02 Sep Get To Know Delano – A closer look at Wichita’s Historic Delano District
You may have noticed in our recent posts we’ve been organizing “downtown” events by the districts where they’re located. There are four districts in what is typically referred to as downtown Wichita. These districts are – Douglas Design, Downtown, Old Town, and The Historic Delano District. This is starting to become a common way to refer to certain areas of Wichita. We couldn’t help but wonder how these districts got their names. As a result, we’ll be doing a little research and spreading the wealth of knowledge. This week, enjoy a little history lesson about the Historic Delano District!
What’s in a name? Historic Delano District (Pronunciation: d eh - l ae - n oh) was a town originally named Elgin when it was established in 1870. In 1871 it was renamed Delano. The town of Delano became a part of Wichita in 1880. At that time the area became known as the Delano Neighborhood. Most recently, in 2000 the neighborhood went through a re-branding and is now known as the Historic Delano District.
Where is the Historic Delano District? The Historic Delano District is north of Kellogg to Central and from the Arkansas River over to Meridian.
Was Delano a part of the Chisholm Trail? Delano was a huge part of the Chisholm Trail, it was the last stop. Ranch-hands would travel over 600 miles, beginning in San Antonio, Texas, to reach the end of the Chisholm Trail and ship their cattle off east. Once in Delano, the cattle would cross the river (where the Douglas Street Bridge is now) & would then be herded into pens and loading chutes. Fun fact: These pens and loading chutes were built where Kellogg is now!
What was Delano like compared to Wichita? After the ranch-hands from the Chisholm Trail shipped off their cattle, they went to Delano to relax, unwind, and celebrate. Wichita was a town with strict laws that were heavily enforced, but Delano was more like an old Wild West movie. The town of Delano had no law enforcement or rules, so what happened in Delano, stayed in Delano! When ranch-hands wanted to spend money at saloons, brothels, or dabble in gambling, Delano is where they’d go. Fun Fact: If you would like to experience this time period you’re in luck! Wichita’s Old Cowtown (oldcowtown.org) sits on 23 acres of the Chisholm Trail and has 54 historic and recreated buildings from that time! Admission is free every Sunday from April to October high noon – 5pm.
When did Delano become part of Wichita? The local cattle trade had come to an end in the late 1870’s. The cattle trade had moved farther west, to places like Dodge City. After Delano was no longer the center of cattle trade, it grew up, left behind it’s wild ways, and became part of Wichita. Fun Fact: During the 1880’s after becoming a part of Wichita there was a building boom, which lead to the multitude of brick buildings and paved roads still in Delano to this day.
What’s the story behind the Delano Clock Tower? The story behind the clock tower is one of the coolest! The tower’s 4-sides depict the history of Delano. It was designed based off of an inspiration from the old Turner Opera House and is titled “Window of Time.” One side of the clock tower is meant to link Delano to its colorful past. It depicts the wild saloon days. On another side you can find a depiction of Jesse Chisholm whom the Chisholm Trail was named after. The clock tower was dedicated in 2003, and a time capsule was buried at the base. This time capsule will be opened for the Chisholm Trail’s 150th anniversary, which happens to be this year! The time capsule includes newspapers, coins, and other artifacts! Read on to find out about the 2017 Delano Fall Fair, where the time capsule will be opened!
What is the Delano Fall Fair? The Delano Fall Fair is a 3-day long event that allows people to explore Delano while learning about it’s fun history. The fair, a celebration of the Chisholm Trail’s 150th anniversary will begin on October 6th and end on October 8th. There will be many different events, including a parade, campfire ghost stories on the first night, and the opening of the time capsule on October 8 at high noon! Be sure to attend the Delano Fall Fair, as it’ll be one of the best events this season!
Is Delano haunted? Rumor has it, it is! Many people may not know or believe this, but there are a few locations in Delano that are known to be haunted. One of these places is Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, home to the Wichita Wingnuts. A couple of the other places mentioned on the Historic Delano website are the Downtown Senior Center, Amira’s Dance Productions, Delano Barbeque, Spectrum Muzic and Cowtown. Get out and explore the paranormal presence of Delano if you dare!
What else is there to do in the Historic Delano District? The Delano District is home to some of our favorite places in Wichita – The Keeper of the Plains, Botanica the Wichita gardens, The Wichita Art Museum, and other attractions are all located in Delano. Try a flight of locally crafted beer from Aero Plains Brewing, update your look at Salon 5Thirty5, or get a facial at Bohemia Healing Spa. Historic Delano has become a fun district where you can explore, shop, eat, and drink on weekdays and weekends in Wichita! Many businesses in Delano also participate in the Final Friday Art Crawl. Be sure to check our Wichita Event Calendar to find more fun happenings in Delano!
Where can I learn more? If you’re interested in learning more about Historic Delano, or anything else mentioned in this article, please visit www.historicdelano.com or the Historic Delano Facebook page @HistoricDelano.