Kansas Legends

Take a Walk through Kansas History

Visitors of all ages can enjoy an audio walking tour of more than 80 Kansas legends represented on medallions, posters, murals and in sculpture throughout the center. Legends Outlets honors famous Kansans in athletics, music, exploration, science, technology, politics, art and much more, recognizing the men and women who truly make the state unique. Each corridor and courtyard of the center is dedicated to a particular category of famous Kansan or aspect of the state and its history. Reservations are encouraged. Headsets can be obtained from the Customer Service office during office hours. The map and index are available to visitors touring with or without a headset. For more information or to make your reservation, call 913.788.3700.

For details on the walking tour, click here.
To view a map of the walking tour and a list of tour stops, click here.

Below is a brief description on each of the legends featured at Legends Outlets. Click on the legend's name to view their biography. Click here to download a PDF version of the below listing.

KANSAS MUSICIANS

Lester Young (Woodville, Miss.) -Tenor saxophonist jazz musician

Eva Jessye (Coffeyville, Kan.) - Female dean of black music and the first internationally recognized black female choral group director.

Merle Evans (Columbus, Kan.) - Circus maestro for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus from 1919 until 1970.

Mary Lou Williams (Atlanta, Ga.) - Pianist and composer; promoted the Kansas City Swing style.

Samuel Ramey (Colby, Kan.) - Opera star; the most recorded bass in history.

Julia Lee (Kansas City, Mo.) - Singer and pianist; one of the great female blues singers of all time.

Jay McShann (Muskogee, Okla.) - Master of all jazz piano styles and a Kansas City jazz legacy for more than 60 years; developed the hard swinging music of Kansas City and helped launch jazz greats like Charlie Parker.

Big Joe Turner and Pete Johnson (Kansas City, Mo.) -Achieved national recognition with their participation in John Hammond's "Spirituals to Swing" concert in 1938 and became giants in boogie woogie in the 30's and 40's.

Coleman "Hawk" Hawkins (St. Joseph, Mo.) - "Father of the Jazz Sax." Attended college in Topeka, Kan. and was discovered in Kansas City in 1921.

Bennie Moten (Kansas City, Mo.) - Ragtime oriented pianist and bandleader; helped establish the Kansas City jazz style with his Kansas City Orchestra.

Charles "Yardbird" Parker (Parsons, Kan.) - Alto saxophonist jazz musician

Wilbur "Buck" Clayton
(Parsons, Kan.) - Jazz trumpeter, songwriter and arranger (This medallion is under construction.)

KANSAS ATHLETES

Tom Watson (Mission Hills, Kan.) - One of the greatest & most successful professional golfers of all time.

Ralph Houk (Lawrence, Kan.) - Baseball manager that won three consecutive American league pennants and the 1961-1962 World Series championship with the New York Yankees.

Barry Sanders (Wichita, Kan.) - Record-breaking NFL football player with the Detroit Lions and 1988 Heisman Trophy winner.

Adolph F. Rupp (Halstead, Kan.) - "The Baron of Basketball"; retired in 1972 as the basketball coach with the most wins in NCAA history with 876 victories.

Lynette Woodard (Wichita, Kan.) - First Female Harlem Globetrotter, four-time All-America basketball player at K.U. and two-time U.S. Olympian. By unanimous vote in 1996, she was named the greatest female player in Big Eight Conference history.

"Buck" O'Neil (Kansas City, Mo.) - First baseman and manager in the Negro American League with the Kansas City Monarchs. First African-American coach in Major League Baseball.

Gerald Roberts (Strong, Kan.) - Two-time all-around world champion cowboy and may be the greatest rodeo champion in Kansas history.
Dr. James Naismith (University of Kansas) - Inventor, professor & physician at Kansas University that invented the game of basketball and its 13 original rules; known as the "Father of Basketball."

Jess Willard (St. Clere, Kan.) - Tallest man ever to win a world boxing championship; nicknamed "Pottawatomie Giant."
Gale Sayers (Wichita, Kan.) - NFL player for the Chicago Bears; youngest inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame at the age of 34.

Lynn Dickey
(Osawatomie, Kan.) - Green Bay Packers and Houston Oilers Quarterback; named by AP as the greatest quarterback in history of Big Eight Championships.

"Runners Sculpture"
- This sculpture includes a series of five poses that are sequential of the mile run from start to finish and represents three dominant mile runners in Kansas: Glenn Cunningham, Wes Santee and Jim Ryun.
  • Glenn Cunningham (Atlanta, Kan.) - Two-time Olympian track star dubbed “The Kansas Flyer”.
  • Wes Santee (Ashland, Kan.) - Olympic track star; first runner to break the four-minute mark in the mile run.
  • Jim Ryun (Wichita, Kan.) - Olympic track star; first high school athlete to run the mile in less than four minutes.

