Chanute and Iola, Kan., the two cities United Country Real Estate | Deer Creek Realty calls home, are in the southeastern region of the state. They share a similar history with many of the communities in this region and likewise today, they both offer some great reasons to visit or live in the area.
Prior to its statehood, Kansas was organized as a territory in 1854. Allen County (where our Iola office is) formed a year later, named after Ohio Senator William Allen. Neosho County (the location of our Chanute office) was organized in the early 1860s around the time Kansas became a state. Its name comes from the Neosho River that flows through the county.
As in other parts of America, the expansion of the railroad industry in the 1870s here paved the way for industrial and economic growth. In the present day, Allen and Neosho Counties draw visitors and new residents alike with ample outdoor recreation, charming small towns, art, museums and fun local culture.
With its lakes, rivers, campgrounds and parks, Southeast Kansas provides its fair share of opportunities for outdoor recreation. The Neosho River is popular for boating, camping and fishing, and multiple tributary creeks offer additional options for adventures. Hunting is common in the region as well, and you’ll find the avid outdoorsman pursuing trophy bucks, turkey, waterfowl and other game.
In Allen County, both Iola and Humboldt are great places for recreation. Riverside Park, one of many in Iola, is the city’s largest and features multiple ball fields and courts, a swimming pool and other amenities. There are also some long trails for biking and hiking in the city. Humboldt’s top spots include a 21-acre campground with cabin rentals, a 9-hole golf course, 24/7 fitness center and the 61-mile Southwind Rail Trail.
Neighboring Neosho County offers some even larger parks in Chanute, including the picturesque 249-acre Santa Fe Park with picnic areas, sports facilities, a lake and an RV camping site. Neosho Wildlife Area in St. Paul consists of more than 3,000 acres of man-made marsh areas ideal for seasonal goose and duck hunting, along with gar fishing. Anglers also head to Big Hill Lake in Thayer, Kan., for bass, catfish, crappie and walleye.
Fall River State Park, 40 minutes west of Chanute in Toronto (Woodson County), features 980 acres of hiking trails and the namesake river for canoeing, birding, and enjoying nature. And Cross Timbers State Park is popular for its Toronto Lake along the Verdigris River. Other attractions right within Chanute include a gun and archery range and the 9-hole Stone Creek Golf Course.
Beyond outdoor recreation, there are plenty of other things to do in Allen and Neosho Counties. For example, if you’re wondering where to go to explore art galleries, entertainment venues, historical sites and museums, and more, there are some definite highlights.
Many cities and towns in Southeast Kansas are small and defined by close-knit communities, local events and Midwest charm. Downtown Chanute has some interesting shops, a twice-weekly farmer’s market and works to preserve the city’s history and keep its downtown vibrant. Annual events such as Artist Alley bring out fine art, craft and food vendors, and the Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum provides a closer look at these two global explorers and their books and films.
For music or theater, Memorial Auditorium in Chanute is popular, while in Iola the Bowlus Fine Arts Center is the place to be. Iola also boasts its Downtown Square, reportedly the largest of its kind in the United States, with stores, restaurants and businesses. Local events range from fall festivals to summer concerts, block parties, parades and the like.
In general, many cities in Southeastern Kansas including those in our two counties have their own museums, historic sites and tours and that’s an ideal way to learn about the region. Sometimes you have to explore a little to find certain attractions such as the Humboldt Speedway or these unique events in that town. But Allen and Neosho Counties definitely offer something for everyone. Welcome to the region!
Sources: chanute.org; chanutemainstreet.com; allencounty.org; cityofiola.com; humboldtkansas.com; Travelks.com; Kansasoutdoors.com; en.wikipedia.org; lasr.net