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For other uses, see Wichita (disambiguation).
|Nickname(s): Air Capital Of The World, ICT|
Location within Sedgwick County and Kansas
|Coordinates: Coordinates: |
|• Mayor||Jeff Longwell (R)|
|• City Manager||Robert Layton|
|• City||163.59 sq mi (423.70 km2)|
|• Land||159.29 sq mi (412.56 km2)|
|• Water||4.30 sq mi (11.14 km2)|
|Elevation||1,299 ft (396 m)|
|• Estimate (2014)||388,413|
|• Rank||US: 49th|
|• Density||2,300/sq mi (900/km2)|
|• Metro||641,076 (US: 84th)|
|Time zone||CST (Central) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|ZIP Codes||67201-67221, 67223, 67226-67228, 67230, 67232, 67235, 67260, 67275-67278 |
|FIPS code||20-79000 |
|GNIS feature ID||0473862 |
The city began as a trading post on the Chisholm Trail in the 1860s, then was incorporated in 1870. It subsequently became a key destination for cattle drives traveling north from Texas to access railroads, earning it the nickname "Cowtown". In the 1920s and 1930s, businessmen and aeronautical engineers established a number of successful aircraft manufacturing companies in Wichita including Beechcraft, Cessna, and Stearman Aircraft. The city transformed into a hub of U.S. aircraft production and became known as "The Air Capital of the World". Beechcraft, Cessna, (both now part of Textron Aviation) and other firms including Learjet, Airbus, and Spirit AeroSystems continue to operate design and manufacturing facilities in Wichita today, and the city remains a major center of the U.S. aircraft industry.
As an industrial hub and the largest city in the state, Wichita is an area center of culture, media, and trade. It hosts several large museums, theatres, parks, and entertainment venues, notably Intrust Bank Arena. Several universities are located in the city including Wichita State University, the third largest in the state. The city's daily newspaper, The Wichita Eagle, has the highest circulation of any newspaper in Kansas, and the Wichita broadcast television market includes the western two-thirds of the state. Wichita is also home to two large shopping malls, Towne East Square and Towne West Square, as well as the Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center and Kansas's largest airport, Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport.
See also: History of KansasArchaeological evidence indicates human habitation near the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas Rivers, the site of present-day Wichita, as far back as 3000 B.C. In 1541, a Spanish expedition led by explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado found the area populated by the Quivira, or Wichita, people. Conflict with the Osage in the 1750s drove the Wichita further south. Prior to American settlement of the region, the site was located in the territory of the Kiowa. Claimed first by France as part of Louisiana and later acquired by the United States with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, it became part of Kansas Territory in 1854 and then the state of Kansas in 1861.
The Wichita returned in 1864 due to the American Civil War and established a settlement on the banks of the Little Arkansas. During this period, trader Jesse Chisholm established a trading post at the site, one of several along a trail extending south to Texas which became known as the Chisholm Trail. After the war, the Wichita permanently relocated south to Indian Territory, present-day Oklahoma.
In 1868, trader James R. Mead established another trading post at the site, and surveyor Darius Munger built a house for use as a hotel, community center, and post office. Business opportunities attracted area hunters and traders, and a new settlement began to form. That summer, Mead and others organized the Wichita Town Company, naming the settlement after the Wichita tribe. In 1870, Munger and German immigrant William "Dutch Bill" Greiffenstein filed plats laying out the city's first streets. Wichita formally incorporated as a city on July 21, 1870.
Rapid immigration resulted in a speculative land boom in the late 1880s, stimulating further expansion of the city. Fairmount College, which eventually grew into Wichita State University, opened in 1886; Garfield University, which eventually became Friends University, opened in 1887. By 1890, Wichita had become the third-largest city in the state after Kansas City and Topeka with a population of nearly 24,000. After the boom, however, the city entered an economic recession, and many of the original settlers went bankrupt.
In 1914 and 1915, deposits of oil and natural gas were discovered in nearby Butler County. This triggered another economic boom in Wichita as producers established refineries, fueling stations, and headquarters in the city. By 1917, there were five operating refineries in Wichita with another seven built in the 1920s. The careers and fortunes of future oil moguls Archibald Derby, who later founded Derby Oil, and Fred C. Koch, who established what would become Koch Industries, both began in Wichita during this period.
