Trip Planner:   USA  /  Kansas  /  Greensburg  /  Museums  /  The Big Well

The Big Well, Greensburg

(4.5/5 based on 65+ reviews on the web)
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.
Put The Big Well on your schedule, and learn what else deserves a visit by using our Greensburg vacation route planner.
Source
Create a full Greensburg itinerary
map

Plan your trip to Greensburg

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans in Kansas by other users

10 days in Kansas BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 39 days in Kansas BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, historic sites, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: June, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 8 days in Leavenworth BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Manhattan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Kansas BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, historic sites, museums, hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Manhattan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, romantic, museums, fast-paced, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, romantic, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 19 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, outdoors, romantic, beaches, popular PREFERENCES: May, outdoors, romantic, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 11 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Manhattan BY A USER FROM CANADA September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, shopping, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 2 days in Manhattan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Wichita BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
View more plans
Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • I had visited this site prior to the tornado. Wow! What an impressive attraction. Honestly- the well is minimal compared to the museum depicting the tornado that destroyed the town 10 years ago. For t...  more »
  • 10 years ago an F-4 or F-5 Tornado leveled Greensburg, KS and hit the largest hand dug water well. Both recovered. The Big Well Museum rebuilt to cover the well and Tornado. Well worth a visit.  more »
  • My family enjoyed the visit. The staff was friendly and helpful. Our 11 year old son liked checking out the well and all the tornado history/artifacts. Glad we stopped!  more »
Google
  • The World's largest hand dug well! It's a pretty big hole in the ground. Kind of neat. The real treat is the horizon view above the well which lets you see all of Greensburg from a good height with etchings on the windows describing former historical locations before the tornado. There is a town history museum here that focuses on the tornado and also a meteorite that's pretty cool too. An interesting stop on a cross country tour.
  • A good account of history during the time of the Tornado that wiped the town out.
  • Wonderful place with a wonderful person closing tonight. We did spend but just 15 min here but the person closing was a great cheer to speak to.
  • We came to check off another one of the "8 Wonders of Kansas", the museum is beautifully built and filled with lots of information. So much information that it is a bit much. The well was kind of terrifying, but maybe that's just me. Bring your walking shoes!
  • The Big Well Museum is pretty unique and pretty cool. It's a giant hole in the ground--there you have it. Nonetheless, who doesn't like a giant hole in the ground? Also, the town of Greensburg has been largely rebuilt following an EF5 tornado in 2007. It's awesome to see a town in the middle of Kansas rebuild as a "green" modern community. Well done.