Paxico was originally founded in 1879 as Strong Mill. However, when a new post office was built in 1881, the postmaster named it Paxico after a local Potawatomi medicine man named Pashqua. Still, that was just the beginning of the start of this small Kansas town with a population of around 200.
Around 1886, the Rock Island Railroad chose to build a route along nearby Mill Creek about a mile east of Paxico. As a result, the citizens of Paxico agreed to move the town closer to the railroad – and that’s exactly what they did. By March 1887, the old Paxico post office and local store moved to the new site. Other businesses, buildings, and many residents of what was now known as “Old Paxico” moved to the new site soon after. By 1888, it was nearly a full-fledged town again.
Little has changed in Paxico in the last 130 years or so. The railroad still runs through town, though the old depot is now used as storage for the campground that sits just outside of town. Interstate 70 was opened in 1956, passing just south of Mill Creek. (This time it seemed the town decided to stay put however.) Not long after, not one, but two Stuckey’s were built to the east of town.
The first Stuckey’s is an original Stuckey’s, albeit a hybrid that surprisingly also sports a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop instead of the usual Dairy Queen on the building’s right side. The Stuckey’s seems to have been situated about three miles east of the first one where a 24/7 Travel store now stands.
Still, it’s good to know that, along with the BR’s original 31 Flavors, you can also stock up on some of your favorite road trip snacks like our world famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Roll, pecan pralines, and bags full of our classic crunchable munchable – Hunkey Dorey.
And after you’ve cooled down with your ice cream and stocked up on your travel treats, check out some of these things to see and do near the Paxico Stuckey’s while you’re in the area:
SCHONHOFF DUTCH MILL / Wamego, KS
Originally located around 12 miles north of where it now sits in the friendly Kansas town of Wamego, the Schonhoff Dutch Mill was built sometime in the 1870s by John Schonhoff. After seeing how the farmers in the area were still grinding their wheat and corn by hand, Schonhoff – a Dutch immigrant – basically said, “Hey guys, you know, grinding this stuff by hand sure seems like a lot of hard work. Back in the Old Country, we did things a little more efficiently. Let me show you.” And with that the young Dutchman built a 40-foot-high, 25-foot-diameter windmill.
The Schonhoff family operated the mill on their farm until sometime around 1890. In 1924, a group of Wamego businessmen got the idea to move the windmill to their town and stone by stone that’s just what they did. In 1988, the city of Wamego commissioned a milling expert to restore the mill to its original function. Today, you can still buy flour and corn meal made from grain ground in the same mill built by John Schonhoff nearly 150 years (and 12 miles) ago. The mill is located in Wamego City Park. For admission and hours visit their website here or call (785) 456-2040.
OZ MUSEUM / Wamego, KS
The next time you hear somebody quote Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, saying: “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore,” you can answer back “Well, actually, yes you are Dorothy.” That’s because you’ll find that Dorothy and her friends still live on in Kansas at The Oz Museum located right here in the quaint little city of Wamego at 511 Lincoln Avenue.
You’ll start your journey down the yellow brick road in Auntie Em’s Gift Shop, and after passing through her screen door, you’ll step into the exciting Technicolor world known as Oz. Here you’ll find all sorts of memorabilia from the 1939 movie along with artifacts from the last 122 years since the book’s release including props the Broadway musical “Wicked” which first opened in 2003 and still plays on Broadway today.
JOHNNY KAW / Manhattan, KS
The tall-tale cousin of the likes of Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill, Johnny Kaw was created by George Filinger in 1955 for Manhattan’s Centennial Celebration.
Geared more towards how Kansas came to be, Johnny Kaw is said to have dug the Kansas River, fought droughts by wringing out clouds, and caused the Dust Bowl as a result of his fights with wildcats and jayhawks.
To pay homage to the man-made myth of a man, the local citizens got $7,000 together in 1966 and built this statue of Johnny Kaw. Standing at 25-feet-tall and holding a scythe, it seems his raincloud wringing days are over now that he’s become something of a roadside attraction. Still, it’s good to know he’s there… just in case!
OLD TROOPER MONUMENT & LAST CAVALRY MOUNT / Fort Riley, KS
Across from the Custer House on Sheridan Avenue on the perimeter of the Cavalry Parade Field you’ll find the Old Trooper Monument. This life size statue of a horse and rider is modeled after Frederic Remington’s 1898 drawing “Old Bill” and was dedicated in 1961 as a tribute to the U.S. Cavalry
At the base of the Old Trooper, you’ll find the grave of Chief, the last cavalry horse mount to be carried on Army rolls. Foaled in 1932, he came to Fort Riley at the age of 9 on April 3, 1941, and served with the 9th and 10th Cavalry. Chief was retired in 1949 and died as an enduring reminder of a military past on May 24, 1968. Chief was given a military funeral complete with full honors here at Fort Riley with the Commanding General of the U.S. Army, General William Westmoreland, in attendance. He is buried upright in a special casket built by U.S. Army Engineers from Fort Riley.
ATOMIC ANNIE / Junction City, Kansas
High above Freedom Park in Junction City, Kansas sits the M65 Atomic Cannon known as “Atomic Annie”. Actually, this is only one of 20 “Atomic Annies” built by the United States at a cost of $800,000 each in the early 1950s that were designed to fire nuclear warheads from the ground. However, by the time they were deployed overseas to Europe and South Korea, their size, their limited range, and the development of rocket and missile based nuclear artillery, among other things, made the cannons nearly obsolete upon arrival. Still it wouldn’t be retired from service until 1963.
Atomic Annie was the first and only cannon to fire a nuclear shell at the Nevada Test Site on May 25, 1953, at 8:30 a.m. local time. The shell exploded after traveling seven miles, completing the test without a hitch.
That Atomic Annie is not the one that is perched above Freedom Park, however. The Nevada Test Site Atomic Annie – the only M65 Atomic Cannon to fire a nuclear shell – is located at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
So there you have a handful of things to see and do near the Stuckey’s in Paxico Kansas. Of course with Topeka nearby to the east and a whole lot of Kansas still left to explore to the west, there still plenty more to see and do the next time you’re traveling through the Sunflower State.
Wherever you’re headed this summer, don’t forget to take Stuckey’s along on your family vacation by ordering all of your favorite travel treats and road trip gear online before you go. From our classic pecan pralines and America’s favorite road trip snack – the Stuckey’s Pecan Log Roll – to caps, t-shirts, and hoodies that will keep you comfy no matter where the road takes you, Stuckey’s has everything you need to make every time you leave your driveway the ultimate road trip. Check us out at stuckeys.com today!
Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!
Whether your next road trip is by car or by rail, it’s not really a road trip without taking Stuckey’s along. From our world famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls to our mouthwatering Hunkey Dorey, Stuckey’s has all the road trips snacks you’ll need to get you where you’re going.
For all of the pecany good treats and cool merch you’ll need for your next big road adventure, browse our online store now!
Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!