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Salina ( ) is a city in and the county seat of Saline County, Kansasmarker, United Statesmarker. First settled in 1856 along the Saline and Smoky Hill Rivers and founded by William A. Phillips in 1858, Salina is situated at the intersection of Interstate Highways I-70 and I-135 in central Kansas. The population was 45,679 at the 2000 census, and it was estimated to be in the year .

Salina is the principal city of the Salina Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Saline and Ottawa counties.


In 1860 Salina, the westernmost post on the Smoky Hill Trail, began to establish itself as a staging post for prospector traveling to Pikes Peakmarker, as well as a trading post between local native tribes, and Fort Leavenworthmarker. After the Civil War, Phillips, then a colonel, used his influence to extend the Union Pacific Railroad to Salina in 1867. Starting in 1872, Salina began transporting meat shipped in refrigerated cars down the rails. During the 1870s, wheat became the dominant crop in Salina and a steam-powered flour mill was built. At the same time Dr. E. R. Switzer, of Salina, introduced alfalfa to Kansas farmers.

During World War II, Smoky Hill Army Airfieldmarker, located southwest of Salina, was one of several notable B-29 training bases. The exponential growth of the 1950s of Salina was related largely to the re-opening of the base, later renamed Schilling Air Force Base, subsequently closed in 1965 by the Department of Defensemarker. As Schilling AFB, it was home to the Strategic Air Command's 40th and 310th Bomb Wings of the 802nd Air Division between 1952 and 1960, flying B-47 Stratojets and KC-97 Stratotankers; to the 310th Strategic Aerospace Wing between 1960 and 1962; and between 1962 and 1965, to the 22nd Strategic Aerospace Division, controlling the 310th SAW and the Atlas ICBM missile silos of the 550th Strategic Missile Squadron.

On February 28, 2005, the city was home to the "Last Great Aviation Record" when Steve Fossettmarker took off from the Salina Airport in the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, to attempt the first solo, non-stop, non-refueled aerial circumnavigation of the globe by airplane. Fossett completed the record-breaking flight on March 3, 2005 when he landed back in Salina after 67 hours, 1 minute and 10 seconds, at an average speed of . Support for the venture was provided by the Kansas State Aviation Research (KStAR) Lab.


Salina is located at (38.824267, -97.607205) .

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.8 square miles (59.0 km²), of which, 22.7 square miles (58.9 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.18%) is water.

Salina stands at an elevation of .


Over the course of a year, temperatures range from an average low below in January to an average high of over in July. The maximum temperature reaches an average of 61 days per year and reaches an average of 14 days per year. The minimum temperature falls below the freezing point (32°F) an average of 114 days per year. Typically the first fall freeze occurs between early October and early November, and the last spring freeze occurs during the month of April.

The area receives about 32 inches of precipitation during an average year with the largest share being received in May and June—with a combined 18 days of measurable precipitation. During a typical year the total amount of precipitation may be anywhere from 24 to . There are on average 77 days of measurable precipitation per year. Winter snowfall averages almost 19 inches, but the median is less than . Measurable snowfall occurs an average of 9 days per year with at least an inch of snow being received on seven of those days. Snow depth of at least an inch occurs an average of 27 days per year.

On September 25, 1973 a tornado measuring F3 passed through the southeast part of town injuring 6 people, destroying 2 houses and the Sundowner East trailer park.

On June 11, 2008 another EF3 tornado passed on the south side of the town severely damaging several buildings.

Source: Monthly Station Climate Summaries, 1971-2000, U.S. National Climatic Data Center
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Notes: Temperatures are in degrees Fahrenheit. Precipitation includes rain and melted snow or sleet in inches; median values are provided for precipitation and snowfall because mean averages may be misleading. Mean and median values are for the 30-year period 1971–2000; temperature extremes are for the station's period of record (1952–2001). The station is located at Salina Municipal Airportmarker at 38°49′N 97°40′W, elevation .


Salina's population was estimated to be in the year , .

As of the U.S. Census in 2000, there were 45,679 people, 18,523 households, and 11,873 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,009.6 people per square mile (775.9/km²). There were 19,599 housing units at an average density of 862.2/sq mi (332.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.76% White, 3.57% Black or African American, 0.56% Native American, 1.96% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 3.78% from other races, and 2.32% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.71% of the population.

There were 18,523 households out of which 31.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.8% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 30.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.9% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 95.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,066, and the median income for a family was $45,433. Males had a median income of $31,250 versus $21,944 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,593. About 6.7% of families and 9.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.6% of those under age 18 and 9.2% of those age 65 or over.


