The Kansas State Flag

US 50 -- Kansas

Copyright 2012 W. Berg Press

US 50 - Kansas: Travel US 50 through Kansas, KS. The Sunflower State. The capital is
Topeka. The state motto is: To the Stars Through Difficulties. 
Highway 50, Topeka, Emporia, Newton, Warkentin, Hutchison, 
Kinsley, Dodge City, Garden City, Syracuse, 
Sunflower, Melvern Lake, Teachers Hall of Fame, Chase County, Bluestem Pasture, 
Flint Hills, Sunflower Buggy Shop, Yoder, 
Wyatt Earp, Luke Short, Masterson , Doc Holliday, Bill Tilghman, Boot Hill,
El Capitan, Chisholm Trail

Welcome to Kansas - The Sunflower State.
The capital is Topeka. - State motto is To the Stars Through Difficulties.


Guy & Mae's Tavern

There is a fantastic BBQ in Williamsburg on the old highway off Interstate 35 & US 50.  
If you are hungry, try them out.




The distance from Kansas City to New York City is 1,106 miles. When we reach the western border of Kansas, it will be an equal distance to San Francisco. So, once we reach Kinsley, we can say that we have reached the half-way point between New York and San Francisco.

The US Army Corps of Engineers created Melvern Lake. to control floods and develop water resources. It is a pretty large lake and just a short distance north on US 75. A superior campground with private bath and shower facilities, washers and dryers for laundry is available. Each site is spaced wide apart to maintain privacy. The weather is warm, so our decision does not take very long. We will stay overnight. The point where US 50 (I-35 today) and US 75 cross, is called BETO Junction. As the story goes, 'In the mid 1800's BETO Junction was created to depict the intersection of four cities. (As it still is today) B - Burlington, E - Emporia, T - Topeka, and O - Ottawa. Thus the name BETO Junction. It's been estimated that BETO Junction might have had as many as four different locations in the past 100 years.

Emporia is the home of the National Teachers Hall of Fame.  A brochure reminds us how one-room schoolhouses with their large wooden tables and chalkboards have evolved to state-of-the-art classrooms with satellite dishes and individual computers.  Teachers have adapted to meet changing student needs and societal trends.  Students now have options to pursue studies such as an online MBA that could lead to become masters in communication, if they so choose.
Ms. Ida Daniel Dark-National Teachers Hall of Fame 1993 Inductee from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-stated: 'The charge to mold the minds of children toward an intellectual, social, and ethical maturity is one of the greatest responsibilities a human being can undertake.'

As we drive through Chase County, the Bluestem Pasture region of Kansas, we are reminded that this vast prairie is more commonly known as the Flint Hills. Named for its predominant grasses, the area extends from Oklahoma almost to Nebraska. The region is narrow, oval, and only two counties wide. It covers some 4 1/2 million acres. These pastures comprise the last large segment of true prairie which once stretched from the forests of the East to the Great Plains.  Today, these nutritious grazing lands fatten almost one million head of cattle each year. 

NEWTON has a famous past from the 'Old West.' From 1871 to 1874, the city became known as 'bloody and lawless-the wickedest city in the West.' In 1872 the western end of the Atchinson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway came to town. With it hordes of gun slingers, gamblers, 'soiled doves,' cowboys and railroad crews arrived to make this town more dangerous than Abilene and Dodge City. As the railroad moved farther west, things became more orderly. Soon Mennonites from Russia arrived. Among the immigrants was Bernhard Warkentin who pioneered 'Red Turkey' hard winter wheat. The Kansas prairie soil was similar to the steppes in their Russian homeland. The Mennonites' hard work brought success and created what is today known as the "bread basket of the world."

The Warkentin House at 211 East First Street is an elegant, 16 room Victorian home was
built and completed in 1887 by Bernhard and Wilhelmina Warkentin.

The Warkentin House at 211 East First Street is an elegant, 16 room Victorian home was built and completed in 1887 by Bernhard and Wilhelmina Warkentin. Warkentin played a dominant role in planting a hardy, high-yield variety of wheat that gave Kansas its enormous productivity and brought him fame and fortune.

Hutchison which is the wheat capital of the world. As we approach the city, we see huge grain elevators along the railroad tracks. The railroad, as it does in all western towns, runs right through the middle of Hutchison. We hear the whistles blowing as the trains cross each street on their way through the town. There is no doubt in our minds that we are now in the West. Lifestyle, architecture and way of life have changed from the East.

