Caldwell, Kansas: Ornate Box Turtle Capital of the WorldIf you want to see bland, everyday box turtles, go somewhere else. Look for the wall mural on Main St.
Visitor Tips and News About Ornate Box Turtle Capital of the World
I saw a post on Facebook to celebrate April 14 as the day the ornate box turtle became the Kansas state reptile. I always celebrate that day and I live in Caldwell, the Ornate Box Turtle Capital of the World! Some posts here say the turtle is not celebrated any more. It is true that we have people in our town that hate turtles, but they hate anything they is not football or some other stupid sport. All little towns have those people. Many of us do celebrate our turtle history -- and we love it that a group of grade school students and their teacher are responsible for making the turtle the state reptile and Caldwell the turtle capital.[Misty M. Subera, 04/24/2014]
My family loves box turtles and other animals, so we got off the turnpike at South Haven and drove to Caldwell to see what the town had to offer. We were disappointed to find not a thing at any of the stores in Caldwell. One old man said his daughter was in the turtle class that made the turtle the State Reptile and made the mayor sign the bill to name Caldwell the Ornate Box Turtle Capital of the World. He said no one really wants Caldwell to be know for a turtle anymore, but there are turtles to be found in the country when it is warm outdoors. Do not waste your time going to Caldwell.
There is nothing there worth seeing and nothing to do.[Johanath Olin, 12/23/2013]
Sounds like Caldwell didn't recognize a good thing when it had it. Perhaps some other, more appreciative, town will take on the turtle title.
My family drove through Caldwell during Christmas vacation, 2012. The town has a museum that we were told had the history of the turtle, but it was closed. A man at a convenience store told us that the town seldom had big celebrations like it did back in the 1980s and 1990s. He said that most of those that wanted to make Caldwell an attraction because of the turtle no longer plan such events. A woman at the same store told us (once the man had left) that some of the townspeople were afraid the turtle would become more popular than the town's Old West history, and did not want that to happen. We found that strange. We did not see any live turtles![John Sakan Family, 01/31/2013]
Winter is probably not the best season to look for turtles in Kansas, but the fact that your family did so may knock some sense into the town. There are lots of Old West travel destinations, but only one Ornate Box Turtle Capital of the World.
The last time I was in Caldwell, Kansas the beautiful painting of the Ornate Box Turtle was still on the side of a building on Main Street. The town has two museums which have a variety of interesting items in regard to the town, including information about the turtle.[Larry L. Miller, 01/28/2009]
The Ornate Box Turtle Capital of the World is far from dead! Caldwell, Kansas is very proud of its history, and part of that history is the fame it has gained by being known as the ORNATE BOX TURTLE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD since 1986.
The town has a lot of wild west history too! I was told that at one time in the 1870's this wild cow town had more prostitutes per capita than anywhere else on earth! Fights and gunfights often took place on the streets of Caldwell. Two museums in town document the history. They are open by appointment. A man by the name of Carson Ward is one that can show people the museums and answer many questions about the turtle and the wild history of the town. Just about anyone in town is willing to answer questions and assist those wanting to know more about the town's history.[sarah, 07/06/2008]