Downtown Salina grain elevators
Downtown Salina grain elevator

Agriculture is the predominant industry in Salina, and its grain elevators are visible from miles away.This agrarian emphasis is even reflected in a local Catholic Church, Sacred Heart Cathedral, which is built in white cylindrical shapes intriguingly like grain silos. However, Salina has several other important employers. The city also has a strong manufacturing base. Tony's Pizza, a Schwan Food Company brand, is Salina's largest single employer with over 2000 workers employed. Tony's makes consumer retail frozen pizzas as well as food intended for school cafeterias and other institutions. Additionally, over 500 are employed in factories for Philips Lighting, Exide Battery, Great Plains Manufacturing (farm equipment), ElDorado National (commercial bus manufacturer) and Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (formerly Raytheon Aircraft).

Arts and culture




Kansas State University - Salinamarker, a branch of Kansas State Universitymarker (main campus in Manhattanmarker, Kansasmarker) offers undergraduate degrees in both technology and aviation related fields. (Kansas State University - Salina was previously known as Kansas Technical Institute) K-State Salina is based at Salina Municipal Airport (KSLN). Salina is also home of Kansas Wesleyan University, a private liberal arts college that affiliates itself with the United Methodist Church, Salina Area Technical College, and Brown Mackie College. Enrollment in Salina at each of these institutions is around 800.

Salina has four high schools - two public and two private: Salina High School Central, Salina High School South are public and the two private schools are Sacred Heart Catholic High School and St. John's Military School. Salina also has two middle schools Lakewood Middle School and South Middle School. Total enrollment of the public school system is about 11,000.


The Salina "CityGo" service
is served by one commercial airline at Salina Municipal Airportmarker, but most airtravel is done at larger airports in Wichita, Kansasmarker (ICTmarker) and Kansas City, Missourimarker (MCImarker).

Greyhound buses to Denvermarker and Kansas City along I-70 stop at a dual gas station/ truck stop at the Ninth Street interstate exit. Roughly seven buses in each direction stop at the city daily. In addition to Greyhoud service, OCCK Transportation operates the NCK Express buslines to surrounding cities for a small fee.

Public Transportation in the city is handled by CityGo, a city-subsidised division of OCCK Inc., headquartered in Salina. The service operates three bus routes as well as paratransit services to the general public.



Salina has one daily newspaper, The Salina Journal.


The following radio stations are licensed to Salina:

Frequency Callsign Format Notes
550 KFRMmarker News/Talk Broadcasts from Clay Centermarker
910 KINA News/Talk
1150 KSALmarker News/Talk

Frequency Callsign Format Notes
88.5 KAKAmarker Christian
89.5 KHCDmarker Public Satellite of KHCC-FMmarker, Hutchinson, Kansasmarker
91.7 KCVS Christian
93.7 KYEZmarker Country
96.5 K243BD Contemporary Christian Translator of KJRL-FM, Herington, Kansasmarker
99.9 KSKG Country
104.9 KSAL-FM Classic Hits
107.1 K296FDmarker Christian Translator of KCCV-FMmarker, Olathe, Kansasmarker


Salina is part of the Wichitamarker television market, which covers much of the central and western part of Kansas. Cox Communications is the main cable system serving Salina. The following television stations are licensed to Salina:

Digital Channel Analog Channel Callsign Network Notes
15 K15CNmarker TBN
17 KAAS-TVmarker Fox Satellite of KSAS-TVmarker, Wichita, Kansasmarker
47 KSNL-LD NBC Satellite of KSNWmarker, Wichita, Kansasmarker
51 K51GCmarker ABC Translator of KAKE-TVmarker, Wichita, Kansasmarker

Notable natives and residents

Other topics

In popular culture

  • The 1980 teen comedy film "Up the Academy" was filmed entirely in Salina, mostly on the campus of St. John's Military School,
  • Scenes of the 1955 movie Picnic, starring William Holden and Kim Novak, were filmed in Salina (arrival of the train at the beginning of the movie, The Bensons' mansion)
  • Millie Dillmount, the fictional main character in the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie is from Salina. She leaves home for New York Citymarker, determined never to return, as depicted in the opening number "Not for the Life of Me".
  • In Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 film Vertigo, the character of Judy Barton, played by Kim Novak, comes from Salina.
  • Bluegrass band The Avett Brothers have a song titled "Salina."
  • In Shawn Colvin's song, "Wichita Skyline" (from the 1996 album A Few Small Repairs), she sings "As far as Salina I can get that good station from LaRue / I'm searching the dial while I'm scanning the sky for a patch of blue / And I watch the black clouds roll in, chasing me back again / Back to the flat fine line, the Wichita skyline." (LaRue is in Texas.)
  • The Cowboy Junkies song, "Townes' Blues" (from the 1992 album Black Eyed Man), describes a trip from Boulder, COmarker to Houston, TXmarker through Salina, though Canadian lead singer Margo Timmins uses a pronunciation familiar for Salinas, CAmarker rather than that used in Kansas.
  • The invitational supergroup The Book of Knots have a song entitled Salina on their sophomore album Traineater.
  • Salina, KS was destroyed by the Russian villain in Ted Bell's 2008 novel TSAR.


  1. Annual estimates of the population to . Released . Population change is from to .
  2. Internet Movie Database

External links

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