World’s Largest Wren, Topeka, KS

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Constructed in the 1930s, this local landmark used to be perched on the rooftop of AM radio station WREN 1250, which, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal, was “a mainstay in the Topeka and Lawrence area from 1926 until it went dark in 1988.” A few years ago, the station returned to the airwaves, streaming only over the Internet. The wren was purchased by Historic Topeka, refurbished, and moved to its current location in 1993. Visited October 2015. 

Location: In Huntoon Park, at the triangle of SW 12th Street, SW Huntoon Street, and SW Topeka Boulevard.

Geographical Center of United States, Lebanon, KS

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Well, it’s actually the center of the 48 contiguous states, as verified by the 1918 U.S. National Geodetic Survey. Located about 12 miles south of the Kansas-Nebraska border, a marker, picnic shelter, and small chapel are pretty much the only things in this rural area other than gently rolling hills. The marker is about a half-mile from the actual center, which is located on private farm land. Visited October 2015.

Location: Northwest of town on Route 191 (at “T” with AA Road), three miles north of Route 36 and and one mile west of Route 281.

World’s Largest Ball of Twine, Cawker City, KS

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Probably the king of roadside attractions, the world’s largest ball of twine (sisal twine, to be exact) has been a work in progress since 1953. The ball was started by resident Frank Stoeber as simply a way to store extra twine. According to Roadside America, “By 1957, his twine ball weighed 2.5 tons and stood eight feet tall. By 1961, when he turned it over to the town, Stoeber had over 1,600,000 feet of twine rolled into a sphere 11 feet in diameter.” Now (as of October 2015), the ball has a circumference of 43 feet, could stretch 1530 miles, and weighs nearly 20,100 pounds. It is obviously a source of pride for this small town in northern Kansas. The ball has its own shelter, the surrounding sidewalks are painted with squiggly lines depicting unraveling twine, and a Twine-A-Thon is held every August. Visited October 2015.

Location: On Wisconsin Street (Route 24).