Maurice Green (Kansas City, Kan.) - Holds several world and Olympic records

Walter Perry Johnson (Humboldt, Kan.) - Hall of Fame Pitcher that pitched 110 shutouts in his 21-year career. Nicknamed “Big Train”.

Rick Mears
(Wichita, Kan.) - Racecar driver that won the Indianapolis 500 four times.

Wilt Chamberlain
(University of Kansas) -Played basketball for K.U. 1955-1958 where he led Kansas to the Big Seven championships in 1957 and 1958 and became the NCAA tournament MVP in 1957.

Iva Pembridge Jarvis
(Phillipsburg, Kan.) - All-time great women's trap shooter; first female honorary member of the Kansas All Sport Hall Fame.

KANSAS INVENTORS, PIONEERS AND INDUSTRY LEADERS

Walter P. Chrysler
(Wamego, Kan.) - Automotive mogul heading up the Chrysler corporation.

Clyde Tombaugh (Burdett, Kan.) - Astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930; studied the night sky from his boyhood home in Burdett, Kan.

Jack St. Clair Kilby (Great Bend, Kan.) - 2003 Kansan of the Year; invented the microchip, for which he shared the Nobel Prize in physics in 2000.

Amelia Earhart (Atchison, Kan.) - Aviator that became the first woman passenger to cross the Atlantic by plane.

Clyde Vernon Cessna (Wichita, Kan.) - Clyde Vernon Cessna founded the Cessna Aircraft Company.

Russell Stover (Mount Ayr Township, Kan.) - Confectioner and business owner.

Ronald Evans (St. Francis, Kan.) - Astronaut that commanded Apollo 17.

Joe Engle
(Chapman, Kan.) - Commanded the second flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia.

David Blanton (Wichita, Kan.) - Invented the autopilot in 1954.

William Purvis & Charles Wilson (Goodland, Kan.) -Inventors; held the patent for America's first helicopter.

William Menninger (Topeka, Kan.) - Co-founded of The Menninger Foundation and The Minninger Clinic which is an internationally known center for treatment of behavioral disorders.

KANSAS EARLY EXPLORERS

Wyatt Earp (Wichita and Dodge, Kan.) - Assistant Marshall of Dodge City where he was known for "laying down the law" and was involved in the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.

Osage Indian - Native American tribe that prospered on the reservation; reported as the largest Native people in North American, with many Osage men averaging over 6-feet tall.

KANSAS FACTS AND FIRSTS

The first bulldozer was built by Earl McLeod and Jim Cummings in Morrowville in 1923.

The first national hamburger was White Castle founded in Wichita, Kan. in 1921 by Walter Anderson.

Dodge City is the windiest city in the United States.

Helium was first discovered by chemists at the University of Kansas.

Jim Roper from Halstead, Kan. won the first NASCAR sanctioned stock car race.

Kansas State Symbols
  • Barred Tiger Salamander - Kansas state amphibian
  • American Bison - Kansas state animal
  • Honeybee - Kansas state insect
  • Meadowlark - Kansas state bird
  • Ornate Box Turtle - Kansas state reptile
  • Cottonwood Tree - Kansas state tree
  • Sunflower - Kansas state flower

KANSAS PERFORMING ARTISTS

"Buster" Keaton (Piqua, Kan.) - Vaudeville and silent film star.

Hattie McDaniel (Wichita, Kan.) - Vaudeville, film, radio and television star that became the first African American ever to receive an Academy Award for her supporting role as Mammy in Gone With the Wind.

Vivian Vance (Cherryvale, Kan.) - Stage and film actress.

Emmett Kelly (Sedan, Kan.) - Professional clown. Created the hobo cartoon character, Weary Willie.

Klondike Kate (Junction City, Kan.) - The famous Yukon territory dancehall girl of the 1898 Canadian gold rush.

KANSAS CIVIC LEADERS

Dwight D. Eisenhower (Raised in Abilene, Kan.) - Served as the 34th President of the United States (1953-1961) and Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II.

Charles Curtis (Topeka, Kan.) -The first Native American Vice President of the United States. Curtis served under Herbert Hoover as the nation’s 31st Vice President.

Susanna Madora Salter (Argonia, Kan.) - Nation’s First Woman Mayor

Robert Dole (Russell, Kan.) - Five term Kansas Senator and World War II hero

Carol Marinovich (Kansas City, Kan.) - First woman mayor of Kansas City, Kan.

Alfred Landon (West Middlesex, Pa) - Governor of Kansas 1933-1937 and ran unsuccessfully for President on the 1936 Republican ticket.

KANSAS ARTISTS, POETS AND WRITERS

Edward Dwight, Jr. (Kansas City, Kan.) - The first African-American trained as an astronaut and a well-known sculptor whose many works highlight the achievements of other Black pioneers and leaders

John Cameron Swayze
(Wichita, Kan.) - The first TV network news anchor on the "Camel News Caravan" and the pitchman for Timex Watches and the expression "Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking.”

