WAMEGO, Kan. -- Founded back in 1866 as a support community for the Kansas Pacific Railroad; Wamego, Kansas never took off as a bustling town, but its residents don’t seem to mind.
With a population of just over 4,800, it’s a town that offers residents and visitors a walk through history and a little fantasy.
“Wamego is just a great place," executive director of the Wamego Chamber of Commerce Daryn Soldan said. "Something a lot of folks, like me, with young families chose to raise their kids here. The proximity to Topeka and Manhattan makes it very attractive for somebody looking for a little bit of a smaller town to live in. We like to say we punch above our weight.”
The town is just about an hour and half from Kansas City. It sits just north of I-70. To get there just follow “the Road to Oz Highway,” also known as 99-Highway, right into the charming downtown that features hometown eateries, quaint shops and the Wamego city park.
While there you can spend the day taking a step back in history as you learn about the Konza and Potawatomie Native Americans, who were the original inhabitants of the area. You can also learn how the Underground Railroad played in a role in the area.
If you're looking for something more active, you can take a hike along the Oregon Trail and explore where wagon ruts can still be seen.
“There’s a ton of great history here," Soldan said. "It’s something, especially with our close connection with Ft. Riley, that we get a lot of people out interested in history.”
If it’s fantasy you visit Wamego for, take a walk through the downtown area. When you do, you'll think you landed in the Land of Oz because the city is home to the Oz Museum, Oz Winery, and Toto’s Tacoz.
If it's food you're looking for, Wamego has unique hometown eateries that have been ranked some of the best. From coffee shops such as Paramour Artisan Coffee to local bbq from Black Jack Hills, there is a café or restaurant for everyone.