The long struggling Kansas Sports Hall of Fame will open at the Chisholm Trail Outlet and Retail Stores Jan. 4 after being in Topeka, Lawrence, Abilene and Wichita.


The long struggling Kansas Sports Hall of Fame will open at the Chisholm Trail Outlet and Retail Stores Jan. 4 after being in Topeka, Lawrence, Abilene and Wichita.

The hall will be in a 21,000-square foot facility that includes displays, a gift shop and a conference room. An additional facility will be operated at the Wichita Boathouse, which is smaller.

Both the hall and the shopping center have seen ups and downs.

While a state entity set up for the Kansas Centennial in 1961, the hall always has received limited funding from the state.

The hallís activities were once partially funded by a voluntary $1-per ticket surcharge for one home football game from the state universities, but that surcharge was dropped several years ago because of protests from the athletic departments of the schools involved.

The state legislature nearly intervened to make the surcharge mandatory, extending it to one menís and womenís basketball game per year, along with a single baseball game for Wichita State, which has no football, but opposition from the state schools killed the measure.

The hallís first exhibits were at the Mid-America Fairgrounds in Topeka. It moved to the Watkins Museum in Lawrence in 1972. It moved to Abilene in 1991 and in Wichita in 2003.

There are 190 individuals enshrined in the hall. Members are inducted each fall.

The Chisholm Trail Center began in 1995 as the Newton Factory Outlet Stores to great fanfare, including a Johnny Cash concert at its grand opening. The shopping center never reached full capacity with outlets opening and closing with regularity. It was sold in 2006 and became the Chisholm Trail Center, which de-emphasized outlet stores.

Current tenants include a martial arts studio, a sports bar and restaurant, a movie theater complex and several retail stores.