The BIG WELL/Greensburg, Ks: Takemewithyou


Fate (or chance or destiny?) has taken me to some unexpected places, sometimes repeatedly, and one of them is Greensburg, Kansas – a small town (pop. 1000) in the state’s windy west that was almost blown off the map in 2007 by a brutal tornado that killed eleven people and destroyed most of the town. (An event that ironically put Greensburg on the map.)

In the past 23 years, I have driven through Greensburg oh, maybe, 23 times, during our annual trips to visit my in-laws who live about an hour west in the even smaller wind-swept town  of Wright, Ks. (pop. about 100) near Dodge City.  Until the tornado struck, one of my favorite parts of our Kansas trip was going through Greensburg,  driving under – if my memory serves me correctly – an almost hand-written sign blowing in the wind over State Highway 54 (US 400) that read: “BIG WELL.”   With an arrow pointing due south.

I did visit the Big Well (aka “the world’s largest hand-dug well”….32 feet wide and 109 feet deep) at least once and don’t remember it being that Big a Deal.  But that Big Sign – way cool! Something about its no-nonsense, no frills, bluntness struck me as classic Kansas. It is what it is.

But after the tornado – which blew the sign to God knows where –  the sign never reappeared.

So I was pleased to read in a front page Wall Street Journal story yesterday (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703906204575027323116293074.html) that the Big Well may soon be an even bigger  tourist attraction – as Greensburg continues its valiant efforts to recover from a tornado whose devastation – flattened buildings, chewed-up trees, piles of random rubble – I’ve seen firsthand.

Apparently Greensburg is emerging as an eco-tourism hotspot ( environmentalists including Leo DeCaprio are helping to resurrect Greensburg as a “green city” ….geddit?) – and the city has plans to develop a $3 million Big Well museum, contracting with big shot New York museum designers.

Good for them. I just hope they remember to string up that Big Sign again.  (And maintain some of that low-key, quirky, Kansas charm.)

2 Comments

Filed under Kansas, Kansas misc, On the road

2 responses to “The BIG WELL/Greensburg, Ks: Takemewithyou

  1. Dirck

    Bring back the “Big Well” sign!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s