College Hill Guide A quick history and guide to the College Hill neighborhood in Wichita KS
Originally a buffalo hunting ground that was part of the Osage Indian Reservation, College Hill is now home to some of Wichita’s finest and most historic homes. Wichita has quite a real estate boom in the 1880’s and College Hill is a direct result of all of the building that occurred then. The brick paved streets are filled with homes on the National Historic Register. There is always more history to learn about this wonderful neighborhood and we love hearing and retelling all of it.
Many will ask… “Where’s the college?” And “Where’s the hill?” Well, here’s the best answers we can come up with:
First of all, Kansas isn’t known for its peaks and valleys. Therefore, when we have a “hill” that is around 75 feet higher at the peak than the very lowest point around (downtown), it’s a hill in Kansas. When you’re driving west on Central and you pass Oliver about halfway to Hillside – You have reached the pinnacle. It doesn’t exactly qualify you to climb Everest next, but you can at least mark summiting a hill off your bucket list.
Now, for the “College” part of College Hill. During those boom and bust days of the 1880’s there were two colleges surrounding to the north and south. To the north, Fairmont College and to the south, Wichita University. There were plans to have a central university on the hill (Do you see it coming together now?) but the market shifted in 1887 and those plans never came to fruition. Wichita University shut its doors as an educational institution and then burned in 1913. The land is currently owned by the Sisters of St. Joseph. Wichita State University incorporated Fairmont college into the university and is still standing. What was going to be the central university is now Southwestern College in Winfield, KS.
So there you go. College Hill has no college, and not much of a hill. What is DOES have are beautiful, historic homes that hundreds of people enjoy and appreciate, a park that is arguably the best the city has to offer, a fantastic public pool, and load more history just waiting to be uncovered.
Check out collegehillneighborhood.com for even more history, photos, and insight!