Northwest 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 Northwest Kansas Historical Markers

Topics (click on a topic to jump to that section)
Choteau's Island | El Quartelejo | Flight of Cheyenne | Frontier Days | High Plains | Indian and Buffalo | Nicodemus | Santa Fe Ruts | Fort Wallace
Choteau's Island

Marker Topic: Choteau's Island
Address: US-50, Roadside turnout, 1 mile west of Lakin
City: Lakin
County: Kearny
Marker Text: In the spring of 1816 Auguste P. Chouteau's hunting party traveling east with a winter's catch of furs was attacked near the Arkansas River by 200 Pawnees. Retreating to what was once an island five miles southwest of this marker the hunters beat them off with the loss of only one man. In 1825 increased travel on the Santa Fe Trail brought a government survey and Chouteau's island was listed as a turning off place for the dangerous "Jornada" to the Cimarron.

El Quartelejo

Marker Topic: El Quartelejo
Address: US-83, Roadside turnout, 10.5 miles north of Scott City
City: Scott City
County: Scott
Marker Text: In Scott County State Park three miles northwest is El Quartelejo, only known Indian pueblo in Kansas. About 1650, it is believed, Taos Indians migrated here to escape Spanish oppression. Later they were persuaded by the Spanish governor to return to New Mexico. In 1706 Juan Uribarri formally took possession of the valley for Spain, calling it San Luis province.

Flight of the Cheyenne

Marker Topic: Flight of the Cheyenne
Address: US-36, Roadside turnout, northeast of Oberlin
City: Oberlin
County: Decatur
Marker Text: After the Little Bighorn battle in 1876, the U.S. government forced most Northern Cheyennes from the Northern Plains to a reservation in Indian Territory, present-day Oklahoma. In September 1878 a group led by Chiefs Dull Knife and Little Wolf attempted to return to their homeland. Angry and embittered by their plight, they killed settlers and herders as they fled through Kansas.
Frontier Days in Rawlins

Marker Topic: Frontier Days at Rawlins
Address: Lake Road and Second Street, Lake Atwood City Park
City: Lake Atwood
County: Rawlins
Marker Text: Travel is so smooth and effortless today that it is hard to visualize its hazards in the mid-19th century. For example, in June 1859, four mules pulling a Denver-bound Pike's Peak Express stagecoach--six days and 450 miles out from Leavenworth --were terrified by Indians a few miles northeast of Here. Plunging down a precipitous bank, the animals upset the coach and its best-known passenger, Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune.
High Plains

Marker Topic: High Plains
Address: US-40, Roadside turnout, Kansas-Colorado state line
County: Wallace
Marker Text: Here on the western border of Kansas is the heart of yesterday's buffalo and Indian country. Until the 1870s millions of buffalo grazed these plains, and in this area were fought some of the last battles between Indians and whites. Troops stationed at Fort Wallace, 25 miles east, patrolled the frontier and participated in many skirmishes with hostile warriors.
Indian and the Buffalo

Marker Topic: Indian and the Buffalo
Address: US-50, Roadside turnout; East city limits of Garden City
City: Garden City
County: Finney
Marker Text: The buffalo was the department store of the Plains Indian. The flesh was food, the blood was drink, skins furnished wigwams, robes made blankets and bed, dressed hides supplied moccasins and clothing, hair was twisted into ropes, rawhide bound to hold to handles, green hides made pots for cooking over buffalo-chip fires, hides from bulls' necks made shields that would turn arrows, ribs were runners for dog-drawn sleds, small bones were awls and needles, from hooves came glue for feathering arrows, from sinews came thread and bowstrings, from horns came bows, cups and spoons, and even from gall stones a "medicine" paint was made.

Marker Topic: Nicodemus
Address: US-24, Roadside turnout, Nicodemus
City: Nicodemus
County: Graham
Marker Text: In July 1877 African "exodusters" from Kentucky established a settlement here in the Promised Land of Kansas which they named Nicodemus. Although the colonists lacked sufficient tools, seed and money, they managed to survive the first winter, some selling buffalo bones, others by working for the Kansas Pacific railroad at Ellis, 35 miles away. In 1880 the all-African community had a population of more than 400.

Santa Fe Trail Ruts 1821-1872

Marker Topic: Santa Fe Trail Ruts
Address: US-50, Roadside turnout, 4 miles east of Lakin
City: Lakin
County: Kearny
Marker Text: Looking east, up and over the bank of the ditch, one can see the wagon ruts of the Santa Fe Trail. You will notice a difference in the color and texture of the grass in the ruts. This is a characteristic of the ruts along the trail.
Fort Wallace

Marker Topic: Fort Wallace
Address: US-40, Fort Wallace Museum
City: Wallace
County: Wallace
Marker Text: First called Camp Pond Creek, Fort Wallace was established in 1865. The fort served as the headquarters for troops given the task of protecting travelers headed west along the Smoky Hill Trail to the Denver gold fields.
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