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The Big Well, Greensburg

Categories: Specialty Museums, Museums
Inspirock Rating:
4.4/5 based on 55+ 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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  • I was on an outing with the senior group on a Tuesday. We were on a day tour to Greensburg, arriving around ten thirty. We toured the largest hand dug well, in the building there are many pictures, th...  read more »
  • We stopped here on our way west, intrigued by the Big Well. We did not pay to go in but had a wonderful conversation with the cashier. Her history of the town included pictures of the tornado that wip...  read more »
  • We had visited the Big Well in 1991 with our kids and decided to revisit and see how the town was doing after the 2007 tornado. What a treat this was! The museum is beautifully laid out in a circular ...  read more »