Although Wichita isn’t the capital of Kansas, it holds the title for the largest city in Kansas. With a metro population of over 640,000 people and counting, Wichita is a city with plenty of diversity and unique characteristics and chances are, there are probably things you didn’t know about this great midwest city. Here are some interesting facts and gems about Wichita, Kansas.
Wichita is the “Air Capital of the World”
Since 1916, when Clyde Cessna started manufacturing planes in Kansas, Wichita has become known as the “Air Capital of the World”, a title earned due to the sheer number of aircraft manufactured in Wichita every single year. Cessna and Beechcraft (Textron Aviation), and Bombardier Learjet are all manufactured right here in Wichita. Even though Boeing’s headquarters of manufacturing are located near Seattle, Washington, Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita is the largest sub-manufacturer of Boeing fuselages. Wichita delivers 39% of all general aviation planes built in the U.S.
Wichita is the Birthplace of Pizza Hut
In 1958, the very first Pizza Hut was opened by two Wichita State University students, Dan and Frank Carney, right on S Bluff St. Within a year of the first restaurant opening, they had six Pizza Hut Restaurants. Since that time, Pizza Hut has grown to worldwide proportions and has been listed at number 24 in the list of 200 Most Influential Brands in the World.
The First-Ever Electric Guitar Performance was in Wichita
Manufactured in Los Angeles in 1931 by Adolph Rickenbacker (try saying that 10 times fast), the maiden voyage of the first electric guitar was in the then Shadowland Dance Club right here in Wichita, Kansas. Played by the musician Gage Brewer, the introduction of the first electric guitar paved the way for the future creation of arguably some of the most iconic music of all time.
The First “Sit-in” by African Americans at an All-White Lunch Counter
One of the events that kicked off desegregation in the United States was the “Sit-in” at a Dockum Drug Store in Wichita, Kansas. Beginning on July 19, 1958, African American students sat at the Dockum’s lunch counter all day until the store closed, ignoring the threats from those around them. After three weeks, the owner finally came around and agreed to start serving black patrons. The Dockum sit-ins sparked a wave of other sit-ins around the country, fueling the civil rights movement.
Wyatt Earp was a Wichita City Policeman
When most people think of Wyatt Earp, they think of his role in the famous shootout at the O.K. Corral. Before his rise to fame, Wyatt Earp served as a police officer in Wichita. Although he earned a solid reputation during his time in Wichita, it ended abruptly when he got into a fistfight with a political opponent of his boss.
Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers Originated in Wichita
Here we have another stellar restaurant with origins in Wichita, Kansas. Founded in 2002 by Scott Redler and two brothers Bill and Randy Simon, Freddy’s was named after Freddy Simon, Bill and Randy’s father. In March 2018, Freddy’s opened their 300th location, a massive milestone of growth. If you haven’t tried a steakburger or custard from Freddy’s, do it!
Wichita is Home to the World’s Largest Stitched Teddy Bear
In 2008 Dana Warren, a Wichita resident, stitched C.T. Dreams, the World’s largest stitched teddy bear. Measuring 55 feet 4 inches in length, this bear is massive. According to Guinness World Records, the bear was displayed at the Exploration Place in Wichita.