“We’re number 1!” That cry goes up in sports arenas across the country. Today, around Kansas Day, the state of Kansas can point to many Kansas firsts. These are accomplishments in addition to sports where our state was number one in historic developments.
Marci Penner is executive director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, author, and passionate advocate for rural Kansas. Her organization’s website, www.kansassampler.org, plus Kansapedia and other online sources list numerous cases where Kansas was number 1.
For example, the first U.S. patent for a helicopter was issued to Kansans William Purvis and Charles Wilson of Goodland. They invented the helicopter in 1909. A replica of their original helicopter can be viewed at the High Plains Museum in Goodland.
In addition to helicopters, other Kansans made their mark in aviation. The booming airplane production in Wichita led to that city being called the “air capital of the world.”