Road Trip: Salina, KS

We were meeting the rest of the family for dinner in Salina, so we took advantage of the great weather and ventured to the city about 90 minutes straight north of Wichita.

2035 Beechcraft Road

Our first stop was the Round-the-World Flight Monument.

This monument pays tribute to Steve Fossett’s non-stop trip around the world in his GlobalFlyer.

The metal sculpture features an eight foot wide stainless steel globe with a GlobalFlyer crossing over the Atlantic.  It sits atop an eight foot tall map of Fosset’s solo flight around the globe.

The Salina airport was the start and end of Fossett’s flight.  Fossett covered 22,936 miles in his 67 hour flight. 

The monument is part of a plaza dedicated to Fossett who died in a plane crash in 2007.  There are metal plates that tell the story of those involved in the flight and those that brought the plaza to life.  Unfortunately, the etched plates are hard to read in the bright Kansas sun. 

Our next stop was the Strengthen the Arm of Liberty statue.  A miniature Statue of Liberty.  It is one of at least 27 scattered throughout Kansas.  They were part of a Boy Scout project.  To read more about the project and other Kansas locations click here.

Next stop was The Cozy Inn.  It is home to one of the few hamburgers I will eat.  Since 1922, they have been grilling sliders covered in onions on the same grill.  The diner is one of the few six stool diners still standing.

108 N. Seventh Street

In the 1940’s two Salina teens began working at the little diner. Bob Crane (California League and Pacific Coast League) and Bob Swift (St. Louis Browns, Philadephia A’s, and the Detroit Tigers) would go on to become professional baseball players. During the off-season the guys would return home to Salina and cook at the Cozy Inn. 

Presidents and celebrities have eaten at the Cozy Inn, a list of famous visitors can be found in the diner.

You can’t walk by the place without smelling like fried onions and it is totally worth it.   I love that smell.  While we were in the diner. A young man was getting trained in the art of cooking sliders.  Who knows, maybe he’ll be famous someday.

The next two stops focus on Henry David Lee.  He was born in Randolph, Vermont in 1849. After making his fortune in the oil business he moved to Salina due to failing health.  Once established he opened the HD Lee Mercantile Company in 1889.  Within 10 years he was one of the biggest wholesale grocers in the Midwest.

Frustrated with a supplier, in 1911, he started a garment factory in Salina producing overalls, jackets and dungarees.  Lee is credited with creating the zipper fly.

The growth of the company took off after it introduced their jumpsuit in 1913 and their first overalls in 1920.  It was around this time that the Lee Jeans brand was born. Lee would eventually move the business to Kansas City.

This was Lee’s home. It can be found at 200 S. Seventh. Not far from the warehouse.

Lee died on March 15, 1928 at the age of 77.  He is buried at the Gypsum Hill Cemetery in Salina.

Lee’s final resting place. Photo courtesy:

Finally, using as a guide we visited Del’s Mufflers Unlimited. The owner created a statue out of car parts and mufflers. A quick stop to see Happy and we were on our way home.

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