The Kansas Turnpike opened for business on October 25, 1956. Lawmakers thought for Kansas to prosper the state needed a road to connect Wichita, Topeka and Kansas City. Two lane roads between Wichita and Topeka were becoming more dangerous.
The toll road, originally called the Super Cow Trail by reporters, was built for 147 million dollars.
The Southern End of the turnpike didn't end on a smooth interstate highway. Instead, it ended in Oklahoma farmer Amos Switzer's field. Wyoming's Governor was one traveler who overshot the last Kansas exit and needed to be pulled out.
Seven thousand motorists used the Kansas Turnpike on its opening day. Today, more than 35 million drivers use it every year.
The Kansas Turnpike actually opened five days earlier. Drivers going to the Oklahoma-Kansas football game in Lawrence got to use it for free. Workers closed the turnpike before the game ended, forcing drivers back on the two lane roads. It showed them the advantages of the new turnpike.