I suggest you see Fort Hays. My parents and grandparents were born and raised in that neck of the woods. They used to call Hays, "Hays City" I guess to distinguish it from Fort Hays.
Fort Dodge is always fun and very authentic.
If you get to Bucklin drive down the main street south. It's where my folks were born and I spent much of my youth; the best part of it, in that little burg.
If you drive straight north from Fort Dodge you get to Jetmore. It has some amazing old stone buildings. They shoot movies there. All authentic structures. Plains is where the Dalton's had a hideout.
Dodge just got missed by a tornado last week. While I was living out there I only saw one tornado and it was way off on the horizon. We never thought much of them, but they do now. Greensburg was torn off the face of the earth. There is some attempt to rebuild, but it'll never be anything like the charming old westy town that it used to be.
I used to love Peabody which is on the southern border in about the middle of the state. Wonderful old brick false front buildings run up and down mainstreet. When I was there, 50 years ago it was a living city. Probably nearly a ghost town today. Many of those little Kansas towns are nearly abandoned.
ALSO, CHECK LEO OILIVA'S BOOKS. HE HAS WRITTEN A NUMBER OF BOOKS DEALING WITH FORTS IN THE AREA. FRANZWA'S MAPS OF THE SANTA FE TRAIL CAN ALSO EASILY BE USED WITH MODERN ROAD MAPS. IF YOU HAVE YOUNG PEOPLE IN YOUR PARTY, YOU MAY ALSO WANT TO GO TO INDEPENDANCE, KANSAS. LAURA INGALLS WILDER'S FAMILY LIVED FOR A TIME ONLY ABOUT TEN MILES OR SO SOUTH OF THE TOWN. CHERRYVALE, KANSAS, WAS THE HOME OF THE NOTORIOUS BENDER FAMILY. AND, DON'T FORGET INDEPENDANCE AND LEXINGTON IN MISSOURI. HAVE A NICE TRIP!
Margaret A: On your trip to Kansas I suggest that you take in Fort Hays. Some original buildings still stand. Also Fort Dodge.
Some years ago I read a book--don't recall the title now--that I reviewed as '2 Stooges on the Santa Fe Trail.' They had to be either Larry & Curly or Larry & Shemp, because Moe, the smart stooge, obviously didn't go along. They did it horseback. One of their pack horses was a mare who'd just weaned her colt & didn't want to leave it. It went downhill from there.
I HOPE TO GO TO KANSAS THIS YEAR OR NEXT. MY NIECES LOVE LITTLE HOUSE AND MY BEST FRIEND/CHAUFFER HAS SMALL GRANDCHILDREN. I UNDERSTAND KANSAS CITY HAS A GREAT TOY MUSEUM AND I AM INTERESTED IN TOY HISTORY. I REMEMBER SOME REALLY COOL TOYS FROM THE LATE 1940S AND EARLY 1950S.