The first permanent settlement in Wichita was a collection of grass houses inhabited by the Wichita Indians in eighteen hundred and sixty three. They had moved back to Wichita from Oklahoma during the American Civil War because of their pro-Union sentiments. They had earlier, by seventeen hundred and nineteen had moved south to Oklahoma.
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Wichita was officially incorporated in eighteen hundred and seventy. Its position on the Chisholm Trail made it a destination for cattle drives headed north to access railroads to eastern markets. As a result, it became a railhead destination for cattle drives from Texas and other south western points. From then it has derived its nickname –“Cowtown”. It quickly gained a wild reputation and had numerous well known lawmen pass through, employed to help to keep the rowdy cowboys in line. Among those was Wyatt Earp.
Following the incorporation, Wichita witnessed a land boom resulting from the rapid immigration. After the boom the city suffered from fifteen years of comparative depression and slow growth. An island in the middle of the Arkansas River, named Ackerman Island was home to an amusement park and a dance pavilion. The island was connected to the West Bank of the River through a WPA project in the thirties. Wichita reached national fame in nineteen hundred when Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) member Carrie Nation decided to carry her crusade against alcohol to Wichita.
Wichita lies on the Arkansas River near the western edge of the Flint Hills in the Wellington- McPherson Lowlands region of the Great Plains. The topography of the area is characterized by the broad alluvial plain of the Arkansas River valley and the moderately rolling slopes which rise to the higher lands on either side.
Wichita lies in the transition zone between North America’s humid subtropical climate and humid continental climate zones, typically experiencing hot, humid summers and cold, dry winters.