Many Kansas residents celebrate Kansas Day on January 29, which commemorates the day that the state was admitted into the Union in 1861. It has been celebrated since 1877. Celebrations of Kansas Day typically include:
- Lectures and lessons on Kansas history
- Visits to historical sites
- Museum attendance
- Visiting the capitol
- Special events at libraries or other places of education
The main way to commemorate Kansas Day is to learn about the state’s history. Kansas was admitted as a state in 1861, a time of national division and upheaval. After the U.S. had acquired the territory in the Louisiana Purchase but before becoming a state, the settlement’s stance on slavery had been fought over by abolitionists and pro-slavery advocates. This time, known as Bleeding Kansas, was a hub of violent disagreement between the two groups.
Kansas was eventually admitted as a free state. A major allure for settlers was the wide open prairies, much of which turned into farmland. The state was also closely associated with the Wild West era with the Chisholm Trail, which was used to drive cattle between Kansas and Texas, and figures such as Wild Bill Hickok, Bat Masterson, and Wyatt Earp. Kansas was the first to establish prohibition on alcohol.
Today, Kansas remains an agricultural powerhouse, producing mainly wheat.
Kansas Fun Facts:
- The capitol of Kansas is Topeka.
- In 1887, the Kansan town of Argonia was the first American town to elect a female mayor.
- Kansas contains the geographical center of the U.S. mainland.
- The largest population of grouse, or wild chickens, is in Kansas.
- A major producer of wheat, the state houses the American Institute of Baking.
- Its official song is “Home on the Range”.