101 Fun Facts About Hays

1 The first town in the area was not Hays City but the short-lived town of Rome.
2 The original buffalo herd was formed at the Experiment Station (KSU Agriculture Research Center) in 1916 and moved to the Fort Hays normal school in 1922. The Frontier Park buffalo herd was established in 1953 with a bull named "Wild Bill" and a cow named "Calamity Jane". 
3 Fort Hays State University produces more working speech clinicians for rural areas than any other nationally accredited school.
4 Hays was once at the bottom of a huge, warm Cretaceous Sea several hundred feet deep.
5 The original Boot Hill was located in Hays, not Dodge City as many people believe. In fact, when Dodge City was founded in 1872, the Hays City Boot Hill was well populated with 36 grave sites.
6 Fort Hays State University holds several national basketball titles. The men's team claimed national championships in 1984 and 1985 (NAIA), back to back, and in 1996 (NCAA Div. II) with a 34 and 0 record. The women's team brought home the national title in 1991 (NAIA).
7 Fort Hays was named to honor General Alexander Hays, who was killed in 1864 at the Battle of the Wilderness.
8 The KSU Ag Research Center was founded in 1901 making it the oldest research center of its type in the United States.
9 The first group of Volga German immigrants arrived in Hays on February 21, 1876.
10 Hays artist, Pete Felten, sculpted the 4 statues in the rotunda of the State Capitol Building. They are of four famous Kansans: Dwight D. Eisenhower, Amelia Earhart, William Allen White and Publisher Capper.
11 Kathryn O'Loughlin of Hays was the first female elected to represent Kansas as a member of the U.S. Congress.
12 Sternberg Museum of Natural History is home to the internationally famous Cretaceous fossil Gillicus in Xiphactinus better known as the "Fish within a Fish".
13 Of the 13 plaques that commemorate historic structures on old North Main Street, 9 mark the locations of saloons, brothels or gambling houses.
14 James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok was once the sheriff of Ellis County.
15 Out of the 6 most widely accepted wheat varieties recently developed in Kansas, 5 were developed at the Kansas State University Ag Research Center south of Hays.
16 This area was once home to the largest herd of buffalo in North America, estimated to have been in the millions.
17 The Hays Arts Center houses the oldest Arts Council in the state of Kansas.
18 The oldest church still standing in Hays is the stone First Presbyterian Church on 7th Street, built in 1879.
19 Hays is home to the Kansas Merci Boxcar, one of 49 boxcars that France sent to America in 1949 in appreciation for the food the U.S. sent after W.W. II.
20 The Kansas State University Ag Research Center owns or leases more than 6,000 acres, making it one of the largest Research Centers in the world.
21 Hays has an annual precipitation of 23.47 inches.
22 The Hays Public Library ranks 4th in the nation among libraries serving populations of 10,000 to 99,000.
23 Fort Hays State University is the only 4 year state institution in the western two-thirds of the state.
24 Garrison strength at Fort Hays normally averaged three companies, or about 210 men, but larger groups of cavalry were frequently bivouacked on the 11 square mile reservation.
25 The Hays Symphony Orchestra is in its eighth decade of continuous performances.
26 It was William Jennings Bryan that dubbed St. Fidelis Church the "Cathedral of the Plains" during his visit in 1912.
27 Hays has over 1,000 hotel rooms.
28 1886 marked the arrival in Ellis County of a group of immigrants called the Bukovina Germans from the eastern Austrian crown land of Bukovina.
29 October 18, 1973, marked the 1st joint celebration of Oktoberfest and Fort Hays State University Homecoming.  Oktoberfest was originally held on West 10th Street between Main and Fort. Today Oktoberfest takes place at Oktoberfest Platz in Municipal Park.
30 For the past 10 years the Hays Public Library has ranked #1 in the state for circulation per capita.
31 There is over 100,000 square feet of museum space at the new Sternberg Museum of Natural History.
32 Between August of 1867 and December of 1873 there were over 30 homicides in and around Hays.
33 "Wild Bill" Hickok came to Hays in April of 1867 as a scout for Lieutenant Colonel George Custer.
34 Over 50% of the total experiments developed in the area of feeding wheat to beef cattle in the United States has been done at the KSU Ag Research Center south of Hays.
35 The city of Hays hosts over 350,000 overnight visitors to our community each year.
36 The National Rural Health Association named Hays Medical Center as the "Outstanding Rural Health and Telemedicine Program in the United States" for 1997.
37 Four famous Sternberg family members, living in Hays and the surrounding area, collected fossil specimens for over 100 years. No other single family has been more important to the science of paleontology with specimens from their collections located in natural history museums throughout the world.
