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Hyatt Regency Wichita 400 West Waterman Wichita KS 67202 USA Telephone: +1 316 293 1234 Sales Fax: +1 316 293 1200 (check availability and rates)Kansas hotels
Today's cutesy, gingham-pinafore image of KANSAS , associated with Little House on the Prairie and The Wizard of Oz , is a far cry indeed from the troubled history that made it known as "bleeding Kansas." It took three hundred years after Coronado came in search of gold in 1541 before pioneers established trails across the region, and Kansas's bid for statehood in 1861 is often cited as the catalyst for the Civil War. The 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act, which gave both territories the right to self-determination over slavery, led to fierce clashes between Free Staters and pro-slavery forces. Runaway slaves from the South were given passage through the area, aided by abolitionist John Brown, and Kansas eventually joined the Union as a free state.
After the war, the mighty cattle drives from Texas made towns like Abilene, Wichita and Dodge City centers of the " Wild West ." The debauched, male image of the West, spawning such "heroes" as Wyatt Earp and Wild Bill Hickok, is, however, challenged in Kansas, which as well as being the first state to give women the vote in municipal elections, boasts the nation's first female mayor and senator, as well as aviator Amelia Earhart and the battling Prohibitionist Carry Nation.
In 1874, Russian Mennonites brought the grain that was to transform the state into the bountiful "bread basket" that now harvests most of the nation's wheat. However, only in the west do miles of golden corn sway in Kansas's infamous gusty wind. The green and hilly northeast, patterned with woods and lakes, is home to the industrial city of Topeka, liberal college town Lawrence , and the suburbs of Kansas City (though downtown lies across the state line in Missouri). The wild and sparse northwest is pioneer country, while cowtown Dodge City is in the southwest. Wichita , the state's largest city, lies in the south central area.
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