Olathe in Johnson County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
A Most Desirable Spot For Camping
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
- 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
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 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.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Exploration • Industry & Commerce • Roads & Vehicles • Settlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Oregon Trail, and the Santa Fe Trail series lists.
Location. 38° 49.349′ N, 94° 49.816′ W. Marker is in Olathe, Kansas, in Johnson County. Marker is about 45 feet SE of the picnic shelter in Lone Elm Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 21151 West 167th Street, Olathe KS 66062, United States of America. Touch for directions.
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 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). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Olathe.
Also see . . .
1. Lone Elm Park. (Submitted on August 13, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
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.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 13, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 1,008 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 13, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. 5, 6, 7. submitted on August 12, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.