Goessel students attend school in the Goessel Unified School District 411. Total enrollment for USD 411 as of 2015 is 267. Students can participate in a variety of activities including FFA, FCCLA and Scholar’s Bowl.
Goessel is home to 517 (2013) residents. Goessel offers a great education for students and a small community atmosphere. The surrounding area offers many attractions including the Heritage Mennonite Church Museum, Kansas Cosmosphere Space Center and the Sedgwick County Zoo.
Goessel is located west of highway KS-15. McPherson is 30 minutes away and downtown Wichita is less than 45 minutes from Goessel. Newton is a quick 20 minute commute.
Goessel Local Attractions/Activities
Goessel is home to two churches; the Goessel Mennonite Church and Chisolm Trail Bible Church. The Branding Iron Café offers great down-home cooking. Surrounding towns like Hutchinson and Wichita offer many attractions including the Kansas Cosmosphere Space Center and Sedgwick County Zoo.
Heritage Mennonite Church Museum
The Museum is a living tribute to the people who settled in what is now the Goessel community. It tells the story of Low-German Mennonite families who left the steppes of Russia for religious freedom in 1874 and chose the Kansas prairie for their new home.
Dedicated in 1974, the Museum complex was established to preserve the memory of ancestors and the artifacts from early households, farms, schools, churches and the hospital in the Mennonite community.
(Source- Heritage Mennonite Church Museum-www.goesselmuseum.com)
Sedgwick County Zoo
Sedgwick County Zoo, located in Northwest Wichita, was established by the volunteer efforts of civic-minded citizens who formed the Sedgwick County Zoological Society in 1963, many years before the Zoo would take shape. When the American and Asian farms opened as the only exhibits in 1971, families were pleased, but they had little idea of the great things that were in store. Now gorillas, penguins and tigers inspire more than 500,000 guests annually. Enjoy the array of exhibits year-round! The Zoo is open 364 days a year.
Kansas Cosmosphere Space Center
What is now one of the world’s premier space museums was once the dream of a Hutchinson civic leader, Patricia Brooks Carey. Her vision to create one of the first public planetariums in the central United States had humble beginnings. In 1962, the Hutchinson Planetarium opened inside the Poultry Building on the Kansas State Fairgrounds with a used star projector and rented folding chairs.
Four years later, the Hutchinson Planetarium relocated to the campus of Hutchinson Community College, in what today houses Dr. Goddard’s Lab.
In 1976, Carey and the Hutchinson Planetarium’s board of directors began planning to significantly expand the facility. They sought the advice of former employee Max Ary, who had worked for the planetarium while going to college. Ary was the director of Ft. Worth’s Noble Planetarium at the time and happened to be serving on a Smithsonian committee that placed tens of thousands of space artifacts in museums after the Apollo program concluded.
So the Cosmosphere was in the right place at the right time.
Launched as the Kansas Cosmosphere and Discover Center in 1980, the new facility featured permanent exhibit galleries in the Hall of Space Museum, one of the first OMNIMAX theaters in the world and the planetarium that started it all.
In 1997, the facility was further renovated and expanded to its present size, 105,000 square feet, nearly tripling the area devoted to the Hall of Space Museum. Today the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center is one of the most comprehensive space museums in the world and one of the leading educational tourist attractions in the United States.
(Source- Kansas Cosmosphere Space Center-www.cosmo.org)
The area where the present day Goessel, KS is located, was not originally named Goessel. In 1874 a large migration of German Mennonites from Russia, settled in Central Kansas. Those in this area settled in a pattern of villages similar to their home in Russia. The settlement now named Goessel, was first a village called Gnadenfeld. However, it was years before a trading center developed. The Mennonite Brethren congregation built a church in 1890, the first public structure there. One of the first businesses, a creamery station, opened around 1890, and a blacksmith shop opened in 1894.
In early 1895, Dr. Peter Richert was looking to establish a hospital in the place that is now Goessel, KS. He first needed a Post Office to receive shipments of medicines and supplies. He also needed a name for the Post Office. Oral tradition states that he sent in the name "West Branch" as this was the name of the township. It was supposedly rejected because the Postal Department did not want any more names with North, East, South or West.
About the same time, January 30, 1895, the North German Lloyd steamship "Elbe" was passing through the English Channel when rammed by another ship at 5:00 a. m. It sank in 20 minutes, with 22 half-frozen survivors making it to safety in one lifeboat, while 350 people drowned. Through this scene of terror, Captain Kurt Von Goessel calmly gave orders, and finally, saluted as he went down with his ship.
The story made worldwide news instantly, and was covered on the front page of the New York Times on Jan. 31. Yacht clubs around the world flew flags at half-mast. Since the Captain's ship made regular runs from Germany to New York, he had American acquaintances, including the music composer S. B. Mills, who wrote a piano march titled "Elbiata" in his honor. He was described as having impeccable character and highly respected in national circles, since he had won medals for heroic rescues at sea. He left behind a wife and children.
Back in Kansas, Dr. Richert read the story of the captain. Because of the world-wide significance of the story, and heroic nature of the captain, Dr. Richert sent in the name "Goessel". It was accepted by the U. S. Postal Department in a charter dated April 13, 1895.
In 1898 the Bethesda Hospital Society was formed, the first Mennonite Hospital in North America. It continues today in the form of the Bethesda Home.
On June 6, 1906, at about 6 o'clock in the evening, a tornado passed down Main Street, destroying about 3/4 of the town. This tornado became known, at that time, as the "Four Sixes Tornado ". (Sixth month, sixth day of the month, year 1906, and at about 6 in the evening). In 1906 the first Goessel Preparatory School building was being built, (as a school for continuing education), for the area students that had finished eight grades in the rural one-room schools. The building was destroyed and then rebuilt. It operated until 1925. The next year the Goessel Public High School was established and it continues today.
The downtown business district continued to develop over the years with different stores, small restaurants and business establishments. Some that have been more notable were the Franz store, (operating until the 1940's), the Klassen Mill, (1906-1919), several service stations, car dealers, garages, banks and Crossroads Cooperative. In operation today are Keith's Foods, The Goessel Station and the Branding Iron cafe.
(Source- City of Goessel-www.goesselks.com)