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The Big Well, Greensburg

4.6
#23 of 62 in Museums in Kansas
The Big Well is a large historic water well in Greensburg, Kansas, United States. It was built in 1887 at a cost of $45,000 to provide water for the Santa Fe and Rock Island railroads, and it served as the municipal water supply until 1932.It is billed as the world's largest hand-dug well, at 109ft deep and 32ft in diameter.The Well of Joseph in the Cairo Citadel at 280ft deep and the Pozzo di S. Patrizio (St. Patrick's Well) built in 1527 in Orvieto, Italy, at 61m deep by 13m wide are both actually larger.It was designated a National Museum in 1972; in 1973 it was awarded an American Water Landmark by the American Water Works Association. Under the name of "Greensburg Well," it has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) since 1972.Visitors entered the well for a small fee, descending an illuminated stairway to the bottom of the well.Visitor centerThe well had a visitor's center detailing the history of the well's construction. On May 4, 2007, a tornado hit Greensburg, destroying the center. The well reopened on May 26, 2012.The visitor's center also displayed a Brenham half-ton (1,000 lb, 450 kg) pallasite meteorite recovered from the area. The meteorite was billed as the world's largest single-piece pallasite, but that title is held by other samples. It was reported that the Big Well visitor center was destroyed, and the meteorite was missing on May 7, after an EF5 tornado destroyed the town. The meteorite, which was insured for $1 million, was later located underneath a collapsed wall and was displayed temporarily at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History in Hays, Kansas. It has returned to the reconstructed museum site.
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The Big Well Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
78 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • The staff was friendly and the exhibit was very informative, a bit interactive, and overall a great site to see if you are in the area! I was their first RI visitor woot woot! :-)  more »
  • Every time I'm in the area, I'll stop by. A place to learn. And give value to the people who lost everything, and how they rebuilt this beautiful town. And now there's the free bikes to tour the city....  more »
  • Sounds strange...however, really is quite interesting. Largest hand dug well. If you are in the area, its worth a look see. Somewhat captivating.  more »
Google
  • The well was crazy cool. And I liked how, on top of everything for the well, they also included loads of cool items and information about the Greensburg tornado. It doesn't take a lot of time to visit this museum. Depending on if you want to read everything or simply go up and down the spiral staircase in the well.
  • This is a quick visit of American history. The well was interesting to take a look at. And has a bit of history of the town and their recovery from a tornado in 2007.
  • The $8 admission for an adult is a little steep. Interesting history about the building of the Big Well as well as after the tornado. If you are in the area, I would recommend a visit
  • Very sad but informative inside. The workers sweet ladies. Worth to see and give a little to help.
  • Beautiful building. A lot of history and information. Friendly staff and neat gift shop. Free bike rentals for touring town.

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