The money generated by the oil boom enabled local entrepreneurs to invest in the nascent airplane manufacturing industry. In 1917, Clyde Cessna built his Cessna Comet in Wichita, the first aircraft built in the city. In 1920, two local oilmen invited Chicago aircraft builder Emil "Matty" Laird to manufacture his designs in Wichita, leading to the formation of the Swallow Airplane Company. Two early Swallow employees, Lloyd Stearman and Walter Beech, went on to found two prominent Wichita-based companies, Stearman Aircraft in 1926 and Beechcraft in 1932, respectively. Cessna, meanwhile, started his own eponymous company in Wichita in 1927. The city became such a center of the industry that the Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce dubbed it the "Air Capital of the World" in 1929.
Wichita has been a focal point of national political controversy multiple times in its history. In 1900, famous temperance extremist Carrie Nation struck in Wichita upon learning the city was not enforcing Kansas's prohibition ordinance. The Dockum Drug Store sit-in took place in the city in 1958 with protesters pushing for desegregation. In 1991, thousands of anti-abortion protesters blockaded and held sit-ins at Wichita abortion clinics, particularly the clinic of George Tiller. Tiller was later killed in Wichita by an extremist in 2009.
Except for a slow period in the 1970s, Wichita has continued to grow steadily into the 21st century. In the late 1990s and 2000s, the city government and local organizations began collaborating to re-develop downtown Wichita and older neighborhoods in the city. Intrust Bank Arena opened downtown in 2010.
Boeing ended its operations in Wichita in 2014. However, the city remains a national center of aircraft manufacturing with other companies including Spirit AeroSystems and Airbus maintaining facilities in Wichita.
Wichita Mid-Continent Airport was officially renamed Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport after the Kansas native and U.S. President in 2015.
The Arkansas follows a winding course, south-southeast through Wichita, roughly bisecting the city. It is joined along its course by several tributaries all of which flow generally south. The largest is the Little Arkansas River, which enters the city from the north and joins the Arkansas immediately west of downtown. Further east lies Chisholm Creek which joins the Arkansas in the far southern part of the city. The Chisholm's own tributaries drain much of the city's eastern half; these include the creek's West, Middle, and East Forks as well as, further south, Gypsum Creek. The Gypsum is fed by its own tributary, Dry Creek. Two more of the Arkansas' tributaries lie west of its course; from east to west, these are Big Slough Creek and Cowskin Creek. Both streams run south through the western part of the city. Fourmile Creek, a tributary of the Walnut River, flows south through the far eastern part of the city.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 163.59 sq mi (423.70 km2), of which 159.29 sq mi (412.56 km2) is land and 4.30 sq mi (11.14 km2) is water.
As the core of the Wichita metropolitan area, the city is surrounded by suburbs. Bordering Wichita on the north are, from west to east, Valley Center, Park City, Kechi, and Bel Aire. Enclosed within east-central Wichita is Eastborough. Adjacent to the city's east side is Andover. McConnell Air Force Base lies immediately southeast of the city. To the south, from east to west, are Derby and Haysville. Goddard and Maize border Wichita to the west and northwest, respectively.
The average temperature in the city is 56.9 °F (13.8 °C). Over the course of a year, the monthly daily average temperature ranges from 32.2 °F (0.1 °C) in January to 81.1 °F (27.3 °C) in July. The high temperature reaches or exceeds 90 °F (32 °C) an average of 62 days a year and 100 °F (38 °C) an average of 12 days a year. The minimum temperature falls to or below 10 °F (−12 °C) on an average 8.5 days a year. The hottest temperature recorded in Wichita was 114 °F (46 °C) in 1936; the coldest temperature recorded was −22 °F (−30 °C) on February 12, 1899. Readings as low as −17 °F (−27 °C) and as high as 111 °F (44 °C) occurred as recently as February 10, 2011 and July 29–30, 2012, respectively.
During an average year, Wichita receives 32.69 inches (830 mm) of precipitation, most of which occurs in the warmer months, and experiences 88 days of measurable precipitation. The average relative humidity is 80% in the morning and 49% in the evening. Annual snowfall averages 15.6 inches (40 cm). Measurable snowfall occurs an average of ten days per year with at least an inch of snow being received on five of those days. Snow depth of at least an inch occurs an average of 15 days a year. The average window for freezing temperatures is October 26 through April 11.
|[show]Climate data for Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, Kansas (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1888–present)[a]|
The two most notable residential areas of Wichita are Riverside and College Hill. Riverside is northwest of the downtown area, across the Arkansas River, and surrounds the 120-acre (0.49 km2) Riverside Park. College Hill is east of the downtown area, south of Wichita State University. College Hill is one of the more historic neighborhoods, along with Delano on the west side and Midtown in the north-central city.
