Arkansas City was known by many names before claiming its present name. Called Ni-Chon-Cka (Between the Rivers) by the Osage Indians in the beginning, the town is now happy to be known as the place “Between Rivers among Friends”. In 1893 men were lined up just south of this piece of land between the rivers, with hope in their hearts and dreams of owning land in their souls. It was September 16th of that year, when a gun was fired, signaling the start of the great land rush. The population of the land between rivers went from 75,000 to about 5000 in three minutes. Today this great piece of history is celebrated in the Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum. The history of southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma are also found in the treasured museum. The director of the Museum offers many speakers and events to educate and entertain its visitors. Also, the Museum offers opportunities to research family in its extensive genealogical library.
Nature is also celebrated in Ark City. Along the sandy beaches of the Arkansas River, Chaplin Nature Center combines 230 acres of magnificent woodlands, prairies, and streams. The director of this possession of the Wichita Audubon Society offers a variety of programs for the young and young of heart. The facilities include 5 miles of walking trails, a visitor’s center, which is ideal for meetings, a nature library, a bookstore and gift shop, and a Multi-purpose room.
Another celebration in nature can be found at the Horizon Camp and Retreat Center, a multi-faceted facility, offering great vistas and a multitude of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. The center is often used by corporate clients, who utilize the challenge courses for their employees. The Conference Center can be used for wedding receptions, and for small or large group meetings.
Ark City is home to historical buildings, which have been lovingly maintained since their creation, such as Ireland Hall, which was built as the first High School in town. The building is now used by Cowley College.
Cowley College offers a progressive education to its international and local students. The Brown Centre at the college is home to such productions as Les Miserables and interesting musical groups such as the Temporal Mechanics Union.
Art around town is publicly displayed in the form of Metal Art, Stainless Steel pieces, sculpted by local artist Gary Kahle, and many murals proudly displayed on downtown buildings, such as the Stone Bridge, created by Gary Gackstatter.
Many town celebrations take place throughout the year, from PrairieFest in June, to Last Run Car Show and Arkalalah in the fall. There are many reasons to visit Ark City and the newly remodeled hotels, Best Western and Super 8, are the perfect places to stay. The shopping opportunities abound in the downtown and uptown areas. The friendly citizens in Arkansas City make the visitor feel right at home. Whether attending a sporting event, playing in the park, or shopping for antiques, the guests of Ark City will discover the reasons our town is a “Treasure Between Rivers among Friends”.