Northeast Kansas Historical Markers

Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

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Map of Northeast Kansas Historical Markers

Topics (click on a topic to jump to that section)
Atchison | Baldwin | Battle of Black Jack | John Brown Country | Delaware Crossing | Battle of Hickory Point | Capital of Kansas | Gateway to Kansas | Lane Trail | Lawrence | Leavenworth | Fort Leavenworth Markers | Marais des Cygnes Massacre | Battle of Mine Creek | Overland Trails | Shawnee Friends Mission | Battle of the Spurs

Marker Topic: Atchison
Address: Roadside turnout, east of US-73 junction
County: Atchison
Marker Text: On July 4, 1804, Lewis and Clark exploring the new Louisiana Purchase, camped near this site. Fifty years later the town was founded by proslavery men and named for Senator D. R. Atchison.


Marker Topic: Baldwin
Address: US-56, Roadside turnout, .5 miles east of Baldwin City
City: Baldwin City
County: Douglas
Marker Text: Here, and for the next 300 miles west, Highway 56 roughly follows the old Santa Fe Trail, and frequently crosses it. White settlement began in this area in 1854, the year Kansas became a territory, and in 1855 the town of Palmyra was founded. When Baker University was established on the outskirts in 1858 a new town sprang up.

Battle of Black Jack

Marker Topic: Battle of Black Jack
Address: US-56, Roadside turnout, 2 miles east of Baldwin City
City: Baldwin City
County: Douglas
Marker Text: This "battle" was part of the struggle to make Kansas a free state. In May 1856, proslavery men destroyed buildings and newspaper presses in Lawrence, free-state headquarters. John Brown's company then killed five proslavery men on Pottawatomie Creek not far from this spot.

John Brown Country

Marker Topic: John Brown Country
Address: US-169, Roadside, Sixth and Lincoln Avenue
City: Osawatomie
County: Miami
Marker Text:

State Historic Site

Osawatomie - the name derives from a combination of Osage and Pottawatomie - was settled in 1854 by Free-State families from the Ohio Valley and New England. John Brown, soon to become famous for his militant abolitionism, joined five of his sons at their homes near the new town in October 1855. By the spring of 1856, local defiance of proslavery laws and officials was so notorious that 170 Missourians "punished" the area by looting Osawatomie.

Delaware Crossing and the Grinter Ferry

Marker Topic: Delaware Crossing and the Grinter Ferry
Address: Roadside turnout, east of I-435 Interchange
County: Wyandotte
Marker Text:

State Historic Site

Just east of this marker, at a point where an old Indian trail led to the water's edge, Moses Grinter established the first ferry on the Kansas River. The year was 1831, and Grinter became the earliest permanent white settler in the area. His ferry was used extensively by travelers over the Fort Leavenworth-Fort Scott military road, and by traders, freighters and soldiers traveling between the forts or to Santa Fe. This place was known as Military or Delaware Crossing, and sometimes as Secondine, and here the first non-military post office in Kansas was established on September 10, 1850.

Battle of Hickory Point (2 locations)

Marker Topic: Battle of Hickory Point
Address: Roadside turnout, 5 miles north of Oskaloosa, US-59
City: Dunavet
County: Jefferson
Marker Text: In September 1856, a band of proslavery men sacked Grasshopper Falls ( Valley Falls ) and terrorized the vicinity. On the 13th, the Free-State leader James H. Lane with a small company besieged a party of raiders in log buildings at Hickory Point, about one-half mile west of this marker.

Capital of Kansas

Marker Topic: Capital of Kansas
Address: US-75 Roadside turnout, 37th Street and South Topeka Avenue
City: Topeka
County: Shawnee
Marker Text: Topeka was founded in 1854 at the site of Papan's Ferry where a branch of the Oregon Trail crossed the Kansas River as early as 1842. Anti-slavery leaders formed the Topeka Constitution - 1855, in the first attempt to organize a state government.

This Gateway to Kansas

Marker Topic: This Gateway to Kansas
Address: Minnesota Avenue and Fifth Street
City: Kansas City
County: Wyandotte
Marker Text: Where the Kaw River joins the mighty Missouri in its sweep eastward, has witnessed many events of historical significance to this area, among them: 1804-Lewis and Clark, on their exploring trip assaying the new Louisiana Purchase, camped three days 4 blocks east; 1809-Louis Bertholet built a cabin three blocks south - first white settler.

