All About Wichita's College Hill Neighborhood
Wichita has a few distinct neighborhoods, and College Hill is arguably one of the most unique. Its convenient location, charming early 20th-century style homes, and annual community events make it an ideal location for families, singles, and empty-nesters alike.
College Hill's History
The area known as College Hill consists of the square mile between Hillside on the west, Central to the north, Oliver to the east, and Kellogg to the south. Originally the land was a section of the Osage Indian Reservation, and it was made available for settlement when Wichita became a city in 1870.
The first homes there were family farms, but during the early 1880s, Wichita’s real estate boom prompted many landowners to plat their lands into suburban housing additions. George O. Merriman platted the Merriman Park Addition, which is the current home of College Hill Park. M.R. Moser platted the College Hill Addition. A college was supposed to be built on Douglas just down the road from Clifton Square, in an area known as College Park. Unfortunately, the Wichita real estate bubble burst in 1887 before the college could be built.
The land in the College Hill area slopes upward to the west and crests to the east, about 75 feet above downtown Wichita. Because much of the western portion of the city was located in a floodplain, College Hill’s slightly higher elevation made it one of the most desirable areas in town. As a result, the neighborhood boasts many grand homes from the early 1900s, when people rushed to build in the area.
Life in College Hill
Today, College Hill is still one of the most sought-after places to live in Wichita. The homes are full of character and charm, and several are on the National Register of Historic Homes. The neighborhood association works to maintain the area’s heritage and to create an active and close-knit community of neighbors.
To that end, the association organizes several events each year, such as a garden and architectural tour, family fun fair, holiday lights trolley tours, an Easter egg hunt, a day for dogs at the community swimming pool, and a neighborhood bike day. There are several unofficial traditions that have become popular with Wichita residents, including Halloween Street, the St. James Oyster Feed, and the garage sale for Victory in the Valley. Most of these events are open to the public, and draw hundreds of people every year.
College Hill is also a great place to play, with a neighborhood school, swimming pool, and park. Runners from all over Wichita know the “College Hill route” is one of the best places in the city to get in some hill work. The neighborhood is also just down the street from the shops and restaurants at Clifton Square, Crown Uptown Theatre, many restaurants, and has easy access to Kellogg.