38  Ghostbuster, a rare, white bison from Ginther Farms, joined the herd at Frontier Park on June 1, 2017. Bison with this white, recessive gene are born only once in every 600,000 births. 
39 There are twenty-five bronze plaques in the downtown area, marking the route of the Historical Hays Walking Tour.
40 During W.W. I. a boxcar carried 40 men & 8 horses to the frontline, giving the Kansas "Merci" Boxcar, located at Veterans Park, the nickname the "40 & 8".
41 The agricultural industry in Ellis County is made up of 496,526 acres split into over 645 farms.
42 The Kansas Special Olympics Basketball Tournament held in Hays each spring hosts over 1,000 athletes, making it the largest Special Olympics Basketball Tournament in the United States.
43 Fort Hays State Universtiy opened its doors in 1902 as the Western Branch of the Kansas Normal School.
44 The Sternberg Museum of Natural History houses more than 3.7 million specimens in collections of paleontology, geology, history, archaeology and ethnology, botany, entomology, ichthyology, herpetology, ornithology and mammalogy.
45 On September 20, 2003 Ellis County was proclaimed the official "German Capital of Kansas".
46 Ellis County is the largest oil producing county in the state of Kansas.
47  The area near 13th and Fort was known as Gospel Hill where the Catholics (1879), Lutherans (1879), Baptists (1883), and Episcopalians (1910) all built churches.
48 Albertson Hall, on the campus of FHSU, houses one of the two largest refractor telescopes in Kansas.
49 In a special report in the February 2008 issue of "Progressive Farmer Magazine," Ellis County was ranked #2 as one of the "BEST PLACES TO LIVE IN RURAL AMERICA". 
50 The first church service held in Hays was conducted by the Methodist minister in the Tommy Drum Saloon. The Presbyterians also held some services in the saloon that year.
51 In 1996 Hays was named an "All-America" city!
52 In the year 2000, the city of Hays opened a new Aquatic Park featuring a floating lazy river, zero entry play pool, and an eight lane lap and competition pool.
53 Fort Hays has been featured in no less than three movies: "Dances with Wolves" starring Kevin Costner, the CBS-TV movie "Stolen Women, Captured Hearts", and the 1937 movie "The Plainsman" starring Gary Cooper.
54 In 1999 Ellis County ranked third in the state of Kansas for the economic prosperity of the people.
55 The average daily temperature in Hays is; 27 in January, 53.5 in April, 79.5 in July, and 55 in October.
56 Thomas More Prep-Marian High School traces its origin to St. Joseph's College founded in 1893, evolving from a series of schools including a college, a military academy, a seminary for priests, as well as, boys' and girls' high schools.
57 St. Fidelis Church was named to honor a capuchin friar of the same name. Church families were required to haul six loads of stone by horse and wagon and assessed $45.00 per family to finance the construction.
58 October 15, 1867 marked the first railroad passenger service to Hays, Kansas.
59 The first student to complete the Four Year Normal Course of studies and receive a life diploma from what would later become Fort Hays State University was Murry Wallace, January, 1909.
60 Over 45,000 rounds of golf are played each year at Fort Hays Municipal Golf Course and the Smoky Hill Country Club Course.
61 The Stars and Stripes were first raised over Fort Hays on July 4, 1867 by Lieutenant Charles H. Brewster of the Seventh Cavalry Regiment and the activities of the post were officially underway. (The Fort was first occupied on June 23, 1867.)
62  Since the summer of 1995, Hays has hosted the Wild West Festival, which includes a fireworks show and quality entertainment, such as Toby Keith, Lonestar, and Josh Turner. 
63 Hays was a wild and lawless frontier town which prompted Mrs. Elizabeth Custer to write "every night sounded like the Fourth of July in Hays City".
64 During his 1903 campaign for president, "Teddy" Roosevelt made a stop in Hays, Kansas. Senator John F. Kennedy also visited Hays on November 20th, 1959, during his successful presidential campaign. 
65 The Mount Allen Cemetery is the only cemetery in Kansas to have two old fashioned tree swings with wooden seats.
66 In 1868 General Sheridan reported seeing a herd of 300,000 buffalo near Fort Hays. He estimated the herd covered a territory 90 miles in length and 25 miles wide.
67 The largest employer in Hays is the Hays Medical Center with over 1,500 employees.
68 Sternberg Museum of Natural History has more than 3,750,000 artifacts in its collection - the world's largest at a small university.
69 Three units of "Buffalo Soldiers" were stationed at Fort Hays: the 9th and 10th Cavalries and the 38th Infantry unit.
70 KAYS Radio station went on the air in 1948.
71 The first open heart surgery performed at the "Michael E. DeBakey Heart Institute of Kansas at the Hays Medical Center" was in late October, 1998.
