Located in the City Park in Manhattan, Kansas stands a 30-foot tall, scythe wielding, wheat harvesting statue called Johnny Kaw. This mythical wheat farmer was created in 1955 by Kansas State University professor of horticulture, George Filinger to mark the city’s centennial. Modeled after legendary Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill, the tall tales of Johnny Kaw give this local hero credit for inventing sunflowers, the state flower of Kansas, stopping tornadoes in their tracks and wringing out clouds like one would wring out their shirts, ending droughts.
The citizens of Manhattan brought the statue to life in 1966 at a cost of $7,000. Built with donated materials and labor, the statue is constructed over a steel beam framework to withstand wind and weather.
You’ll find the city of Manhattan located 9 miles north of I-70, making it an easy place to stop and stretch your legs while road tripping. Though I found the roadside attraction listed in the Manhattan visitor guide, I could not find an address. I’ve made things easy for you. You’ll find the larger than life figure in his size 55 boots in the Manhattan City Park, 1101 Fremont Street, Manhattan.
Directions to the Johnny Kaw statue in City Park from I-70
Take exit 313 for KS-177 toward Manhattan/Council Grave.
Turn right onto KS-177 N (you’ll see signs for Manhattan)
Continue straight onto Pierre St.
Turn right onto S 11th St
Look to the left and you’ll see the statue on the corner of Poyntz Avenue and 11th St.
Drive past the statue and take the first drive on the left to park.
You can use this address for your GPS:
1101 Fremont St
Manhattan, KS 66502
Have you been to the Johnny Kaw statue? Is this one you’d take a detour for?
© 2016, Tonya Prater. All rights reserved.