Hays, city (1990 pop. 17,767), seat of Ellis co., W central Kans.; inc. 1885. It is a rail, trade, and medical center in a grain, cattle, and oil area. Manufactures include electronic equipment, plastics, feeds, medical supplies, aircraft, and motorcycles. Fort Hays was established (1865) 14 mi (23 km) southeast of the city, on a stagecoach road to Denver. The fort was abandoned in 1889 and the land turned over to the state with the understanding that it be used for a school, an agricultural experiment station, and a state park. The school has grown into Fort Hays Kansas State Univ.; the agricultural experiment station (laid out 1901) is one of the world's largest; and Frontier Historical Park, a state historic site, contains the fort's surviving buildings.
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