Lane Trail

Marker Topic: Lane Trail
Address: Rest area at junction south of Sabetha
City: Sabetha
County: Nemaha
Marker Text: Near here the towns of Plymouth and Lexington once stood as outposts on the Lane Trail, approximated today by US-75. Established by James H. Lane in 1856, the trail bypassed proslavery strongholds in Missouri and offered a safe route for free-state settlers entering Kansas.


Marker Topic: Lawrence
Address: US-40, Roadside turnout, Tennessee Street
City: Lawrence
County: Douglas
Marker Text: Lawrence was established in 1854 by the Emigrant Aid Company, a New England organization formed to prevent the new Kansas territory from becoming a slave state. When the first legislature enacted the so-called Bogus Laws with severe penalties for opposing slavery Lawrence was the center of Free-State resistance. Free-State newspapers here further antagonized proslavery officers.

City of Leavenworth

Marker Topic: City of Leavenworth
Address: US-73, Roadside turnout, K-7 and K-92 junction
City: Leavenworth
County: Leavenworth
Marker Text: Two weeks after Kansas was officially opened for settlement the state's oldest city was born. The date was June 12, 1854, and the town was named for nearby Fort Leavenworth.

Fort Leavenworth Markers

Marker Topic: Fort Leavenworth Markers
Address: 7th Street, K-7 and US-24, Leavenworth County
Markers at: 7th Street entrance to Fort Leavenworth; turnout on K-7, 11 miles northwest of city of Leavenworth; turnouts on US-24, .3 miles west and .5 miles east of US-24, US-73, and K-7 interchange
City: Leavenworth
County: Leavenworth
Marker Text: Established in 1827, Fort Leavenworth is the oldest army post in continuous operation west of the Missouri River. Serving as the army's chief base of operations on the Central Plains, the fort furnished troops and supplies for military operations as far away as the Pacific Coast. Troops stationed at the fort were given the task of maintaining peace on the frontier and protecting trade on the newly established Santa Fe Trail. With the establishment of the Oregon-California Trail in the 1840s, travelers on that trail also received protection.

Marais des Cygnes Massacre

Marker Topic: Marais des Cygnes Massacre
Address: US-69, Roadside turnout, .5 miles north of Trading Post
City: Trading Post
County: Linn
Marker Text: Nothing in the struggle over slavery in Kansas did more to inflame the nation than the mass killing which took place May 19, 1858, about four miles northeast of this marker. Charles Hamelton who had been driven from the territory by Free-State men, retaliated by invading the county with about 30 Missourians.

Marais des Cygnes Massacre State Historic Site
Battle of Mine Creek

Marker Topic: Battle of Mine Creek
Address: US-69, Roadside turnout, 2.5 miles south of Pleasanton
City: Pleasanton
County: Linn

Battle of Mine Creek State Historic Site
Lost Battle of the Civil War DVD
Battle of Westport (Big Blue and Little Blue)

In October 1864, a Confederate army under General Sterling Price was defeated near Kansas City. He retreated south, crossed into Kansas, and camped at Trading Post. Early on the morning of October 25, Union troops under Generals Pleasonton, Blunt, and Curtis forced him from this position, and a few hours later the Battle of Mine Creek was fought over these fields.

Overland Trails

Marker Topic: Overland Trails
Address: US-56, Roadside turnout, 1.5 miles southwest of Gardner
City: Gardner
County: Johnson
Marker Text: Here US-56 lies directly on the route of the Oregon-Calirognia and Santa Fe Trails. Nearby, the trails branched. On a rough sign pointing northwest were the words, "Road to Oregon." Another marker directed travelers southwest along the road to Santa Fe.

Shawnee Friends Mission

Marker Topic: Shawnee Friends Mission
Address: Southwest of I-35 and Shawnee Mission Parkway
City: Mirriam
County: Johnson

State Historic Site

In 1825 the Federal government began moving Eastern Indians to new lands west of the Mississippi. This sign is on a 2,500 square mile tract assigned to the Shawnees.

Battle of the Spurs

Marker Topic: Battle of the Spurs
Address: US-75, Roadside, 7 miles north of Holton
City: Holton
County: Jackson
Marker Text: Just before Christmas 1858, John Brown "liberated" eleven slaves in Missouri . He hid them in a covered wagon and circled north on the underground railway toward Nebraska and freedom.

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