Main article: Demographics of Wichita, Kansas
|U.S. Decennial Census
2010 censusAs of the 2010 census, there were 382,368 people, 151,818 households, and 94,862 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,304.8 per square mile (889.9/km²). There were 167,310 housing units at an average density of 1,022.1 per square mile (475.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.9% White, 11.5% African American, 4.8% Asian, 1.2% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 6.2% from other races, and 4.3% from two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race were 15.3% of the population.
Of the 151,818 households, 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.1% were married couples living together, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48, and the average family size was 3.14.
The median age in the city was 33.9 years. 26.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.9% were from 25 to 44; 24.9% were from 45 to 64; and 11.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.3% male and 50.7% female.
The median income for a household in the city was $44,477, and the median income for a family was $57,088. Males had a median income of $42,783 versus $32,155 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,517. About 12.1% of families and 15.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.5% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.
Main article: Wichita, KS Metropolitan Statistical AreaWichita is the principal city of both the Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and the Wichita-Winfield Combined Statistical Area (CSA). The Wichita MSA encompasses Sedgwick, Butler, Harvey, and Sumner counties and, as of 2010, had an population of 623,061, making it the 84th largest MSA in the United States.
The larger Wichita-Winfield CSA also includes Cowley County and, as of 2013, had an estimated population of 673,598. Nearby Reno County is not a part of the Wichita MSA or Wichita-Winfield CSA, but, were it included, it would add an additional population of 64,511 as of 2010.
Healthcare is Wichita's second-largest industry, employing approximately 28,000 people in the local area. Since healthcare needs remain fairly consistent regardless of the economy, this field was not subject to the same pressures that affected other industries in the early 2000s. The Kansas Spine Hospital opened in 2004, as did a critical care tower at Wesley Medical Center. In July 2010, Via Christi Health, which is the largest provider of healthcare services in Kansas, opened a hospital that will serve the northwest area of Wichita. Via Christi Hospital on St. Teresa is the system's fifth hospital to serve the Wichita community.
Thanks to the early 20th-Century oil boom in neighboring Butler County, Kansas, Wichita became a major oil town, with dozens of oil exploration companies and support enterprises. Most famous of these was Koch Industries, today a global natural-resources conglomerate. The city was also at one time the headquarters of the former Derby Oil Company, which was purchased by Coastal Corporation in 1988.
Koch Industries and Cargill, the two largest privately held companies in the United States, both operate headquarters facilities in Wichita. Koch Industries' primary global corporate headquarters is located in a large office-tower complex in northeast Wichita. Cargill Meat Solutions Div., at one time the nation's 3rd-largest beef producer, is headquartered downtown. Other firms with headquarters in Wichita include roller-coaster manufacturer Chance Morgan, gourmet food retailer Dean & Deluca, renewable energy company Alternative Energy Solutions, and Coleman Company, a manufacturer of camping and outdoor recreation supplies. Air Midwest, the nation's first officially certificated "commuter" airline, was founded and headquartered in Wichita and evolved into the nation's 8th largest regional airline prior to its dissolution in 2008.
As of 2013, 68.2% of the population over the age of 16 was in the labor force. 0.6% was in the armed forces, and 67.6% was in the civilian labor force with 61.2% employed and 6.4% unemployed. The occupational composition of the employed civilian labor force was: 33.3% in management, business, science, and arts; 25.1% in sales and office occupations; 17.2% in service occupations; 14.0% in production, transportation, and material moving; 10.4% in natural resources, construction, and maintenance. The three industries employing the largest percentages of the working civilian labor force were: educational services, health care, and social assistance (22.3%); manufacturing (19.2%); and retail trade (11.0%).
The cost of living in Wichita is below average; compared to a U.S. average of 100, the cost of living index for the city is 84.0. As of 2013, the median home value in the city was $117,500, the median selected monthly owner cost was $1,194 for housing units with a mortgage and $419 for those without, and the median gross rent was $690.
Today, Cessna Aircraft Co. (the world's highest-volume airplane manufacturer) and Beechcraft remain based in Wichita having merged into Textron Aviation in 2014, along with Learjet and Boeing's chief subassembly supplier, Spirit AeroSystems. Airbus maintains a workforce in Wichita, and Bombardier (parent company of Learjet) has other divisions in Wichita as well. Over 50 other aviation businesses operate in the Wichita MSA, as well dozens of suppliers and subcontractors to the local aircraft manufacturers. In total, Wichita and its companies have manufactured an estimated 250,000 aircraft since Clyde Cessna's first Wichita-built aircraft in 1916.
