B-29 Memorial Plaza
Great Bend was a B-29 bomber training base during World War II, and crews from all over the United States were trained to fly the huge super fortress bombers right here in Great Bend. The airfield is the site of a memorial dedicated to the men and women who manufactured, flew and provided support for the Boeing B-29 Super fortress. For more information contact the Barton County Historical Museum at 620-793-5125.
Barton County Historical Society Museum and Village
Step into central Kansas history at the Barton County Historical Museum and Village. The museum preserves the history of Barton County, from its Native American roots to World War II and beyond. The village brings the region’s settlement era to life through several restored historic buildings, including an 1871 pioneer home, an 1898 church, a 1910 train depot, a 1915 one-room school house, and a small post office. Group tours are available and admission is charged. For information call 620-793-5125.
Breaking the Prairie Sod Memorial
This memorial serves as a tribute to the early pioneer families who endured sparse accommodations, nature’s harsh challenges, and yes, even the tough grassy sod for crop production. Some gave up for an easier life elsewhere. Others lost everything, including their lives. Those who stayed hung on "as tough as the prairie sod." The memorial can be viewed at the Highway 96/56(10th Street) junction.
Jack Kilby Memorial
The solid bronze statue, named "The Gift," stands on the west side of the Barton County Courthouse. The area, officially designated as the Jack Kilby Plaza, includes circular seating complemented by beautiful flower beds. The monument consists of three sculptures rendered at a scale of 1.25x life size. Jack Kilby's eight foot tall figure reaches out to give a microchip to a young boy. To Kilby's right, a young girl eagerly reaches out a hand to her slightly older companion and points toward the stars with her other, symbolizing the transmission of knowledge from one generation to the next.
Kansas Oil and Gas Museum
The “ka-thump ka-thump” of oil rigs forms the industrial heartbeat of the Great Bend region. Oil exploration began here in 1886, financed by a group of Great Bend speculators. By 1930, it was estimated that the county received more than $20 million annually from the oil and gas industry. Oil pumps dot the landscape throughout the region and remain an important contributor to the regional economy. Open by appointment only. Call 620-793-8301.
These metal-panel homes tell the story of an American dream. They prove that America once again adopted new approaches to address challenges. These homes are an important chapter in Barton County's history. Clusters of these homes still provide housing for families throughout the city. Stop by the Barton County Historical Museum for a tour of a Lustron home.
The Rifleman stands guard over the north side of the Barton County Courthouse. He serves as a tribute to the men and women who dedicated their lives to fight for our country.
The avenue of flags is dedicated to the honor of the United States Armed Forces for their immeasurable service and supreme sacrifice.