Will Wells Cause Tourism Coffers to Swell? That is what three Kansas cities are counting on as they lay claim to the World’s largest and widest hand dug wells. Major tourism related plans are in the works for at least one of the three cities.
The well inspired financial whirlwind prayed for by the cities of Greensburg, Westmoreland and Seneca, Kansas is not as farfetched as one might think. The eco-tourism market and all its various off-shoots have been steadily growing since the 1990’s.
Research done over the years by the “International Eco-tourism Society” located in Washington, D.C. consistently shows that eco-tourism has been and continues to be one of the fastest growing global tourism markets today.
With the eco-tourism market showing no signs of stagnation, natural attractions like the world’s largest and widest wells should do economically well.
The world’s largest hand dug well is said to have been completed in 1888 in the town of Greensburg, Kansas. It is 32 feet wide and an impressive 109 feet deep. It served as the city’s water supply from 1888 all the way up until 1932 when it was shut down and replaced. This was not the end of the well’s usefulness though.
In 1939 the residents of Greensburg must have had a prophetic vision of sorts because they decided to re-open up the well as a tourism attraction. It initially did phenomenally well, drawing in thousands upon thousands of tourists each year.
Visits to the world’s largest hand dug well eventually dropped off a bit and the city was ravaged by a tornado in May 2007 which demolished the well’s viewing area and adjacent museum. Efforts have since been underway to rebuild the wind torn town. Included in the rebuilding efforts is a full-scale make-over of the well’s viewing area and an adjacent well museum with the help of celebrated New York designers.
There is no word on when the new museum will open but for now visitors can still view the World’s largest well and pick up a few souvenirs Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm and on Sundays from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm.
World’s Largest Hand Dug Well
3155 Sycamore Street
Greensburg, KS 67054
The world’s second largest hand dug well is said to have been built in 1914 in Westmoreland, Kansas. It is 29 feet wide and 38 feet deep. Unlike the Greensburg well, there is no corresponding museum.
The Westmoreland well is maintained by the “Rock Creek Valley Historical Society” who includes it amongst a list of the region’s other well visited historical sites.
World’s Second Largest Hand Dug Well
North Highway 99
Westmoreland, KS 66549
The well in Seneca, Kansas may not be the largest well in the world, but at 34 feet across it is certainly the widest. Like the Westmoreland well, the Seneca well does not have its own museum. The well’s location is however, prominently marked and does draw tourists on a regular basis.
The Seneca well was dug in 1895 and is 65 feet deep.
World’s Widest Hand Dug Well
523 Main Street
Seneca, Kansas 66538
Those travelers who would like to learn more about eco-based tourist attractions in Kansas should log onto the state’s tourism website.