In the early 2000s, a national and international recession combined with the after effects of the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks to depress the aviation sub-sector in and around Wichita. Orders for new aircraft plummeted, prompting Wichita's five largest aircraft manufacturers, Boeing Co., Cessna Aircraft Co., Bombardier Learjet Inc., Hawker Beechcraft and Raytheon Aircraft Co.—to slash a combined 15,000 jobs between 2001 and 2004. In response, these companies began developing small- and mid-sized airplanes to appeal to business and corporate users. In 2007, Wichita built 977 aircraft, ranging from single-engine light aircraft to the world's fastest civilian jet; one-fifth of the civilian aircraft produced in United States that year, plus numerous small military aircraft. In early 2012, Boeing announced it would be closing its Wichita plant by the end of 2013.
EventsThe Wichita River Festival has been held in the Downtown and Old Town areas of the city since 1972. It has featured events, musical entertainment, sporting events, traveling exhibits, cultural and historical activities, plays, interactive children's events, a flea market, river events, a parade, block parties, a food court, fireworks, and souvenirs for the roughly 370,000+ patrons who attend each year. In 2011, the festival was moved from May to June because of rain during previous festivals.
The annual Wichita Black Arts Festival, held in the spring, celebrates the arts, crafts and creativity of Wichita's large African-American community. It usually takes place in Central-Northeast Wichita. A Juneteeth event and parade also are common annual events.
The International Student Association at Wichita State University presents an annual international cultural exhibition and food festival, on the campus at WSU, providing an inexpensive sampling of global culture and cuisine to the general public.
One or more large Renaissance fairs occur annually, including the "RenFair" in conjunction with the "Kingdom of Calontir" of the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism). The fairs vary in length from one day to a week, typically at Sedgwick County Park or Newman University.
The Wichita Public Library's Academy Awards Shorts program is reportedly the oldest annual, complete, free public screening outside of Hollywood of the full array of short films nominated for an Academy Award ("Oscar"). In late winter, shortly before the Academy Awards ceremonies, the films—including all nominated documentary, live action, and animated shorts—are presented, for free, at the Library and in local theaters and other venues around Wichita. Wichita's former Congressman, Motion Picture Association President Dan Glickman, has served as Honorary Chair of the event, and some of the filmmakers have attended and visited with the audiences.
The Tallgrass Film Festival has been held in downtown Wichita since 2003. It draws over 100 independent feature and short films from all over the world for three days each October. Notable people from the entertainment industry have attended in the past.
Aviation-related events are common in the Wichita area, including air shows, fly-ins, air races, aviation conferences, exhibitions, and trade shows. The city's two main air shows, which are generally held in alternating years, are the city-sponsored civilian Wichita Flight Festival (originally the "Kansas Flight Festival") and the military-sponsored McConnell Air Force Base Open House and Airshow. Both are large regional air shows with famous acts and multi-million-dollar aircraft displays (including many Wichita-built aircraft). In addition, numerous local, regional, and national aviation organizations host fly-ins, conferences, exhibitions and trade shows in the Wichita area on irregular schedules.
Points of interest
Intrust Bank Arena features 22 suites, 2 party suites, 40 loge boxes and over 300 premium seats with a total potential capacity of over 15,000. This arena in the middle of Wichita opened in January 2010.
Small art galleries are scattered around the city with some clustered in the districts of Old Town, Delano and south Commerce street. These galleries started the Final Friday Gallery crawl event, where visitors tour attractions for free in the evening on the last Friday of each month. Larger museums began participating and staying open late on Final Fridays shortly after its beginning.
The Sedgwick County Zoo in the northwest part of Wichita is the most popular outdoor tourist attraction in the state of Kansas, and is home to more than 2,500 animals representing 500 different species. The zoo is next to Sedgwick county park and Sedgwick County Extension Arboretum.
The Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum in downtown Wichita occupies the original Wichita city hall, built in 1892. The museum contains artifacts that tell the story of Wichita and Sedgwick County starting from 1865 and continuing to the present day.
Slightly east of downtown, Old Town was transformed in the early 1990s from an old warehouse district to a mixed-zone neighborhood with residential space, nightclubs, restaurants, hotels and museums, including the Museum of World Treasures and railroad oriented Great Plains Transportation Museum.
The Coleman Factory Outlet and Museum on 235 N St. Francis street is the home of the Coleman Lantern and offers free admission.
Moody's Skidrow Beanery, at 625 E. Douglas in what was to become Old Town, was one of the more famous places in Wichita in the 1960s. It was the scene of a nationally followed First Amendment struggle  and was visited by Allen Ginsberg in 1966 (the name had been changed to the Magic Theatre Vortex Art Gallery) where he first read his long poem "Wichita Vortex Sutra."
The Ulrich Museum of Art and Lowell D. Holmes Museum of Anthropology are part of Wichita State University.
