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Olathe in Johnson County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

A Most Desirable Spot For Camping

 
 
A Most Desirable Spot For Camping Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., August 12, 2010
1. A Most Desirable Spot For Camping Marker
Inscription.
The Lone Elm Campground
The land here at Lone Elm met the three requirements for a stopover for travelers on the trail...wood, water, and grass. Wood for campfires and wagon repairs, water for the support of people and animals, and grass for the grazing of substantial numbers of livestock, horses, mules and oxen that might travel with any wagon train.

Frontier trail campgrounds along waterways tended to be linear, running along the creek or stream. Lone Elm was no exception, as travelers staked out pieces of ground up and down this branch of Cedar Creek, which bisects the property from northwest to southeast.

On any evening in the 1840's this campground might have reflected a variety of travelers on the trail...traders bound for Santa Fe, families of emigrants bound for the West, mountain men, missionaries, entrepreneurs and opportunists...the famous and the unknown.

By the late 1840's one of Lone Elm's attributes...wood...was in short supply as the famous lone elm tree itself was the sole remnant of the grove.

"This was a most desirable spot for camping, as wood, grass, and a running, limpid stream were close at hand......We encamped at the "Lone Elm" in the midst of a hard rain which poured on us the entire day; and, the wagons being full of goods and we without tents, a cheerless,
Drawing on Desirable Spot For Camping Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., August 12, 2010
2. Drawing on Desirable Spot For Camping Marker
[Caption reads] The illustration (right) was drawn by William Fairholme in 1840. The campground was originally known as Round Grove. By 1849 there was only one tree left, the great "Lone Elm". The May 18, 1849 journal entry of D. Jagger (far right) illustrates the famous tree shortly before its demise.
shilling, soaking, wet night was the consequence. As the water penetrated, successively, my blankets, coat, and shirt, and made its way down my back, a cold shudder came over me; in the gray foggy morning a more pitiable set of hungry, shaking wretches were never seen. Oh! but it was hard on the poor greenhorns."
- Lewis H. Garrand

Excerpt from the journal of 17 year old Lewis Garrand, while camping at Lone Elm on September 16th, 1846.

The Lone Elm Tree
The Lone Elm tree was the survivor of what had been in the 1820's a substantial body of trees, likely all elms, known as Round Grove to Santa Fe Trail travelers. Over a period of two decades Round Grove was consumed for campsite firewood, leaving one huge elm tree, which also succumbed in 1849.

The Lone Elm's singular position alone on the prairie, a sentinel against the backdrop of the western sky, left its impression on many trail travelers.....

"At Lone-Elm tree we halted at noon.......How long the venerable elm tree, that must have seen many ages, will yet be respected by the traveler, I am unable to say; but I fear that its days are numbered, and that the little valley will look more desolate than ever."
Dr. Frederick A. Wislizenus - May 23, 1846

"There is no other tree or bush or shrub save one Elm tree, which stands on a small elevation near
Journal Entry on Desirable Spot For Camping Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., August 12, 2010
3. Journal Entry on Desirable Spot For Camping Marker
Sketch of Lone Elm before its demise.
the little creek or branch. The travelers always stop where there is water sufficient for all their animals. The grass is fine every place, it is so tall in some places as to conceal a man's waist."
Susan Shelby Magoffin - June 11, 1846



 
Erected by City of Olathe.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Oregon Trail, and the Santa Fe Trail marker series.
 
Location. 38° 49.349′ N, 94° 49.816′ W. Marker is in Olathe, Kansas, in Johnson County. Click for map. Marker is about 45 feet SE of the picnic shelter in Lone Elm Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 21151 West 167th Street, Olathe KS 66062, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Roads To The West (here, next to this marker); The Travelers (here, next to this marker); Trail Campground..To Farm..To Park (here, next to this marker); Lone Elm Park (a few steps from this marker); Trails West (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lone Elm Campground (about 600 feet away); Santa Fe Trail (approx. 0.3 miles away); Elm Grove Campground (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Olathe.
 
Also see . . .
1. Lone Elm Park. (Submitted on August 13, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
A Most Desirable Spot For Camping Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., August 12, 2010
4. A Most Desirable Spot For Camping Marker
Second from left.

2. Santa Fe National Historic Trail. (Submitted on August 13, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Oregon-California Trails Association. (Submitted on August 13, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. Santa Fe Trail Association. (Submitted on August 13, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
5. The Interactive Santa Fe Trail. (Submitted on August 13, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Categories. ExplorationIndustry & CommerceRoads & VehiclesSettlements & Settlers
 
Lone Elm Park Shelter and Markers image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr.
5. Lone Elm Park Shelter and Markers
Lone Elm Park Street Light and Sign image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr.
6. Lone Elm Park Street Light and Sign
Lone Elm Park Sign image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr.
7. Lone Elm Park Sign
On streetlight poles.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 866 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.   5, 6, 7. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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