Hidden Kansas

Hosted by KMUW's Lu Anne Stephens, Hidden Kansas explores intriguing spots across our state. Listen for a new segment each month on The Range from KMUW.

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Lu Anne Stephens / KMUW

Land-locked Kansas is not where you might expect to see a squadron of pelicans or a fling of sandpipers.

But a couple of times a year, we become home to thousands of migratory birds making the long journey north or south. And when that happens, there’s no better place for bird watching than the salt marshes at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.

Lu Anne Stephens / KMUW

The tallgrass prairie once covered more than 170 million acres across North America.

Today, only about 4% is left, and most of it can be found in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

Lu Anne Stephens / KMUW

Cowley County is the stone arch bridge capital of Kansas. Seriously, look it up.

This week on The Range, we take a road trip through the county to search for some of its beautiful — and historic — bridges.

Lu Anne Stephens / KMUW

Cowley County is the stone arch bridge capital of Kansas. (Seriously, you can look it up.)

There are 16 bridges scattered about the county on tiny backroads. Most of them are well over 100 years old, built by hand with local limestone.

So beloved are these bridges that the Kansas Legislature signed off on the county's unique designation in 2016.

The Range | Feb. 12, 2021

Feb 12, 2021
Lu Anne Stephens / KMUW

Wichita turned 150 years old last year, which means there’s a fair amount of history in our city. But sometimes you have to search for it a bit.

This week on The Range, we visit the Kansas Firefighters Museum — a small building in south Wichita that contains a large piece of the city's past.

Lu Anne Stephens / KMUW

On Broadway, just south of Lincoln, is another Wichita landmark that is hidden in plain sight: the Kansas Firefighters Museum.

The museum is small in size but uses the space wisely. The walls, ceilings — every square inch, it seems — is full of memorabilia.

There are photos, plaques, logbooks and, best of all, old fire equipment. The museum has the station’s original horse-drawn wagon; a chemical truck that was pulled and pushed by four men; and a 1921 American Lafrance fire engine.

The Range | Jan. 8, 2021

Jan 8, 2021
Lu Anne Stephens / KMUW

This week on The Range, we visit a small Kansas town that rebuilt its biggest tourist attraction, and itself, following a devastating tornado.

Plus, we talk with the mayor of Wichita about how the city is helping businesses survive the pandemic.

The Range | Dec. 11, 2020

Dec 11, 2020
Lu Anne Stephens / KMUW

This week on The Range, we take a trip to western Kansas to visit the breathtaking "Cathedral of the Plains" that towers over the tiny town of Victoria.

Plus, we catch up with Lynn Hutchinson, a COVID-19 ICU nurse at St. Francis Hospital we first spoke to in July, to hear what the situation is like now, ten months into the pandemic.

Lu Anne Stephens / KMUW

If you’ve driven west on I-70, you’ve probably seen two church towers off in the distance, about 10 miles east of Hays in the tiny town of Victoria, Kansas.

If you haven’t been curious enough to stop and check it out, you should.

The Range | Nov. 13, 2020

Nov 13, 2020
Jessica Treadwell / KMUW

Kansas' newest state park defies the stubborn misconception that the state isn't much to look at.