Wichita is also home to two major shopping malls: Towne East Square and Towne West Square, on opposite ends of town, and each managed by Simon Property Group. Each mall is home to four anchor stores, and has more than 100 tenants apiece. The oldest mall, Wichita Mall, was for many years largely a dead mall, but has since been converted into office space. There are also two large outdoor shopping centers, Bradley Fair on the city's north-east side and NewMarket Square on the city's north-west side, each with over 50 stores spread out on several acres.
In popular culture and the artsWichita has developed a positive reputation in U.S. media as an affordable and pleasant place to live. In July 2006, CNN/Money and Money ranked Wichita 9th on their list of the 10 best U.S. big cities in which to live. In 2008, MSN Real Estate ranked Wichita 1st on its list of most affordable cities. Wichita was also named the most "Uniquely American" city by Newsmax magazine in a May 2009 piece written by Peter Greenberg.
Wichita is mentioned in the songs "Wichita Skyline" by Shawn Colvin, "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes, and the song, "Captain Bobby Stout" by local musician Jerry Hahn. Allen Ginsberg wrote about a visit to Wichita in his poem Wichita Vortex Sutra, for which Philip Glass subsequently wrote a solo piano piece. Glen Campbell's Wichita Lineman, written by Jimmy Webb, peaked at #1 on Billboard's country singles chart and at #3 on the pop chart in 1968. Ruby Vroom, released by the band Soul Coughing in 1994, contains a song called "True Dreams of Wichita".
The city has been a setting of various works of fiction. The award-winning stage play Hospitality Suite written by Roger Rueff takes place in Wichita as does its 1999 film adaptation, The Big Kahuna. Wichita (1955) and portions of Wyatt Earp (1994), both of which dramatize the life and career of Wyatt Earp, are set in Wichita. The short-lived 1959-1960 television western Wichita Town was set during the city's early years. Other films wholly or partially set in the city include Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff (1979), Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987), The Ice Harvest (2005), and Knight and Day (2010). The city is also the setting of the long-running comic strip Dennis the Menace.
AMD planned to release a new processor, code named Wichita, in 2012, but the project was cancelled in favor of a newer design.
Main article: Sports in Wichita, KansasWichita is home to several professional, semi-professional, non-professional, and collegiate sports teams. Professional teams include the Wichita Thunder ice hockey team, Wichita Force indoor football team, and Wichita Wingnuts baseball team. Defunct professionals teams which used to play in Wichita include the Wichita Aeros and Wichita Wranglers baseball teams and the Wichita Wings indoor soccer team. Semi-pro teams include the Kansas Cougars and Kansas Diamondbacks football teams. Non-professional teams include the Wichita Barbarians rugby union team and the Wichita World 11 cricket team. The city hosts the Air Capital Classic, a professional golf tournament of the Web.com Tour first played in 1990.
Collegiate teams based in the city include the Wichita State University Shockers, Newman University Jets, and the Friends University Falcons. The WSU Shockers are NCAA Division I teams which compete in men's and women's basketball, baseball, volleyball, track and field, tennis, and bowling. The Newman Jets are NCAA Division II teams which compete in baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, wrestling, volleyball, and cheer/dance. The Friends Falcons compete in Region IV of the NAIA in football, volleyball, soccer, cross country, basketball, tennis, track and field, and golf.
Several sports venues are located in and around the city. Intrust Bank Arena, located downtown, is a 15,000-seat multi-purpose arena that is home to the Wichita Thunder and Wichita Force. Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, located just west of downtown, is a medium-sized baseball stadium that has been home to Wichita's various minor-league baseball teams over the years. It is also home of the minor-league National Baseball Congress and the site of the Congress's annual National Tournament. Wichita Ice Arena, also just west of downtown, is a public ice-skating rink used for ice-skating competitions. In addition, Century II has been used for professional wrestling tournaments, sporting-goods exhibitions, and other recreational activity. The WSU campus includes two major venues: Eck Stadium, a medium-sized stadium with a full-sized baseball field that is home to the WSU Shocker baseball team, and Charles Koch Arena, a medium-sized, dome-roofed circular arena with a collegiate basketball court that hosts the WSU Shocker basketball team. Koch Arena is also used extensively for city-wide and regional high school athletic events, concerts and other entertainments. Located just north of the city is 81 Motor Speedway, an oval motor-vehicle racetrack used extensively for a wide range of car, truck and motorcycle races, and other motor sports events. Neighboring Park City is home to Hartman Arena and the Sam Fulco Pavilions, a moderate-capacity low-roofed arena developed for small rodeos, horse shows, livestock competitions, and exhibitions.
Wichita is also home to two sports museums, the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame and the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.