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History of Greensburg

Greensburg was established in 1886. Greensburg was named for stagecoach driver D. R. "Cannonball" Green. In 1886, Governor John Martin organized Kiowa County and named it after the native Indians of the area. Small settlements were springing up across the plains. Donald R. Green "Cannonball Green" was instrumental in the organization of Greensburg, the town that would bear his name.

Colonel Green was a flamboyant, boastful character. He liked to dominate a crowd while twirling his diamond-studed watch chains. He owned and operated "The Cannonball Stageline." His fine stage coaches and speeding broncos blazed trails which railroads and highways later followed. He took great pride in the speed of his coaches and advertised that even "Father Time" couldn't keep up with the "Cannonball."

His stageline brought stability and prosperity to the towns it served as he helped his passengers become acquainted with prairie life. But his stageline was up-staged when the railroad came to Kiowa County.

Big Well InteriorGreensburg is home to the world's largest hand dug well. When the well was completed in 1888 it was 109 feet (33 m) deep and 32 feet (9.8 m) in diameter. The well was used as the town's water supply until 1932. In 1939 it was opened as a tourist attraction allowing visitors to descend to the bottom of the well. The adjacent museum displayed a 1000-pound Pallasite Meteorite until the museum fell down around the meteorite during the 2007 tornado that destroyed the town. The Well was not destroyed, and the meteorite was found in the rubble of the museum and now is on display in the new Big Well Museum & Visitor Information Center.

MeteoriteHalf iron and half stone, the Pallasite Meteorite (Space Wanderer) on display at the Big Well in Greensburg, was found on the Ellis Peck farm east of Greensburg by Mr. H. 0. Stockwell of Hutchinson, Kansas, using a device similar to a mine detector. The Space Wanderer may be old beyond imagination and from far beyond our solar system. Meteorites or "shooting stars" have awed humanity throughout history.

Looking South From Grain ElevatorOn May 4, 2007 95% of Greensburg was destroyed by an EF5 tornado. Following the tornado, the community has committed to building back stronger, better and greener.

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