Terminal Elevator "J." is the third largest in the world and can store approximately 18 million bushels of grain. One million bushels of grain is equal to 300 railroad cars or 1,000 trucks. Multiply by 18 and that's the volume of grain which is stored here. The facility can load or unload 11 jumbo rail hopper cars per hour. At that rate, it would take 21 days to load-out the entire elevator and fill 5,500 rail cars. The total length of the building is 2,573 feet. That is 67 feet short of a half mile. It required 150,000 cubic yards of concrete for construction, which represents a line of cement trucks from Hutchinson to Dodge City -- 124 miles or almost 200 kilometers.

The world's largest salt deposit is in Hutchinson. This deposit is 100 miles by 40 miles, 325 feet thick, and yields 44.1 million tons of salt each year. Old salt mines, that are 650 feet under ground, have been converted to security storage. Nature maintains a constant temperature of 68 degrees with virtually no humidity. This environment is ideally suited for record storage.

Sam Yoder is a carriage maker and one of the original descendants of the Yoder clan

Yoder is a small farming village where Mennonites and other cultures coexist. Sam Yoder is a carriage maker and one of the original descendants of the Yoder clan. He is the owner of the Sunflower Buggy Shop, likes to talks about the Amish lifestyle and today's need for buggies which he constructs and repairs. We have an interesting conversation on the philosophy of life. He believes and practices love and pursuit of wisdom by means and self-discipline. So, if you stop by, tell him that Wulf and Heide Berg, the people who traveled US 50, mentioned his buggy shop and that you wanted to see it for yourself. He'll give you a good talk as long as you want to listen.

            Just a few miles west of Hutchinson, we take a side step into Stafford, a town along the railroad track.  Staffordís streets are laid of brickóred brick.  I havenít seen too many cities that have brick laid streets.  US 50 used to go through the center of town, but today it bypasses around the town.  So, if you want to see the city, enter on Main Street, and then take a left on Broadway, which is the old US 50.  We are amazed how wide the street is, because it used to accommodate the cross-country traffic.   You may want to stay in this very charming community.
Check out the Henderson House Inn & Retreat Center and mention 

Kinsley, Kansas, is the half-way point between the two coasts.

Kinsley, Kansas, is the half-way point between the two coasts. We find a sign at the intersection of US 50 and 56 where it proclaims to be midway between New York and San Francisco. In either direction it is 1,561 miles.

This symbolic picture taken by Richard ElliottDodge City, a frontier town, has been described and portrayed in many movies. Most famous of them all is the movie and television series "Gunsmoke." Many movies have made this city famous. Dodge City proclaims itself as 'The Queen of the Cowtowns.' In early days, cattle trade brought Dodge City prosperity and violence. During those wild and wooly days, Dodge City was home to such top lawmen and gunfighters as Wyatt Earp, Luke Short, the Masterson Brothers, Doc Holliday and Bill Tilghman.
 You may want to explore 'The Adventures of Travis & Muldoon'.  Jack Underhill takes you away from today to follow the Santa Fe Trail into the imagined olden days when all that threatened a man were feral Indians and loco mountain men, fearless wild beasts and the raw, untamed elements of sky and land.

In Garden City, we find Crazy House - the Boot King of Kansas. If you want western wear, that's the place to look for it. And I mean-look for it. It's a huge barn full of western gear, but you have to search or ask if you cannot find directly what your heart desires. It is a stop where you can get your western hat and a pair of boots. And don't leave Kansas without them.

We change to mountain time in Kendall and thereby gain an additional hour of daylight for driving. Folks are very friendly In Syracuse. Our hotel marquee displays the following philosophy: 'An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows'. Take a closer look at the town's murals. There are four. The artists, who lived here at that time, were commissioned to enhance the town image. All these small towns are very eager and work hard to improve their image and to reflect on their heritage.

Syracuse town mural

Leaving Kansas! Come again.

Old Kansas US 50 Road sign                Sunflower Picture
   For more information on Kansas visit

Kansas Sights  or   Santa Fee Trail

Thanks to Robert Edgar   in Bakersfield, California
for sending us a photo of the Kansas road sign from his collection.

go back to US50, Coast to Coast

STOP sign
My book "US 50, Coast to Coast" guides you on this journey in greater details.
To obtain information on ordering a copy of US 50 COAST to COAST, click here