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Historic Trails in Kansas

Ford County SFT Ruts (NHL)


What is the Trails Project?

The National Trails System of the National Park
Service has partnered with the Kansas Historical Society to document historic resources along the historic Santa Fe, Oregon, and Pony Express trails in the state.  These resources include, among other things, trail segments, campsites, and crossings.  The documentation and evaluation of these sites will help determine potential eligibility for inclusion within the National Register of Historic Places under the Historic Resources of the Santa Fe Trail thematic nomination currently being amended by staff.  At least 45 properties may be nominated as part of this project.

Who is researching properties and preparing the nominations?

The staff of the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) at the Kansas Historical Society is visiting and researching sites and preparing the nominations in partnership with property owners, trail associations, and the National Park Service.  Once a nomination has been prepared and reviewed by all involved partners, the Kansas Historic Sites Board of Review will consider it.  The board is a governor-appointed group of 11 professionals from various fields that must approve the staff's recommendations before the nominations can be forwarded to the National Register office in Washington, D.C. for final consideration and registration.

What is the role of property owners in the nomination process, and must a registered property be made available to the public?

We welcome and encourage the participation of property owners during the process of documentation and nomination.  Owners of archeological and trail-related sites are often concerned about limiting public access, and they are not required to publicize or make available to the public their property.  During the nomination process, staff inquires of property owners if they wish to have documentation about their property restricted from public access.  A property will not be nominated to the National Register if the owner objects.

Are there laws related to properties listed in the National Register?

Our state's preservation law (KSA 75-2715 - 75-2726) requires the SHPO be given opportunity to comment on proposed projects affecting registered historic properties.  Properties listed in the register, or those properties within 1000 feet of the boundaries of properties within unincorporated limits of a county (500 feet of the boundaries of a registered property within the corporate limits of a city) are subject to comment.  No provision of this law can restrict the agricultural use of any land used for agricultural purposes.

How do I notify the SHPO of a historic trail-related resource?

We are always interested to learn of sites related to one of the three historic trails in Kansas!  Contact Amanda Loughlin, Survey Coordinator, at (785)272-8681 or survey@kshs.org.





For more information on these sites, see the Register Database.
Those sites with an asterisk (*) indicate properties that have been listed in the Register of Historic Kansas Places and are awaiting listing in the National Register.

Santa Fe Trail Sites

Leavenworth County:
- Fort Leavenworth

Johnson County:
- JB Mahaffie House (Olathe)
- Lone Elm Campground Swale (Olathe)*

Douglas County:
- Santa Fe Trail - Douglas County Trail Segments (Black Jack vicinity)
- Trail Park DAR Marker (Baldwin City)

Osage County:
- Samuel Hunt Grave (Burlingame vicinity)
- Havana Stage Station (Burlingame vicinity) - State Register only

Morris County:
- Council Grove's Santa Fe Trail-related National Historic Landmark
- Diamond Spring (Wilsey vicinity)
- Last Chance Store (Council Grove)
- Six Mile Creek Stage Station Historic District (Burdick vicinity)

Marion County:
- Lost Spring (Lost Springs vicinity)
- Santa Fe Trail - Marion County Trail Segments/Durham Ruts (Durham vicinity)
- French Frank's Santa Fe Trail Segment (Lehigh vicinity)

Rice County:
- Santa Fe Trail - Rice County Segment 1/Ralph's Ruts (Chase vicinity)
- Kern's Ruts (addendum to Ralph's Ruts)
- Station Little Arkansas/Camp Grierson (Windom vicinity)
- Santa Fe Trail - Rice County Segment 2/Fry's Ruts (Little River vicinity)
- Santa Fe Trail - Rice County Segment 3/Swanson's Swales (Windom vicinity)

Barton County:
- Pawnee Rock (Pawnee Rock)
- Walnut Creek Crossing/Allison-Booth Ranch/Fort Zarah (Great Bend vicinity)

Pawnee County:
- Fort Larned National Historic Landmark (Larned)
- Coon Creek Wet Route Crossing (Garfield vicinity)
- Pawnee Fork Dry Route Crossing & Boyd's Ranch Site (Larned vicinity)

Ford County:
- Santa Fe Trail Remains National Historic Landmark (Dodge City)
- Fowler's Ruts at the "Black Pool" (Ford vicinity)
- Sawlog Creek Crossing on the Ft. Hays-Ft. Dodge Road (Spearville vicinity)

Finney County:
- Finney County Point of Rocks (Pierceville vicinity)

Grant County:
- Lower Cimarron Spring National Historic Landmark (Ulysses vicinity)
- Joyce Ruts (addendum to Lower Cimarron Spring)
- Santa Fe Trail - Grant County Segment 1/Klein's Ruts (Ulysses vicinty)

Morton County:
- Point of Rocks-Middle Spring Santa Fe Trail Historic District (Elkhart vicinity)
- Cimarron National Grassland Segments 1-5 (Elkhart & Wilburton vicinities)

Kearny County:
- Charlie's Ruts (Deerfield vicinity)
- Indian Mound (Lakin vicinity)

Hamilton County:
- Fort Aubrey (Syracuse vicinity)

Oregon & California and Pony Express Trails

Johnson County:
- Lone Elm Campground Swale (Olathe)*

Douglas County:
- Upper Wakarusa River Crossing (Lawrence vicinity)

Pottawatomie County:
- Vermillion Creek Crossing/Louis Vieux Ford and Cemetery (Belvue vicinity)
- Scott Spring (Westmoreland vicinity)

Marshall County:
- Alcove Spring (Blue Rapids vicinity) - boundary expansion
- Pony Express Barn (Marysville)
- Pacha Ruts (Bremen vicinity)

Washington County:
- Hollenburg Pony Express Station National Historic Landmark (Hanover)


KSHS staff was tasked with amending & updating the current "Historic Resources of the Santa Fe Trail" multiple property nomination.  This amendment has been approved by the equivalent of the Historic Sites Boards of Review in each of the five states through which the trail passed: Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and New Mexico. The document was approved by the National Register of Historic Places in April 2013.

The amended Historic Resources of the Santa Fe Trail is available for reference by visiting the Thematic Nominations webpage.