The only “Blue Rapids” in America is located at the junction of the Big Blue and Little Blue Rivers. In its early days, several factories and mills were built to take advantage of the abundant water power. On the square are some fine limestone buildings, including the State Bank of Blue Rapids and the library.
“Round Town Square”, once featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not. In an effort to avoid the common “straight arrow” street grid, the town founders platted a circle in the center, giving Blue Rapids the only round town square in Kansas. 8 Wonders of Kansas Finalist.
Ice Age Monument, Monument dedicated to the oldest rocks in Kansas, brought down from Minnesota during the Ice Age. Located on the “Round Town Square”.
Public Library (1874), the oldest library in continuous use in Kansas. On National Register of Historic Places. Northeast corner of the square. 785-363-7709.
Blue Rapids Historical Society Museum. Free. Exhibits on a different theme every three months. Call for hours, 785-363-7949 or 785-363-7709 or 785-363-7736. South side of square, east of Main Street.
Holm log cabin. Built a few miles away about 1876 by a Swedish family, and moved to town in 1996. Log cabins like this were used by early settlers and were once common in the county. South side of the square.
1906 jail cells, War Memorial (WWI, WWII, Korea and Viet Nam). In center of square.
Murals on several business buildings are by local artist Kenny Winkenwader.
Fairgrounds and Riverside Park. County Fair held here since 1916. Octagonal “Floral Hall.” Silhouettes near the highway at the west end of the fairgrounds commemorate a 1913 Chicago White Sox/New York Giants ball game played here. Highway 77 between Park and Gypsum Streets.
North of Town
Georgia-Pacific gypsum mine and mill. High-quality gypsum rock, used for wallboard, plaster and many other products, has been mined in the Blue Rapids area continuously since the 1870s. The supply is estimated to last for another 100 years. Drive-by only. Highway 77 at Tumbleweed Road.
Prospect Hill Cemetery, overlooking the meeting of the Big and Little Blue Rivers. Burial sites of 48 known Civil War veterans, city fathers of Blue Rapids and others. On 8th Road between Tumbleweed and East River Road.