Gardner in Johnson County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
A Look Back in Time
The Santa Fe Trail stirs the imagination as few other historic trails
Visiting the National Historic Trail Today
The Santa Fe Trail had a significant role in the history of the United States, and in 1987 was designated by Congress as a national historic trail. The National Park Service partners with site owners to preserve the trail and to develop opportunities for visitor use and enjoyment.
The map and photographs here are a sampling of the trail sites you can explore. For maps and further information about the trail, visit:
• Old Castle Museum, Baldwin City
• Kaw Mission, Council Grove
Look for the Santa Fe National Historic Trail official logo, as well as signing for the Auto Tour Route. This automobile tour route parallels the trail via modern highways and provides directional signing to trail sites.
1. Lanesfield School
Built in 1869, this school is the only building that remains of the town of Lanesfield — a mail stop on the Santa Fe Trail. Next to the site is a 78-acre restored prairie where you can cross the path of the trail.
2. Black Jack Ruts and Ivan Boyd Park
Experience ruts of the Santa Fe Trail and get a taste of the prairie environment that the trail traversed by visiting this 18-acre restored prairie. The pre-Civil War Battle of Black Jack also happened here.
3. Samuel Hunt Grave Site
U.S. dragoon Private Samuel Hunt of Kentucky, who died on the Santa Fe Trail in 1835, is buried next to a pullout, on the north side of the highway.
4. Council Grove
This small community is rich with trail history. Many sites can be found in and around town. Stop at the Chamber of Commerce to get a self-guided area tour map. Wayside exhibits at many of the sites, like this one at the Neosho River Crossing, provide trail interpretation.
5. Lost Spring Site
This spring provided Santa Fe Trail travelers with water and a place to camp — some nights accommodating
6. Tampa Cemetery Ruts
Teams and wagons left their mark on the landscape while crossing Muddy Creek. These trail ruts are still clearly visible in the Lutheran Cemetery at Tampa.
7. Cottonwood Crossing
This was one of the more difficult river crossings of the trail, and was noted by most travelers in their journals. It was also a campsite with one of the last sources of wood for westward travelers headed towards the treeless prairie.
8. Marion County Auto Tour
By following these signs along county roads, you can approximate the historic route of the Santa Fe Trail and see many trail remnants and points of interest.
Erected by Santa Fe, Oregon and California National Historic Trails, City of Gardner and National Park Service.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Santa Fe Trail marker series.
Location. 38° 47.786′ N, 94° 57.703′ W. Marker is in Gardner, Kansas, in Johnson County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of U.S. 56 and West 183rd Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. This marker is the rightmost (west) panel of a three-panel marker kiosk near the parking lot at Gardner Junction Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 32505 West 183rd Street, Gardner KS 66030, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers A Look Back in Time (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named A Look Back in Time (here, next to this marker); Eye of the Needle (within shouting distance of this marker); Following Their Dreams (within shouting distance of this marker); Apprehension and Conflict (within shouting distance of this marker); From Prairie Schooners to Locomotives (within shouting distance of this marker); Overland Trails (approx. 1.9 miles away); The Herman B. Foster Home (approx. 1.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gardner.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Gardner Junction: Santa Fe, Oregon, and California Trails
Also see . . .
1. Santa Fe Trail (Wikipedia). The Santa Fe Trail was a 19th-century transportation route through central North America that connected Independence, Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico. Pioneered in 1821 by William Becknell, it served as a vital commercial highway until the introduction of the railroad to Santa Fe in 1880. Santa Fe was near the end of the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, which carried trade from Mexico City. (Submitted on March 24, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Santa Fe Trail Association. In 1821, the Santa Fe Trail became America's first great international commercial highway, and for nearly sixty years thereafter was one of the nation's great routes of adventure and western expansion. (Submitted on March 24, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Roads & Vehicles • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on March 24, 2019. This page originally submitted on March 24, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 63 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 24, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.