a trading post and industrial hub a regional center of culture media and trade
Wichita lies on the Arkansas River in south-central Kansas, 157 mi (253 km) north of Oklahoma City, 181 mi (291 km) southwest of Kansas City, and 439 mi (707 km) east-southeast of Denver. The Arkansas follows a winding course, south-southeast through Wichita, roughly bisecting the city.
A Trading Post on the Chisholm Trail in the 1860s, it became a destination for cattle drives traveling north from Texas to Kansas railroads, earning it the nickname Cowtown.
Business opportunities attracted area hunters and traders, and a new settlement was organized as the Wichita Town Company, naming the settlement after the Wichita tribe. In the early 20th century, oil and natural gas deposits were discovered nearby triggering an economic boom in Wichita as producers established refineries, fueling stations, and headquarters in the city. Resources generated by the oil boom enabled local entrepreneurs to invest in airplane manufacturing. Except for a slow period in the 1970s, Wichita has continued to grow steadily into the 21st century as the city government and local organizations began collaborating to re-develop downtown Wichita and older neighborhoods in the city.
Neighborhoods include Old Town, a 50-acre area home to nightclubs, bars, restaurants, a movie theater, shops, apartments and condominiums, many of which make use of historical warehouse-type spaces. The two most notable residential areas of Wichita are Riverside and College Hill, along with Delano on the west side of the Arkansas River and Midtown in the north-central part of the city.
The Arts Wichita is a cultural center for Kansas and home to several art museums and performing arts groups. The Wichita Art Museum is the largest art museum in the state of Kansas with 7,000 works in permanent collections and the Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University is a modern and contemporary art museum with over 6,300 works. Small art galleries are scattered around the city with some clustered in the districts of Old Town, Delano and south Commerce street. The music hub of central Kansas draws major acts from around the world, performing at concert halls, arenas and stadiums around the area.
Wichita Transit operates 53 buses on 18 fixed bus routes within the city providing over 2 million trips per year as well as a demand response paratransit service with 320,800 passenger trips annually. Intercity bus services connect Wichita with other Kansas towns, Oklahoma and Colorado. Wichita’s Bikeways cover 115 miles of which one third were added between 201 and 2018
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