Frank Marshall Davis (South Central, Kan.) - Combined his vision with free verse to imagine a new way of expressing himself poetically. Ultimately, he would write three major collections of poetry: Black Man's Verse (1935), I Am the American Negro (1937), and 47th Street: Poems (1948).

William Inge (Independence, Kan.) - Novelist and playwright William Inge, born in Independence, Kansas in 1913, won the 1953 Pulitzer in drama for Picnic.

Damond Runyun (Manhattan, Kan.) - Noted as a sports writer and columnist, Runyun also wrote short stories, some of which included in the book, Guys and Dolls, later a successful Broadway musical and movie.

John Steuart Curry (Dunavant, Kan.) - Artist painting canvases inspired by the lives of fellow Kansans as he celebrates the rural Midwest.

Merrell Gage (Topeka, Kan.) – Sculptor.

Aaron Douglas (Topeka, Kan.) -An artists dubbed "the father of Black American art."

Gwendolyn Brooks (Topeka, Kan.) - The first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Eugene Smith (Wichita, Kan.) - Famed WWII and Life Magazine photojournalist

Gordon Parks (Fort Scott, Kan.) - Writer/photographer Gordon Parks, author of The Learning Tree, was born outside Fort Scott, Kan. and became the first black director, screenwriter and composer of a major motion picture.

Clarence D. Batchelor (Osage City, Kan.) - Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist.

Elizabeth "Grandma" Layton (Wellsville, Kan.) - An artist that healed through creativity. Layton began creating art at the age of 68 gaining national and international recognition with a one-woman show at the Smithsonian Institution. www.elizabethlayton.com
 

William Allen White (Emporia, Kan.) - Newspaper owner and editor, known as "The Sage of Emporia."

Rudolph Wendelin (Herndon, Kan.) -Artists known for making Smokey Bear friendly and personable.

SCAVENGER HUNT

Looking to add a little more fun to your exploration of Kansas legends? Try our Legendary Scavenger Hunt. Simply divide your group into two teams and use the map to hunt for the answers. Feel free to bring a camera and take pictures of your discoveries!

Below are two versions — an elementary version for 4th grade and below, and an advanced version for 5th grade and above (including adults). You can review the two options below and then click the title to print a PDF with and without the answers. The answers can be found on site by touring the legends or by using a list of Kansas legends featured at Legends Outlets (click here).

A Legendary Scavenger Hunt of Kansas Legends
Elementary Version (Recommended for 4th Grade & Below).

Click here to print a PDF version of the scavenger hunt.
Click here to print a PDF version of the scavenger hunt with answers.

1. Find the tower that is taller than Dave and Busters.
2. How many sculptures are running through the Legends?
3. Find the fountain where wishes come true.
4. What did astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discover? Search for his telescope where you will find your answer.
5. What is the number on Amelia Earhart’s plane?
6. What is Wyatt Earp holding?
7. What is the Osage Indian at the Legends carrying on his back?
9. What do the letters facing the Ornate Turtle spell out?
10. Name one actor or actress following the Yellow Brick Road?
11. What is Dwight Eisenhower doing at the Legends?
12. What store wall is the mural of Elizabeth "Grandma" Layton on?
13. What is Gordon Parks holding in his hand?

A Legendary Scavenger Hunt of Kansas Legends
Elementary Version (Recommended for 5th Grade & Above).

Click here to print a PDF version of the scavenger hunt.
Click here to print a PDF version of the scavenger hunt with answers.

1. What astronomer studied the night sky from his boyhood home in Burdett, Kan.?
2. Who was known as the "Father of the Jazz Sax?”
3. What did Earl McLeod and Jim Cummings build in Morrowville, Kan. in 1923?
4. Who political cartoonist from Osage City, Kan. won a Pulitzer Prize?
5. Who is a four-time All-American basketball player from K.U.?
6. Where can you find information about the ratio defined as the number Phi (1.618)?
7. Who was the first female honorary member of the Kansas All Sport Hall of Fame?
8. Who won the Nobel Prize in 2000 and was named 2003 Kansan of the year? What did he invent?
9. Who was the female dean of black music and the first internationally recognized black female choral group director?
10. What world boxing champion was nicknamed the "Pottawatomie Giant?”
11. What famous news anchor was knows for saying "Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking?”
12. Who "laid down the law" in Dodge City, Kan.?
13. Who was the circus maestro for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus?
14. What first national hamburger chain was founded in Wichita, Kan.?
15. What artist created Smokey the Bear?
16. Who was the first Native American Vice President?
17. What sports writer and columnist wrote the story for "Guys and Dolls?"
18. What famous artist earned the nickname "Grandma" as she began creating art at the age of 68?
19. Who was the Governor of Kansas 1933-1937 and ran unsuccessfully for President?
20. What NFL quarterback was named by AP as the greatest quarterback in the history of Big Eight Championships in 1996?

 
Submit Your Legend
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