1. Kansas became a state on January 29, 1861, but on December 31, 1862, the state made another significant step in history by adopting a new state constitution. The new constitution abolished slavery and expanded suffrage, granting voting rights to all white males over the age of 21, regardless of property ownership.
2. On December 31, 1887, one of the most significant blizzards in Kansas history hit the state. Known as the "Great Die-Up," the blizzard killed thousands of cattle and caused extensive damage to crops and infrastructure. The storm was so severe that it inspired a federal aid program for farmers and ranchers.
3. In 1923, the first issue of the "Kansas Farmer" magazine was published on December 31. The publication became a leading voice for agriculture in the state, providing information on farming and rural life to Kansans for over 90 years.
4. On December 31, 1937, a fire broke out at the Cooper Scalping Works in Chanute, Kansas. The blaze quickly spread, destroying several buildings and causing widespread damage. Despite the efforts of firefighters from multiple cities, the fire burned for two days before it was finally extinguished.
5. In more recent history, December 31, 2011, marked the end of a significant era for Kansas basketball. The legendary coach, Phog Allen, coached his final game for the Jayhawks on New Year's Eve, 1956. On the same date in 2011, the Jayhawks extended their home winning streak to 47 games, breaking the previous record set by Allen's teams in the 1920s and 30s.
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