72 Explorer Henry Stanley, who went on to successfully find Dr. Livingston in Africa, visited Fort Hays in 1867.
73 A herd of buffalo stampeded through the city streets of Hays City on February 19, 1868.
74 Scenes from the movie "Ride with the Devil" were shot just north of Hays along the Saline River Valley during the summer of 1998.
75 In March, 2000 both Hays High School and Thomas More Prep mens basketball teams made the trip to the state play-offs. The last time that happened was in 1975. Hays High finished in 4th place and Thomas More Prep took 2nd place.
76 The Post Surgeon at Fort Hays noted in his final report that "the Post was abandoned and the hospital closed on November 8th, 1889."
77  On October 1st, 2015, the Hays Mall was renamed Big Creek Crossing. The building not only gained a new name, but also a new way to experience shopping with a new persona and a new perspective. 
78 During its first year of operation, the Sternberg Museum of Natural History hosted more than 150,000 visitors.
79 On September 19, 1972, actors Ryan and Tatum O'Neil and director Peter Bogdonovich arrived in Hays to begin the filming of the movie "Paper Moon".
80 1900 was a pretty big year for the city of Hays. The population was 1,550, the Independent Telephone Company was authorized to begin telephone service, the city organized the 1st City Fire Department and the Saturday Afternoon Club was formed to solicit books for a future City Library. (The Saturday Afternoon Club existed for nearly 100 years.
81 The Walker Army Air Field was built in 1942 east of Hays. It employed nearly 1500 civilian employees and served as a training ground for the B-29 Bomber. It was deactivated in November 1945 and officially closed at midnight on January 31, 1946.
82 From August 16th through the 20th of 1972, numerous UFO sightings were reported in and around the Hays area!
83 April 12th, 1950 marked the opening of the new downtown Fox Theatre - called the finest in the state. The premier was "The Outriders" starring Joel McCrea and all seats were 60 cents. March 12th, 1972 citizens celebrated the opening of The Mall Cinemas 1 & 2, showing "The Godfather" and "Play It Again Sam". All seats were more than 60 cents at this cinema.
84 The "Monarch of the Plains" sculpture by artist Pete Felten was chiseled from a 24 ton limestone and dedicated on July 4th, 1967.
85 The word "City" was officially dropped from the name Hays City in 1885.
86 A television station was an important addition to Hays in 1958, providing both CBS and ABC affiliation.
87 The Union Pacific Railroad depot at the intersection of 10th and Walnut, was constructed in less than 6 months for $80,000. It first opened for service on December 18th, 1923.
88 While in Hays "Calamity Jane" wore women's clothing and went by the name of "Prairie Queen". She was born Martha Canary in Princeton, Missouri in 1850.
89 Baseball in Hays can be traced back to The Hays Town Team of 1859, who was challenged by a group of Fort Hays' soldiers. Mrs. Bill Downs won a naming contest, and in 1946 the team became known as the Hays Larks. This team has seen incredibly talented players, such as Albert Pujols, the Larks' 1999 first baseman, who was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals. 
90 Four women were selected for jury duty on April 27, 1950, making it a first for Ellis County.....women on a jury that is.
91 Ernest Hemingway and Shirley Temple were among the celebrated guests that stayed at the famous Lamer Hotel on Main Street.
92 "Gold Fever" hit Hays in September 1901 when a gold mine was opened on the banks of the Smoky Hill River. After several citizens invested in the "sure-fire moneymaker," the gold mine proved disappointing when no actual gold was found.
93 Hill Wilson, son of H.P. Wilson, one of Hays' early settlers, was made ruler of an African Congo tribe in the early 1920's.
94 Helen Keller spoke at Sheridan Coliseum during the State Teachers Association meeting in 1941.
95 The Interstate 70 (I-70) north of Hays was constructed and completed in 1966 and 1967.
96 In 1895 a fire destroyed more than 50 buildings in downtown Hays.
97 Main Street was originally called Chestnut Street. They officially changed the name in 1929. Today the downtown area is known as the Chestnut Street District in attempt to preserve history and create the excitement of old fashioned Main Street. 
98 Professional baseball player Satchelll Paige was married in Hays.
99 William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody, James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok, and General George Armstrong Custer were three of the legendary lawmen who kept the peace in the rowdy frontier town of Hays City.
100 In 2003 Hays was featured in a music video by the band American Hi Fi, called "The Art of Losing".
101 The FACT is that Hays is a great place to live and a fascinating place to visit!