What Is Kansas Known For? 15 Things Jayhawkers Love About Themselves

Written by Alyssa Shea
Published: August 10, 2023
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What Is Kansas Known For? 15 Things Jayhawkers Love About Themselves

There are plenty of things about Kansas that you might not know about! Did you know that Kansas is the exact center of the United States? Learn more facts and what Kansas citizens are known for here!

1. The Most Succulent Barbecue

Kansas City has easily one of the most succulent barbecues that started thanks to the “Father of Kansas City Barbecue,” Henry Petty. Kansas City-style barbecue is unique thanks to being slow-smoked over various woods and topped with a delicious tomato-based molasses sauce. Many barbecue masterminds head to the mouth-watering championship, “The Great Lenexa Barbecue Battle,” which started in 1982.

BBQ Sauce in a Measuring Cup

This specific barbecue process is famous in Kansas City.

©Michelle Lee Photography/Shutterstock.com

2. The Kansas Dirt Cake

This delicious dessert goes by Kansas City Dirt Cake or simply Dirt Cake; there’s nothing dirty about it! Many believe the Mississippi mud pie inspired it. We don’t know who the creator of this delicious treat is! If you love Oreos, this tasty treat will be perfect for you.

Chocolate cookies cream on white background

Oreos play a significant role in this unique cake.

©Anusak P/Shutterstock.com

3. Sunflowers

There’s a reason why Kansas is known as “The Sunflower State.” Wild sunflowers grow in every county here. The weather is ideally suited for them! It became the official state flower of Kansas in 1903. They’re crucial to the state’s ecosystem and truly beautiful to behold.


This Kansas sunset behind a beautiful field of sunflowers is inspiring.


4. World’s Largest Easel

Speaking of sunflowers, have you heard about the World’s Largest Easel located in Goodland, Kansas? This awe-inspiring roadside attraction is 80 feet tall. Sitting atop it rests a 32×24-foot representation of one of Van Gogh’s “Sunflower” paintings. It’s crucial to stop and take a picture with it!

Goodland. Kansas. USA

Goodland is a common stop for those on road trips.


5. World’s Largest Ball of Twine

Located in Cawker City, the most giant ball of sisal twine built by a community sits, weighing over 27,000 pounds. Started in 1953 by Frank Stoeber, it became a community event with a twine-a-thon every August. You can be a part of the event, too!

Twine Largest Ball of Twine

Kansans are adding to this giant ball of twine!


6. The ICEE Was Invented in Kansas

Do you love a nice, cooling ICEE in the summer months? You can thank Omar Knedlik, a Dairy Queen owner in Coffeyville, Kansas, for this special treat! ICEE treats came about through faulty equipment. The decadent treat is now a beloved item nationwide.

Human hand serving slushy drink from slushy  machine

The ICEE company has created over 150 unique flavors.

©Yupa Watchanakit/Shutterstock.com

7. The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz will always be intrinsically linked with the state of Kansas. You can find multiple museums dedicated to the book and movie throughout the state. Did you know that a specific town isn’t in the book? Kansans have embraced Dorothy Gale and feel strongly connected to her strange tale.

Yellow brick road to the Emerald City with a tornado and a rainbow

The movie was filmed on set in California.


8. Amelia Earheart

The great Amelia Earheart was born on July 24, 1897. The great aviator hailed from Atchison, Kansas, and was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Amelia Earhart enthusiasts celebrate her life in her birth town and all across the state.

Amelia Earhart sitting in the cockpit of her Lockheed Electra airplane, ca. 1936. In July 1937 Earhart and the airplane were lost over the Pacific Ocean.

Amelia Earhart set many aviation records for speed.

©Everett Collection/Shutterstock.com

9. Kansas and This Native American Tribe

Kansans know that they have Native Americans to thank for their beautiful lands. The name of this state came about because of the river-side Kanza tribe of the Sioux family. The name translates to “south wind people.”

Kanza Monument along Kanza Heritage Trail at Allegawaho Heritage Memorial Park, Council Grove, Kansas;

Kanza Monument along Kanza Heritage Trail at Allegawaho Heritage Memorial Park.

©Weldon Schloneger/Shutterstock.com

10. “Ad Astra Per Aspera”

The motto, “Ad astra per aspera,” began as a tribute to the difficulties that the people of Kansas saw to become one of the stars on the U.S. flag. The phrase translates from Latin to “to the stars through difficulties.” Kansans wear this meaning with pride!

welcome to Kansas, ad astra per aspera (to the stars through hardships) - handwriting on a sheet of rough handmade paper floating over vintage defocused map of Kansas, hospitality and travel concept

Image: marekuliasz, Shutterstock


11. Kansas and Women’s Voting Rights

Kansas broke controversial ground by granting its women the right to vote. They held a referendum on a proposed constitutional amendment to give women the full right to vote on November 5, 1867. This was the first-ever referendum on women’s suffrage in U.S. history!

National Women's Party demonstration in front of the White House in 1918. The banner protests Wilson's failure to support women's suffrage.

Women’s suffrage lasted for 42 years.

©Everett Collection/Shutterstock.com

12. The First Woman Mayor

Kansas stands firm on its views of a woman’s right to vote. Susanna Madora Salter served as mayor of Argonia, Kansas. She was the first woman to serve in any political office in the United States.

Voting concept - Ballot box with national flag on background - Kansas

27-year-old Susanna Madora Salter was elected mayor of Argonia, Kansas, in 1887.


13. Tornado Alley

Kansas has become known for tornadoes and other severe weather patterns. The Tornado Alley is born by warm, humid air from the equator meeting cold, dry air from Canada and the Rocky Mountains. They average around 91 tornadoes per year! Kansans are proud to stand against these forces of nature.

St Francis, Kansas, USA - June 29th, 2019: Tornado next to a silo

The entirety of tornado alley stretches up to Canada.

©Alexander Jung/Shutterstock.com

14. Kansas Is the Birthplace of the Helicopter

Did you know that the helicopter was first imagined here in Wichita, Kansas? William Purvis and Charles Wilson are the owners of the patent for the helicopter. Thanks to these two gentlemen, Kansas has the title of the “Air Capital of the World.”

Helicopter parked at the helipad

Helicopters can fly between 75 and 150 miles per hour.

©Makushin Aleksei/Shutterstock.com

15. Kansas Created an Insane Waterslide

The Schlitterbahn Water Park in Kansas City was the birthplace of the tallest water slide. The 169-foot slide, called Verrückt, translated to the German word for “insane.” It surpassed Kilimanjaro at Aldeia das Águas Park Resort in Brazil!

Yellow pool float, ring floating in a refreshing blue swimming pool

A tragic death resulted in the closure of this slide.

©StacieStauffSmith Photos/Shutterstock.com

Summary of 15 Things Kansas Is Known For

RankThings Kansas is Known For
1The Most Succulent Barbecue
2The Kansas Dirt Cake
4World’s Largest Easel
5World’s Largest Ball of Twine
6The ICEE Was Invented In Kansas
7The Wizard of Oz
8Amelia Earhart
9Kansas and This Native American Tribe
10“Ad Astra Per Aspera”
11Kansas and Women’s Voting Rights
12The First Woman Mayor
13Tornado Alley
14Kansas is the Birthplace of the Helicopter
15Kansas Created An Insane Waterslide

The photo featured at the top of this post is © rarrarorro/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

I'm a 36-year-old mother of 2 and military wife. I have 2 dogs and a cat that I'm thoroughly obsessed with. When I'm not writing for work, I'm writing as a hobby. You can find me knee deep in a pile of books or way too invested in a video game.

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