Lawrence and the Old Trails ~ Kansas, USA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 39° 01.139 W 095° 08.242
15S E 314962 N 4321056
A great summing up of the trails that crossed and went west from here.
Waymark Code: WMNJ7R
Location: Kansas, United States
Date Posted: 03/22/2015
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member razalas
Views: 9

County of mark: Leavenworth County
location of mark: I--70 (Kansas Turnpike), Milepost 209, service area 6 miles east of Lawrence
Marker erected by: Kansas State Historical Society & Kansas Department of Transportation

Marker text: Between Lawrence and Topeka, the Kansas turnpike passes near the route of the old Oregon ~ California Trail, traveled in the 1800s by explorers, missionaries, soldiers, emigrants in search of land and forty-niners in search of gold. Fifteen miles south of here was the Santa Fe Trail, which for more than 50 years served mainly as a trail of trade and commerce. From the Missouri River it was some 2,000 miles to Oregon and California and around 800 to Santa Fe, following trails established centuries earlier by Native Americans. Tribes living in this area during the 1800s included the Delaware, Kaw, Kickapoo, Shawnee, and Wyandot. Travelers often stopped in Lawrence after its establishment in 1854. The town became famous as a free-state headquarters in the territorial fight over slavery, with some of its more prominent citizens helping to transport slaves to freedom along the underground railroad. Proslavery men responded in 1856 by sacking the town and destroying the newspaper office. Lawrence underwent its greatest trial in 1863 when Confederate guerillas led by William C. Quantrill burned the town and killed more than 150 men and boys. Lawrence soon rebuilt, and today is home to the University of Kansas and the Haskell Indian Nations University.

"Before the Kansas Territory was open to settlers and before Lawrence became a growing frontier city, Native Americans populated the area. Traders and explorers pushed across the rolling prairie along trails like the Oregon and Santa Fe. Native Americans had followed paths between camping and hunting sites, and the paths were later used and expanded by these explorers, trappers, traders, soldiers and settlers.

"Lawrence is situated between the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails. The Oregon Trail ran through what is now the city and University of Kansas campus, while the Santa Fe Trail ran just south of the city, along what are now county roads and farmland. Founded in 1854, Lawrence offered various services and supplies to trail travelers.

"Not long after the discovery of America, Spanish explorers traveled the route that became the Santa Fe Trail. Coronado and his men, seeking gold, were probably first in 1541. French and Spanish traders continued to use the routes through the next centuries. William Becknell, leading a party of American traders, took the first wagons over the route from Missouri to Santa Fe in 1821. The Trail became the first national highway in the West after the government surveyed it in 1825. During the next several decades, large wagons carried freight along the route and commerce flourished.

"Traders were the first to open the Oregon Trail. In 1830, William L. Sublette led the first wagon train to blaze the path. The 81 men planned to rendezvous with fur traders in Wyoming. They followed the Santa Fe Trail, but then turned northward toward what is now Topeka, crossing the Kansas River and continuing westward.

"After 1840 settlers traveled the Oregon Trail, crossing the Rocky Mountains, to take up free land in Oregon. In 1841, Bidwell and Bartelson led 60 men, women and children in 13 wagons. Larger groups followed. Unlike the Santa Fe Trail, this was one-way traffic with lighter wagons that could more easily be pulled over the longer, more rugged route. Government explorers and surveyors, as well as trapping and trading caravans, joined the migrants.

"The Oregon and Santa Fe Trails were two among a network of trails that led west. Routes varied to follow the easiest, rather than the most direct, routes. Mules and oxen pulling the heavy wagons fared better on the relatively flat upland, even though the actual distance they had to travel was greater.

"Trail traffic declined after the Civil War ended in 1865, and railroads rapidly rolled across the Plains. By the 1870s, the wagon trails had become obsolete. Although modern developments have obliterated most physical traces of the trails, wagon ruts are still visible in several locations around Lawrence.

"Follow both of the trails through Lawrence and Douglas County with an award-winning self-guided tour brochure available at the Lawrence Visitor Information Center, North Second and Locust Streets." ~ Lawrence Convention & Visitors Bureau

Who placed it?: Kansas State Historical Society & Kansas Department of Transportation

When was it placed?: 1994

Who is honored?: Emigrants and runaway slaves

Website about the Monument: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:
- Please provide a photo you have taken of the monument or memorial.

- And please write a little about your visit to the site. Tell us what you thought, did you liked it?
Search for... Google Map
Google Maps
Bing Maps
Nearest Waymarks
Nearest Human Migration Monuments
Nearest Geocaches
Create a scavenger hunt using this waymark as the center point
Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log  
gemeloj visited Lawrence and the Old Trails ~ Kansas, USA 09/14/2019 gemeloj visited it
Ourspolaire&Gemeloj visited Lawrence and the Old Trails ~ Kansas, USA 09/14/2019 Ourspolaire&Gemeloj visited it

View all visits/logs