With a population of approximately 41,000, Hutchinson is the largest city in Reno County, Kansas (as well as the county seat), and is the 10th-largest city in the state. It is located 39 miles northwest of Wichita, near the Arkansas River. The city is known as the Salt City because it was built over large salt deposits, and salt has been a major industry Hutchinson.
Founded in 1871, Hutchinson was once called Temperance City because its founder was determined that only those of "high moral fiber" should live there. No liquor was to be served within the city limits, which kept Hutchinson from developing the rowdier aspects of other Kansas towns. Because of the liquor ban, many Amish and Mennonite settlers were drawn to the community. Today the Amish have a settlement in Yoder, Kansas, which is just nine miles from Hutchinson. The ban on alcohol ended in 1876, but the community has retained its quiet atmosphere even after the ban was lifted.
Compared with the national average, Hutchinson has very little traffic, so the typical commute to work for Hutchinson residents is around 15 minutes.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
Hutchinson is divided into 13 neighborhoods, each with its own distinct atmosphere.
Approximately 75 percent of homes in Hutchinson are single-family detached, and there are about 17,500 homes and apartments in Hutchinson.
- Lorraine Street is a quiet yet artsy suburban neighborhood. It features mostly single-family homes, but there are also some mobiles homes and small apartment buildings. The homes in this neighborhood are mostly historic houses that were built in 1939 or earlier.
- The Willowbrook neighborhood features predominately midsize, established homes with three to four bedrooms, and there are some small apartment buildings nearby as well. This quiet neighborhood has a mix of homeowners and renters.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Hutchinson's workforce is made up both white- and blue-collar employees, with the majority working in administration, sales, or management or as service providers.
- When salt was discovered in Hutchinson in 1887, more than 20 companies flocked to Hutchinson to get their share of "white gold." These companies built the first salt-processing companies located west of Mississippi River.
- The Carey Salt Company built a salt mine in Hutchinson in 1923. The mine is still in use today, but it is now operated by the Hutchinson Salt Company. With the recent surge of demand for salt, business is booming. Cargil and Morton Salt also have salt processing plants in Hutchinson.
- J.S. Dillon established Dillon's grocery stores in Hutchinson during the 1920s. In 1983, Dillon's was bought out by the Kroger Company, which located its headquarters in town and operates a distribution center there as well.
- The Eaton Corporation operates a hydraulics plant in Hutchinson. School-bus manufacturer Collins Bus Corporation has a plant just outside Hutchinson, and StraightLine HDD, a leading directional drill tooling manufacturer, operates a plant in the city.
- Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center is one of America's premier space museums, offering exhibits and an IMAX theater and known for its educational programs and camps where children can learn about building rockets and investigating space. The space center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.
- Kansas Underground Salt Museum is located 650 feet below ground inside Carey Salt Mine, a working salt mine.
- Yoder Amish Home is a 116-acre authentic Amish farm. Tours are conducted through the two houses and barn, and buggy rides are available.
- Dillon Nature Center is a place where visitors can learn about nature and conservation, hike, explore and fish in a pond stocked with trout.
- Cheney State Park is located on 1,913 acres and offers camping, fishing, boating, picnicking and swimming in a beautiful park setting.
- Sand Hills State Park features hiking and horseback riding on 1,123 acres of beautiful trails of grasslands, wetlands and woodlands.
- Prairie Dunes Country Club features an 18-hole golf course and driving range, along with a restaurant and cart and club rentals. This course hosted the 2002 U.S. Women's Open and the 2006 U.S. Senior Open golf championships.
- Fun Valley Sports Complex is a baseball and softball facility known as "America's Tournament Headquarters." The facility holds state and national tournaments, such as the Midwest National Tournament and USSSA (United States Specialty Sports Association) events.
DID YOU KNOW?
- The excavated Hutchinson Facility Salt Mine is 650 feet below ground and encased in solid stone, so it can protect anything stored there from theft or from the elements and natural disasters, such as blizzards and tornados. Because of this, many Fortune 500 companies and other businesses have used it for storage. The movie and television industries also use the facility to hold the master copies of film classics, including The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, and Star Wars.
- In 1961, the world's longest grain elevator was built in Hutchinson. The grain elevator is a half-mile long and can hold 46 million bushels in its 1,000 bins.
- The First United Methodist Church in Hutchinson was constructed in 1874 during grasshopper plagues. The workers continued to build the church even though it meant that thousands of grasshoppers would be mixed in the mortar of the building's foundation.