. The population was 4,246 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Manhattan, Kansas Metropolitan Statistical Area.



The LSD lab

On 7 November 2000, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration discovered one of the country's largest LSD lab inside a converted military missile silo in Wamego.[3]


Wamego is located at 39°12′15″N 96°18′30″W / 39.20417°N 96.30833°W / 39.20417; -96.30833 (39.204074, -96.308328)[4].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.7 square miles (4.3 km²), of which, 1.6 square miles (4.2 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (2.40%) is water.

Wamego is located at the intersection of U.S. Route 24 and K-99. It is about 26 km (17mi) east of Manhattan, home of Kansas State University; and about 75 km (35 mi) west-northwest of Topeka, the state capital. The Kansas River flows along the southern edge of the city.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 4,246 people, 1,630 households, and 1,155 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,615.3 people per square mile (1,012.0/km²). There were 1,740 housing units at an average density of 1,071.7/sq mi (414.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.75% White, 0.73% African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.78% from other races, and 1.27% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.88% of the population.

There were 1,630 households out of which 38.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.7% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.1% were non-families. 25.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the city the population was spread out with 29.4% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 17.8% from 45 to 64, and 14.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 93.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $38,115, and the median income for a family was $46,017. Males had a median income of $29,881 versus $21,974 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,307. About 5.7% of families and 8.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.1% of those under age 18 and 18.0% of those age 65 or over.


The primary industry of the area is agriculture. The broad river valley is used to grow alfalfa, sweetcorn, maize and wheat. In the hills around the city, rocky pastures support herds of cattle. There is a processing plant for alfalfa in Wamego. The other major industry is a factory which produces attachments for earth-moving and other heavy construction equipment, wholly owned by Caterpillar, Inc.. Many of the residents of the city commute to nearby areas for employment, chiefly Manhattan and Topeka.


Wamego is served by Unified School District 320[5][6], which provides Kindergarten through 12th grade public education. Highland Community College[7] has a branch facility in the city.

The Wizard of Oz

Located in Wamego is a museum dedicated to The Wizard of Oz [8], featuring a collection of over 25,000 Oz artifacts on permanent loan from Friar Johnpaul Cafiero.[9][10] The Museum was founded in April of 2004[11], and led to the development of several other small businesses with the oz theme, which have come to be known as the "Oz Cluster."[12] Prominent Oz-related businesses include the Oz Winery and Toto's Tacoz.[13]

On the first weekend of October, Wamego holds its Annual OZtoberFEST, an Oktoberfest-type celebration with an Oz theme.[9] The 2009 Festival hosted 3 of the existing original Munchkins from the MGM movie, Oz Historian and Emmy Award winner John Fricke, Robert and Roger Baum (Great Grandsons of L. Frank Baum), Judy Garland Collector Michael Siewert, and Author Steve Cox.[9] The festival also hosted Hot Air Balloon Rides, Tallgrass Brewery Beer Garden, the Yellow Brick Road Bike Ride, and the Columbian Theatre's Production of The Wizard of Oz.[14]


Wamego served as the backdrop for the independent film production of Steve Balderson's surrealist crime drama, Firecracker. Named on Roger Ebert's list of the year's best films (2005), the film is based on a true crime that happened in Wamego. Balderson, a Wamego-native, used actual locations where the crime occurred.

Sports in Wamego

Wamego supports a recreation department that hosts soccer, volleyball, and basketball. In addition, they have an independent swim team that recorded over 75 members in 2006.

Points of interest

Notable natives and residents


External links



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