Big WellEdit

State: Kansas


The former Big Well Musuem before the tornado in 2007.

Location: 315 S Sycamore St, Greensburg, 67054

Height: 109 feet (33 m)

Diameter: 32 feet (9.8 m)

Water Source: Underground Aquifer

World Geodetic Location: 37° 36′ 20″ N99° 17′ 37″ W

The Big Well is a large historic water well in Greensburg, Kansas, United States.  The construction on Greensburg Well began in 1887.  The city granted a franchise the rights to begin digging a waterworks system for Santa Fe and The Rock Island Railroads.  The cost of $45,000, the well was dug from sun up to sun down.  Workers where paid fifty cents every day at sunset for a whole days work.  The crews consisted of 12 to 15 men working daily on the well. Wagons brought stones for the casing from the Medicine River 12 miles away.

"A wide shaft was cribbed and braced every 12 feet with rough two by twelve inch planks that reached from wall to wall in a wagon wheel type support as the digging progressed. This was done for safety of the workers as they shoveled soil into barrels and hoisted the barrels to the surface. The braces were sawed off after the stones were fitted around them. When the desired depth was achieved, numerous lengths of perforated pipe were driven horizontally at the bottom of the wall into the water bearing gravel. This served to increase the flow of water into the well basin."   

Finally in 1888 the well was completed resting at 109 feet (33 m) deep and 32 feet (9.8 m) in diameter.  The well would continue to serve as the towns main water supply until 1932. In 1972, the United States Government designated the Big Well as a National Museum and in February of 1974 it was awarded as an American Water Landmark by the American Water Works Association.

On May 4, 2007 95% of Greensburg was destroyed by an EF5 tornado, including the Big Well Gift Shop & Visitors Center. The Big Well survived with little damage, but was closed to tours until the new museum was completed.


The new museum that opened on May 26, 2012.

The new Big Well Museum re-opened on May 26, 2012 allowing visitors to once again descend in the Big Well via a new spiral staircase. The museum features exhibits about the founding of Greensburg and the digging of the Big Well, the tornado that devastated Greensburg May 4, 2007 and the rebuilding as a sustainable community.

The Museum is located at: The Big Well Museum & Visitors Center 315 S. 

Sycamore, Greensburg, KS 67054


'Space Wanderer' Pallasite MeteoriteEdit

In February of 1886, Frank Kimberly and his wife Eliza recorded a homestead claim in Kiowa County.  Upon arriving Eliza began finding black rocks around the property and believed them to be meteorites.  Professor Cragin from Washburn University, in Topeka, Kansas, United States came to investigate her claims.  He returned with samples and was confident they were a rare type of meteor.


A photo of the palasite meteor.

In 1949, H. O. Stockwell using a modified mine detector from World War II and equipment at the Peck Farm; discovered the largest pallasite meteorite to date.  He dubbed it

 'The Space Wander' and weighed in at 1000 pounds.  It was placed in the Big Well Museum the same year, where it has been on public display ever since.

     On May 4th, 2007 an F5 Tornado hit Greensburg and the meteorite was thought to have been lost.  The rock was found right where it has rested for years and was for a time moved to  Exploration Place in Wichita, Kansas; and then Sternberg Museum of Natural History in Hays, Kansas.  But when the Big Well musuem reopened in May 26, 2012, the "Wanderer" came home and is once again on public display.


  1. Big Well (Kansas)
  2. The Musuems Homesite
  4. A News article on Finding the meteorite.


Read more here:

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.