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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Cheyenne Wells in Cheyenne County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Trails West

 
 
Trails West Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, September 22, 2014
1. Trails West Marker
Inscription. Smoky Hill Trail
The Smoky Hill Trail was the most direct route to Denver and the goldfields of the central Rockies. Immigrants heading west through central Kansas followed the Kansas River, then headed up its Smoky Hill River branch into the high plains of eastern Colorado. Here, the Smoky Hill River ended. Immigrants then turned northwest to Denver over the high, dry rolling prairie country. It was a tough stretch. A Denver newspaper called those who dared it "foolhardy and insane." With full-scale Indian-white wars of the mid-1860s, the trail was extremely dangerous. Still, the Butterfield Overland Stage served the route, and later the Kansas Pacific Railroad built along the trail's ruts.

Cheyenne Wells Stage Stop
Bayard Taylor, a famed adventurer and writer, traveled by stagecoach on the Smoky Hill Trail in the summer of 1866. This is his report of conditions at the Butterfield stage stop at Cheyenne Wells, Colorado: "We found a large and handsome frame stable for the mules, but no dwelling. The people lived in a natural cave, extending for some thirty feet under the bluff. But there was a woman, and when we saw her we augured good fortunes. Truly enough, under the roof of conglomerate limestone, in the cave's dim twilight, we sat down to antelope steak, tomatoes, bread, pickles, and potatoes--a
Smoky Hill Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, September 22, 2014
2. Smoky Hill Trail Marker
1939 Bronze Marker for Smoky Hill Trail is missing.
royal meal, after two days of detestable fare."
 
Erected 1997 by Colorado Historical Society. (Marker Number 207.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the History Colorado marker series.
 
Location. 38° 48.757′ N, 102° 28.133′ W. Marker is near Cheyenne Wells, Colorado, in Cheyenne County. Marker is on U.S. 40 at milepost 463.5, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Cheyenne Wells CO 80810, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 1 other marker is within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Cheyenne County Jail (approx. 6.4 miles away).
 
Also see . . .  Smoky Hills Trail History. Kansas Historical Trails' page for the Smoky Hills Trail. On the Butterfield Overland Dispatch: Col. David A. Butterfield established a stage line, the Butterfield Overland Dispatch, to carry freight and passengers from Atchison, Kansas to Denver, Colorado. It traveled the 592 mile long Smoky Hill Route during the line's existence (June 1865 - August 18, 1870). Relay stations were built every twelve miles for the passenger's comfort. The stage line was sold in 1866 to Ben Holladay. Ben Holladay sold out in 1866 to Wells, Fargo and Company.
Trails West Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, September 22, 2014
3. Trails West Marker
The stage line grew shorter as the Kansas Pacific Railroad moved toward Denver, and in 1870 the stage line was no longer needed. The coming of the railroad marked the end of the stagecoach era in American history.
(Submitted on October 12, 2014.) 
 
Categories. Roads & Vehicles
 
Smoky Hill Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, September 22, 2014
4. Smoky Hill Trail Marker
1939 Bronze Marker for Smoky Hill Trail is missing.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 12, 2014, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 452 times since then and 77 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 12, 2014, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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