Seniors Come to Enjoy Arkansas City

graphicArkCitySenior travelers will find Arkansas City Kansas at the confluence of the Arkansas and Walnut rivers in the southwestern part of the state on the Kansas and Oklahoma border. The population runs just under 13,000.

The name of this city is not pronounced like the nearby state of Arkansas, but rather the final “s” is pronounced. To simplify things, Arkansas City is most often referred to by the locals as simply Ark City.

White settlers first congregated in the area where Arkansas City now stands in the 1860s. The natives referred to the place as “Nichonka,” which roughly translates as “place between the waters,” a reference to the confluence of the two rivers.

Seniors Enjoy City That Once Rivaled Wichita

Arkansas_City_Commercial_Historic_District-1At the turn of the century, Arkansas City was a rival to much larger Wichita in size and enterprise, with several rail lines,  an elegant opera house, numerous fine hotels, a manufacturing base and a bustling agricultural economy.

Back in 1928, the city’s official fall festival, Arkalalah, was inaugurated. Arkalalah means so much to so many people. When school starts back in late August/early September, Ark Citians begin counting the days until Arkalalah week.

This annual event still draws thousands of visitors each October, and features a queen, a carnival, dozens of homegrown fair food vendors and a spectacular parade typically lasting three hours or more. During the 1955 Arkalalah celebration, a retired Santa Fe locomotive engine was driven on temporary tracks down the city’s main street, Summit, to the spot in Wilson Park where it remains today.


Seniors Spend time at Museum

TripAdvisor notes that a major attraction in the area is the Cowley Lake Waterfall that is just beautiful. Another senior visitor favorite is the Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum.

This historical museum represents the Land Rush of 1893, Chilocco Indian School, BNSF, Warren Bunkhouse, pioneer artifacts, impact of military conflicts, development of Arkansas City and Cowley County.

Organized back in 1966, the Museum was begun in an effort to preserve the history of the Cherokee Strip Land Rush of September 16, 1893, and the cultures of those who lived in the area.  The “Run” was the largest race ever.  Over 110,000 people raced for a piece of the seven million acres.


Chaplin Nature Center is a fun place for folks of all ages. It is owned and operated by the Wichita Audubon Society with trails that are open at no charge to the public from sunrise to sunset, seven days a week.

The Chisholm Trail Museum is another must stop attraction with tons of information on the Old West and the famed post-Civil War cattle drives from Texas to Kansas railheads.

Looks like a really cool town to me. -jeb

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