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Hays, Kan., Awarded Membership in Union Pacific's Train Town USA Registry

Hays, Kan., has been awarded a membership in Union Pacific's Train Town USA Registry as part of the railroad's year-long 150th anniversary celebration.

Hays received an official Train Town USA resolution signed by Union Pacific Chairman Jim Young, and Hays' historical connection with Union Pacific will be featured at

"We are proud to recognize Hays as we commemorate our railroad's sesquicentennial celebration and growing up together," said Ben Jones, Union Pacific director - Public Affairs for Kansas and Missouri. "Union Pacific has been part of the country's fabric throughout the railroad's 150-year history.  That bond between us and the nearly 7,300 communities we serve continues to strengthen.

"Our shared heritage with Hays is a source of pride as we remember our past while serving and connecting our nation for years to come."

Shortly after the Civil War, railroad builders and settlers began pushing into western Kansas.  Fort Hays was established in 1867, the same year Union Pacific Railroad Company Eastern Division built the main line to just west of where the Hays Regional Airport is today. 

Hays City was founded in August 1867. The early days of Hays City were wild and dangerous and skirmishes between some of the local "rough" citizens, the railroad workers and the soldiers only added to the reputation as a lawless and tough "end of the tracks" town. This tough little end of the track town was home to many frontier "Wild West" characters who were an exciting part of the early days of Hays City: Calamity Jane, James Butler Hickok, General George A. Custer and his wife Libby, "Buffalo Bill" Cody and "Rattlesnake Pete" Lanahan. As the western terminus of the railway, Hays City grew rapidly, serving as the supply point for territories to the west and southwest.

In 1868, construction of the rail line continued west toward Wakeeney.

The word "City" was officially dropped from the name Hays City in 1885 and the town grew to become the largest community in the region.