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Kansas Colleges

Kansas Colleges

 

Kansas is the quintessential prairie state, its landscape swept with wheat fields, dotted with grain silos and, since 1915, oil derricks.  It is also the state where the tornado swept Dorothy and her dog off to see the Wizard of Oz, thereby securing for Kansas the top slot in prairie-ness among the Midwest states forever. 

 

It has long been a big producer of wheat, soybeans, corn and barley.  Oil brought some diversification to its economy; the state has a substantial number of mines as well that produce lead and zinc.  The largest city in the state at over 300,000 residents is Wichita.  It is the commercial and industrial center of the state’s southern section. 

 

Wichita has railroad shops, flour mills, meatpacking plants, grain elevators, oil refineries, and an aircraft industry that a major producer of private aircraft in the country.   Computer equipment and other electronic components are among the city’s more recent industrial additions.  Nearby McConnell Air Force Base provides some federal jobs and, no doubt, some minor defense department manufacturing contracts.

 

The capital city, Topeka, sits alongside the Kansas River in the northeast section of the state.  The city grew out of a ferry station along the Oregon Trail.  Its population is about 125,000 people and it serves as a commercial processor and distribution point for the state’s beef products.  It too has a nearby military facility in Forbes Air Force Base.  The city is known for its broad tree lined avenues, its attractive cultural venues including the state library, and a park system that includes a remarkable rose garden.

 

Kansas City Kansas is an extension of its larger namesake across the Missouri River, Kansas City Missouri.  The Kansas municipality has about 150,000 residents while the Missouri version houses three times that number.  Between them, they are a major Midwestern commercial, financial and industrial center.  In recent years, the suburban towns surrounding both cities have drawn off both population and commercial businesses through development of outlying business parks and industrial centers. 

 

The metropolitan area produces all manner of industrial products including auto bodies, chemicals, paper products and machinery.  Oil refining facilities are in the area and there are also numerous meat packing and food processing facilities.  University of Kansas Medical Center is situated on the Kansas side of the river.   Numerous cultural attractions and recreational facilities including the Major League Baseball and NFL franchise stadiums are located in the Missouri municipality.

 

The University of Kansas is based in the city of Lawrence, a small college town of about 30,000 residents.  The city gained infamy during the Civil War when it was sacked and burned by a group of Confederate guerilla raiders led by a drunken thug named William Quantrill.  They massacred a number of the town’s men and boys before departing.  Among Quantrill’s troops were the James Brothers, Frank and Jesse.

 

Wichita State University is in Wichita and there are two or three other smaller schools in the state, along with a number of community colleges.  Wichita in particular sounds like an interesting place to light if you’re looking for a place to grow a career.  For a city its size, the economy is extremely diverse and that leads one to suspect that the spirit of enterprise lives on in that part of the state.

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