Barbed Wire Collection – Bonner Springs, Kansas - Atlas Obscura

Barbed Wire Collection

National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame
Bonner Springs, Kansas

Hundreds of samples of "Devil's Rope" hide in a defunct vintage elevator. 


Tucked away in a building of the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame is a repurposed vintage elevator filled floor to ceiling with strands of “Devil’s Rope.”

The National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame opened in 1965 after being chartered by Congress and signed into existence by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. This campus was tasked with preserving the history of American Agriculture, educating the public on agricultural practices, honoring those who have shaped the industry, and showcasing the future of the field. 

This elevator was installed as part of the original Hall of Fame building in 1965. The lift was closed in the early 1970s and converted into two exhibits on the first and second floors. The lower floor exhibit has since been closed, leaving the barbed wire exhibit on the upper floor as the sole occupant of the defunct elevator. 

There are well over 2,000 types of barbed wire, also known as Devil’s Rope. This exhibit showcases 500 samples and over 100 years of iteration and evolution of the invention that tamed the West. The “Barbed Wire Capitol of the World” is located in LaCrosse, Kansas, roughly four hours from the Agricultural Center in Bonner Springs.

The Devil’s Rope exhibit represents not only the history of barbed wire and how it tamed the wild west, but also the history of the National Agricultural Center in a unique and unexpected way. This elevator shaft showcase truly is a testament to ingenuity and reinvention in American Agriculture. 

Know Before You Go

This exhibit is located in the main museum of the Agricultural Center. The entrance is reached from the roundabout driveway behind the Farmers' Memorial Dome.

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September 24, 2019

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