The site of the City of WaKeeney was selected in 1877 and surveyed and plotted in 1878 by Warren, Keeney & Co., a Chicago land firm. The city's unusual name was formed by the contraction of the owners' last names -- hence WaKeeney. They had grand plans for WaKeeney, "the Queen City of the High Plains."
The WaKeeney City Building was constructed of native stone by the New Deal's Work Project Administration (WPA) in 1937. After it was built, it became the center for many of the city's activities, from ballgames to dances. Besides the auditorium with a basketball court, the building also housed the city offices, which are still located there today, as well as a meeting room, the city library and the soil conservation office.
Extensive remodeling was done to the front part of the building and it now houses the City Offices as well as the City Council Chambers and a meeting room. In the back, the old auditorium is now used to house all the city trucks and equipment.
WaKeeney City Building is found along the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway. Named for their hazy, blue appearance at sunrise and sunset, the Smoky Hills divide the more easterly mixed-grass prairie from the shortgrass prairie of the Western Great Plains. The Smoky Valley Scenic Byway travels through the Smoky Hill River Valley, a showplace of native grasses and wildflowers. Purple and bright-yellow coneflowers species, red-and-yellow Indian blanket flower, sky-blue pitcher sage, and cream-flowered yucca mix with big and little bluestem and grama grasses. Croplands provide additional color washes of emerald-green winter wheat in early spring and russet, ripened milo in autumn. Rock outcroppings hint at the foundation underlying the landscape - chalky limestone left by ancient seas. Take a look at the other sights you can see along the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway here.