Kansas Roadtrips: Wamego

It is true that anywhere in the world when people who may not even speak English find out that you are from Kansas, they smile and say something about the Wizard of Oz. And just like L. Frank Baum made Kansas known worldwide, some marketing genius made Wamego, KS a worthwhile side trip for anyone passing through the state.
Wamego is located near Manhattan, KS and close enough to I-70 to make a detour. It doesn’t have any discernible claim to the Oz fame, except for actually being in Kansas.

If you are a Wizard of Oz fan you will find plenty of collectibles and memorabilia.

Downtown Wamego is pretty lively…

…store fronts are cleverly decorated.

The Columbian Theatre

Walter P.Chrysler was born in this house, but I don’t think this is the original location.

It was landed here by a tornado smashing an unknown woman.

We ate here surrounded by numerous old people in overalls.

Bonus – Kansas View…

…and two murals we caught in Topeka.

  • Will Notb

    I finally get it: you’re the “handler” for a bunch of sleeper agents — put in place sometime back in the late ’50s and early ’60s– in these sleepy little Midwestern towns across Kansas! How could I have been so blind?

    • I have an alibi – we were visiting my kid’s friend who just started K-State. Iron clad.

      • Will Notb

        Exactly what I would expect a mole to say…

  • nickthenerd

    Thanks for the pics…I grew up (and out of) Wamego about 15 years ago. I have only been back to Wamego a couple times since. All of the Oz stuff initially started in the bottom half of the columbian theatre and started to spill over from there right around 2000, I think. Since then, little shops that are based on Oz fame have popped up, about one a year it seems. I think it is neat that Wamego found a niche to build some interest for the little town. It was a good place to grow up.

    The city hall there looks nice (the two columns) – that has been completely refaced since I was last in Wamego.

    Regarding the WPC house, that was originally built south of the railroad tracks, on the east side of highway 99. I think the location was in this lot….but I can’t quiet remember. https://maps.google.com/?ll=39.199351,-96.304168&spn=0.000901,0.001742&t=h&z=20&layer=c&cbll=39.199351,-96.304168&panoid=EwxDKK8lKG2s2Qf6n5vMQw&cbp=12,175.14,,0,0

    I also used to work at Kreem Kup in HS. Looks like they replaced their sign with a digital one…good move. Every time I see a place like this in KC (big burger, in-a-tub, etc) it gives me a bit of nostalgia. I still prefer the mom and pop restaurants (like most bbq here in town) as opposed to the chain garbage on every corner. It sucks that more young people don’t appreciate the Kup for what it is…McD’s and Taco Bell there are straight garbage on a bun or shell.

    Anyways, thanks for the post…and go cats! #EMAW

    • When I am in a small town, I always try to eat at a local place. Food was decent and it was kinda fun to watch old-timers just walk in, sit down and get a cup of coffee without even asking.