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Wichita City Information

Jerry Self
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1.866.389.4854
jself@JerrySelf.com


 


Wichita History

Archaeological evidence indicates that the site of present-day Wichita, which is located at the junction of the Arkansas Rivers in south central Kansas, has served as a trading center and meeting place for at least eleven thousand years. Early inhabitants were nomadic, following the game they hunted throughout the central continent. European explorers may have first visited Kansas in 1541, when the Spaniard Francisco Vasquez de Coronado hunted for the mythical "golden" cities of Quivira. French and American explorers followed in later centuries.

The forces of westward expansion and financial rewards attracted the first white settlers to the area in the 1850s and 1860s, some of whom realized great profits from hunting and trapping the wildlife and trading with the native population. Among them were James R. Mead, Jesse Chisholm, William Greiffenstein, and William Mathewson; men who later shared a vision for a city on the prairie.

The City of Wichita was incorporated in 1870 as a village due to the efforts of Mead, Greiffenstein and other pioneers, and became county seat of Sedgwick County soon thereafter. A short-lived army post known as Camp Beecher was established nearby, providing a market for local businesses. In 1872, the railroad arrived, and Wichita became the destination for Texas cattle being driven north along the Chisholm Trail for shipment by rail to eastern markets. This industry coupled with the grain and milling market, led to rapid growth of the community. By 1886 Wichita was incorporated as a city of first class, and was established as the region’s principal city.

Just as the city experienced its initial growth during the post-Civil War era, so did the periods of the two 20th-century world wars bring further development. In 1917, the first plane, the Cessna Comet, was manufactured in Wichita. Over the course of the inter-war years, this industry would grow to establish Wichita as the "air capital." World War II brought thousands of aircraft manufacturing jobs to the city in the early 1940’s, resulting in a population explosion. Activation of the Wichita Air Force Base in 1951 (renamed McConnell in 1954) attracted thousands more. The entrepreneurial spirit that prompted Wichita’s founding continued in the development of several companies that would rise to national prominence, such as Mentholatum, Boeing, Beech, Lear, Cessna, Coleman, White Castle, Pizza Hut, and Koch Industries.

             
Demographics

Wichita is home to approximately 362,000 people, and is the county seat of Sedgwick County. It is currently the 51st largest city in the nation, and the largest metropolitan area in Kansas. The median income for a family was $49,300 according to the 2000 census. Race population statistics find the following estimates for the city:  68.8% Caucasian, 12.9% African-American, 11.9% Hispanic, 5.1% Asian, 2.5% Native American.
 
Geography and Climate

Wichita is situated in south-central Kansas on the banks of the Arkansas River. As a city on the Great Plains, Wichita is surrounded by flat, fertile farmland, and agriculture is a large industry in the area (especially wheat). Wichita has a wide range of temperatures and weather, despite its central, land-locked location. Summer temperatures can climb to over 100 degrees with high humidity, and winter temperatures can plummet to near zero. Wichita's location also makes it very windy at times, as there are no natural windbreaks. However, in an average year, Wichita enjoys twice as many clear, sunny days (140) as Miami, Florida.
 

Important Links

City of Wichita
Sedgwick County 
Wichita Police Department
Wichita Fire Department
Sedgwick County Health Department
Sedgwick County Sherriff's Office

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