|• Total||2.25 sq mi (5.83 km2)|
|• Land||2.21 sq mi (5.72 km2)|
|• Water||0.04 sq mi (0.10 km2)|
|Elevation||991 ft (302 m)|
|• Estimate (2012)||4,485|
|• Density||1,978.3/sq mi (763.8/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||0476420|
Wamego is located at . According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.25 square miles (5.83 km2), of which, 2.21 square miles (5.72 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) is water.(39.204074, -96.308328)
Wamego is located at the intersection of U.S. Route 24 and K-99. It is about 14 mi (23 km) east of Manhattan; and about 42 mi (68 km) west-northwest of Topeka. The Kansas River flows along the southern edge of the city.
The Wizard of Oz
Located in Wamego is a museum dedicated to The Wizard of Oz , featuring a collection of over 25,000 Oz artifacts on permanent loan from Friar Johnpaul Cafiero. The Museum was founded in April 2004, and led to the development of several other small businesses with the oz theme, which have come to be known as the "Oz Cluster." Prominent Oz-related businesses include the Oz Winery and Toto's Tacoz.
On the first weekend of October, Wamego holds its Annual OZtoberFEST, an Oktoberfest-type celebration with an Oz theme. The 2009 Festival hosted 3 of the existing original Munchkins from the MGM movie, Oz Historian and Emmy Award winner John Fricke, Robert and Roger Baum (Great Grandsons of L. Frank Baum), Judy Garland Collector Michael Siewert, and Author Steve Cox. The festival also hosted Hot Air Balloon Rides, Tallgrass Brewery Beer Garden, the Yellow Brick Road Bike Ride, and the Columbian Theatre's Production of The Wizard of Oz.
Wamego served as the backdrop for the independent film production of Steve Balderson's surrealist crime drama, Firecracker. Named on Roger Ebert's list of the year's best films (2005), the film is based on a true crime that happened in Wamego. Balderson, a Wamego-native, used actual locations where the crime occurred.
As of the census of 2010, there were 4,372 people, 1,758 households, and 1,176 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,978.3 inhabitants per square mile (763.8 /km2). There were 1,882 housing units at an average density of 851.6 per square mile (328.8 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.1% White, 0.8% African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.0% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.9% of the population.
There were 1,758 households of which 37.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.1% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 33.1% were non-families. 27.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.00.
The median age in the city was 33.3 years. 27.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 28.6% were from 25 to 44; 22.3% were from 45 to 64; and 13.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.6% male and 52.4% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,246 people, 1,630 households, and 1,155 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,615.3 people per square mile (1,012.0/km²). There were 1,740 housing units at an average density of 1,071.7 per square mile (414.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.75% White, 0.73% African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.78% from other races, and 1.27% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.88% of the population.
There were 1,630 households out of which 38.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.7% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.1% were non-families. 25.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.09.
In the city the population was spread out with 29.4% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 17.8% from 45 to 64, and 14.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 93.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $38,115, and the median income for a family was $46,017. Males had a median income of $29,881 versus $21,974 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,307. About 5.7% of families and 8.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.1% of those under age 18 and 18.0% of those age 65 or over.
The primary industry of the area is agriculture. The broad river valley is used to grow alfalfa, sweetcorn, maize and wheat. In the hills around the city, rocky pastures support herds of cattle. There is a processing plant for alfalfa in Wamego. The other major industry is a factory which produces attachments for earth-moving and other heavy construction equipment, wholly owned by Caterpillar, Inc.. Many of the residents of the city commute to nearby areas for employment, chiefly Manhattan and Topeka.
In 2011, Caterpillar plans to add a new 40,000-square-foot building to its existing plant in Wamego. The expansion will eventually add 120 jobs to expand the total workforce at Wamego to about 500. The Wamego plant makes buckets, blades, and other tools.
Points of interest
- The Columbian Theatre
- The Oz Museum
- Oz Winery
- Wamego City Park and Windmill
- Poppyfield Gallery
- Vin Vivante and Little Apple Winery
- Walter Percy Chrysler boyhood home
- Patti Page Exhibit
- Steve Balderson, filmmaker
- Benjamin Butler (artist), painter
- Walter Chrysler, automobile manufacturer
- Travis Metcalf, professional baseball player
- Wiley Taylor, professional baseball player
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-05-29.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "2010 City Population and Housing Occupancy Status". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- The OZ Museum - Wamego, Kansas
- Caterpillar to expand Kansas plant, add 120 jobs; Peoria Journal Star; August 18, 2011.
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- USD 320, local school district