Salina is a city and the county seat of Saline County, Kansas, United States. First settled by Preston B. Plum in 1856 along the Saline and Smoky Hill Rivers, and founded by William A. Phillips in 1858, Salina is situated at the intersection of Interstate Highways I-70 and I-135 in central Kansas. The population was 45,679 at the 2000 census. Recent population counts put the population at around 50,000 people.
In 1860 Salina, the westernmost post on the Smoky Hill Trail, began to establish itself as a staging post for prospectors traveling to Pikes Peak, as well as a trading post between local native tribes, and Fort Leavenworth. After the Civil War, Phillips, then a colonel, used his influence to extend the Union Pacific Railroad to Salina in 1867. Starting in 1872, Salina began transporting meat shipped in refrigerated cars down the rails. During the 1870's, wheat became the dominant crop in Salina and a steam-powered flour mill was built. At the same time Dr. E. R. Switzer, of Salina, introduced alfalfa to Kansas farmers.
During World War II Salina's air field was one of several notable B-29 training bases. The exponential growth of the 1950s of Salina was related largely to the re-opening of Smoky Hill Air Force Base, later renamed to Schilling Air Force Base, which was closed in 1965 by the Department of Defense. As Schilling AFB, it was home to the Strategic Air Command's 40th and 310th Bomb Wings of the 802nd Air Division between 1952 and 1960, flying B-47 Stratojets and KC-97 Stratotankers; to the 310th Strategic Aerospace Wing between 1960 and 1962; and between 1962 and 1965, to the 22nd Strategic Aerospace Division, controlling the 310th SAW and the Atlas ICBM missile silos of the 550th Strategic Missile Squadron.
On February 28, 2005, the city was home to the "Last Great Aviation Record" when Steve Fossett took off from the Salina Airport in the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, to attempt the first solo, non-stop, non-refueled aerial circumnavigation of the globe by airplane. Fossett completed the record-breaking flight on March 3, 2005 when he landed back in Salina after 67 hours, 1 minute and 10 seconds, at an average speed of 342.2 mph. Support for the venture was provided by the Kansas State Aviation Research (KStAR) Lab.
Predictably, agriculture is the predominant industry in Salina, and its grain elevators are visible from miles away. This agrarian emphasis is even reflected in a local Catholic Church, Sacred Heart Cathedral, which is built in white cylindrical shapes intriguingly like grain silos. However, Salina has several other important employers. The city also has a strong manufacturing base. Tony's Pizza, a Schwan Food Company brand, is Salina's largest single employer with over 2000 workers employed. Tony's makes consumer retail frozen pizzas as well as food intended for school cafeterias and other institutions. Additionally, over 500 are employed in factories for Philips Lighting, Exide Battery, Great Plains Manufacturing (farm equipment), and Raytheon Aircraft.
The city has a local daily newspaper, The Salina Journal, several radio stations; 99.9FM KSKG, 910AM KINA, 92.7FM KILS, 95.5FM KQNS, Y93.7 KYEZ, 1150AM KSAL and 104.9FM KZBZ, though no local television news. However, they use KWCH Wichita's custom weather forecast system. Salina is also served by 89.5 FM KHCD, a repeater station for the NPR-affiliated Radio Kansas network.
Salina is served by one commercial airline at Salina Municipal Airport, but most airtravel is done at larger airports in Wichita, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.
Courtesy of Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salina,_Kansas