Iola Downtown Square - Atlas Obscura

Iola Downtown Square

Iola, Kansas

It's hip to be square in Iola, home of the largest town square in the United States. 

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Nearing the town of Iola, Kansas, you’ll pass a billboard that reads “Our square is bigger than yours!” In fact, Iola is home to the largest downtown square in the United States, as determined by the local Chamber of Commerce, and the town has aligned its tourism around its big central tract of land.

The downtown square was formalized after the completion of the Allen County Courthouse in 1904, but it wasn’t until recently that the town began to compete for the largest town square title in the country. After discovering that a square in Graham, Texas, had a road running through it, the Chamber of Commerce made the claim, and continues to do so based on the principle that no one has yet challenged them.

The square is two blocks long and two blocks wide. The square grounds include the current Allen County Courthouse, a veteran’s memorial wall, and the clock from the old 1904 courthouse, which chimes every hour. Colorful storefronts ring the square, as do the boyhood home of Gen. Frederick Funston, and the Allen County Historical Museum.

Know Before You Go

The Iola Town Square is free to visit. Visitors who want a guided tour of the town square can contact the Iola Chamber of Commerce to book Fearless Fred, the town trolley.

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