Encircle Kansas: The Sunflower State is positioned in the heart of the U.S. This photo tour motors along Interstate 70 from Lawrence, to the capital of Kansas and visits the hometowns of Dorothy, Toto and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Then head south on I135 toward the largest city: Wichita.

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1 University of Kansas Jayhawks Mascot Big Jay in Lawrence, Kansas

Big Jay was introduced in 1953 as the mascot of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. The bird has a bright yellow beak, a red head and big blue eyes. Tradition requires the character stand 6” 2’ when in costume. Big Jay’s home page lists his residence as Allen Fieldhouse, a.k.a. “The Nest.” This statue called “So many faces, but one heart,” by Joanne Renfro is in the KU Visitors’ Center. His Jayhawks companion, Baby Jay, was hatched during the 1971 homecoming game. The school’s first mascot was Centennial Jay. He only made a brief appearance in 1912 and again on his 100th birthday.

1502 Iowa St, Lawrence, KS 66045

2 Kansas State Capitol Building in Topeka, Kansas

The word “Topeka” comes from the Kaw Nation of American Indians. It means, “A good place to grow potatoes.” A bronze statue of a Kansa warrior named Ad Astra was placed atop the Illinois State Capitol’s copper dome in 2002.This finishing touch was added 100 years after the limestone building was finished in 1903. Kansas became the 34th state on January 29, 1861.

300 SW 10th St, Topeka, KS 66612

3 Kansas State Capitol Building Staircase in Topeka, Kansas

The wooden and copper staircases in the Kansas State Capitol building are gorgeous. The newel posts have ornate engravings including the letters K and S at the top. The head of the balusters resemble the fluted, Corinthian columns supporting the five floors. The indented arches above marble wainscoting house period sconces that bathe the stairs with a warm light.

300 SW 10th St, Topeka, KS 66612

4 Memorial Building Attorney General and Secretary of State Offices in Topeka, Kansas

In 1911, President Taft laid the cornerstone for the Memorial Building in Topeka, Kansas. This was a tribute to fallen Union soldiers in the Civil War. It served as a Historical Society until 1995. Then the Memorial Building became the offices of the Attorney General and Secretary of State.

120 SW 10th Ave # 1, Topeka, KS 66612

5 Tin Man from Wizard of Oz at the Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas

A popular quote from the 1939 movie “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” This phrase was voted the fourth most famous line in American cinema. Apparently, Dorothy and her Cairn Terrier lived in Wamego, Kansas. This is where the Wizard of Oz museum displays 25,000 artifacts from the movie, including this full-scale replica of the Tin Man.

511 Lincoln Ave, Wamego, KS 66547

6 Dwight Eisenhower Gravesite Statue at Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas

An 11 foot statue of Dwight D. Eisenhower as a five-star general stands near his tomb at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas. He began his military career in 1911 when he entered West Point and later graduated first in his class. He proceeded to become a five-star general as the commander-in-chief of the Allied Forces and then the first Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. Eisenhower was the 34th President from 1953 to 1961.

200 S E 4th St, Abilene, KS 67410

7 Dwight Eisenhower’s Boyhood Home at Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas

In 1898, when Dwight Eisenhower was eight, his parents and brothers moved into this house in Abilene, Kansas. After graduating from a local high school, he worked at a creamery and as a fireman before being appointed to West Point Military Academy in 1911. Members of his family remained here until 1946. The home is near the Eisenhower Presidential Library.

200 S E 4th St, Abilene, KS 67410

8 Sailor Kissing Nurse on V-J Day in Times Square in Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas

Photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt captured a soldier passionately kissing a woman in a white dress during V-J Day when President Truman announced the end of WWII on August 14, 1945. The photo became iconic after appearing in Life magazine. Several people claimed to be the couple. This sculpture rendition is among the thousands of exhibits in the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas.

200 S E 4th St, Abilene, KS 67410

9 Clock and Bell Tower of Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum in Wichita, Kansas

When it was built in 1892, the city hall of Wichita, Kansas, was known as the Palace of the Plains. That nickname was appropriate because of its stone turrets, columns and clock tower. Since 1939, it has been the Wichita-Sedgwick Country Historical Museum. As the name suggests, this fascinating museum houses over 70,000 items on four floors from the area’s past.

204 S Main St, Wichita, KS 67202

10 First Presbyterian Church in Wichita, Kansas

Thirteen charter members organized the First Presbyterian Church in Wichita, Kansas, back in 1870. Their first brick church served the community from 1876 until 1906 when plans for the existing structure were created. Interestingly, the numbers three and eight dominate the building’s design and furnishings. Three represents the Holy Trinity and eight refers to the number of people saved from the flood in Noah’s ark.

525 N Broadway St, Wichita, KS 67214

11 Wichita, Kansas Composite of Two Photos

Two photos of Wichita, Kansas are: 1) The arch of a pedestrian bridge over the Big Arkansas River; and 2) A long-horn cattle skull with Indian feathers. Both are located near the “Keeper of the Plains” sculpture and plaza.

650 N Seneca St, Wichita, KS 67203