8 Wonders of Kansas customs

An 8 Wonder of Kansas Customs

Building wide main streets, Plains

Address: 411 Grand Avenue, Plains, KS 67869
Website: www.meadecountyecodevo.com/widest.htm

  Building wide main streets

Place to see a great example:  Grand Avenue in Plains--the widest main street in the U.S.!

Grand Avenue is nearly a half-block wide!  Bob Ripley once stated in his Believe It or Not column that it is the widest main street in the United States.  Today, the street, including twelve-foot wide sidewalks along the sides, measures 155 feet, 5 inches across, store front to store front.

It also takes 69 third, fourth and fifth graders stretching out to reach from store front to store front!  (Be sure and see their picture at the bottom of this page)

In 1901 and 1902, Albert Hempel and Don T. Edwards surveyed and laid out the main street of Plains.  Asked why they made it so wide, they answered, "There was plenty of no-good ground, so it just as well be in a street."

The street was unpaved until 1929, when the city council decided to pave half of each side of the street with bricks.

Noticing that the street was twice as wide as most cities main streets, Simon Elliott, then mayor of the town, added a raised brick sidewalk down the center of the street. The walk, stretching three blocks through the center of town, is known as "Simon's Monument."

The city doubled its on-street parking by allowing parking along both sides of "Simon's Monument" as well as along the sides of the street.

Plains is a city of 1,163 located in Meade County.

Source:  The book: Plains, Kansas - 100 Years
by Joyce Knott

Photo:  Brooke Jantz