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The Big Well, Greensburg

(4.4/5 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.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • 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 »
  • We were traveling along in our RV and out in the country saw a sign for world's largest hand dug well....what the heck?! So, made our way there. Plenty of street parking big enough areas for our RV wi...  more »