Founded in 1864 as a trading post on the site of a village of the Wichita Indians, Wichita owed its early development to the Texas cattle trade along the Chisholm Trail and to the rapid spread of agricultural settlement along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, then under construction.
In its early years Wichita was a stopover on cattle drives to Abilene and other points as the railroad moved west; in 1872 the line reached Wichita, and the city became a major cattle-shipping center. By 1875 farmers’ fences obstructed the movement of beef herds, as grain became an important commodity.
Wichita is known as the “Air Capital of the World” partly because in the 1920s and 1930s aircraft pioneers such as Clyde Cessna and Walter Beech began their projects in the city. The aircraft corporations Stearman Aircraft, Cessna, Mooney, Beechcraft, and LearJet were all founded in Wichita.
Textron Aviation (Cessna and Beachcraft) and Learjet remain based in Wichita today, along with Learjet and Spirit AeroSystems, and both Airbus and Boeing maintain a workforce in Wichita.
Today, Wichita is the largest city in the state, has the state’s largest buildings, biggest industries, and most venturesome businesses. It is also the largest metropolitan area in the state with nearly one-fifth of the state’s population.
To learn more about Wichita Kansas, take a look at one of the following links.
- Wichita Chamber of Commerce
- Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Wichita Photo Archives
- City of Wichita website
- Economic Development & Business Research
- Wichita Economic Development Coalition
- Wichita Downtown Development
- Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Museum
METRO AREA POPULATION
2019 – 642,339
Wichita – 3.7%
USA – 3.6%
MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME
Median Household Income: $51,059