Friday, May 25, 2012
If you're looking for something a little out of the ordinary to do this holiday weekend, there's a big happening in Greensburg. For the first time since the deadly tornado struck five years ago, visitors can go down into the world's largest hand-dug well.
The Big Well in Greensburg once consisted of a small visitors area and gift shop next to the entrance and stairway leading down into the 109-foot deep well. That all changed on May 4, 2007 when an EF-5 tornado ripped the town apart, including the entrance to the well.
Now, the $3 million facility is the Big Well Museum and Visitors Center. Greensburg Convention and Tourism Director Stacy Barnes says the facility now documents the progress of the town before and after the tornado.
"The exhibits that we have in here and the stories that we're telling will be very meaningful for people," said Barnes.
The museum features three separate storylines that focus on the beginning of Greensburg and the Big Well, the tornado that destroyed the town and the rebuilding of the Greensburg into the first all-sustainable city in America.
The well has a new stairway that takes visitors 126 steps down to the bottom. Hand dug in 1888 by thirsty Kansas pioneers, the well continues to amaze.
"I was here maybe 20 years ago when the old structure was here. Today, it's just magnificent," said visitor Alfred Daubendiek.
Admittance is free for those who visit over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.