South Central 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 South Central Kansas Historical Markers

Topics (click on a topic to jump to that section)
Bluestem Region | Caldwell and the Chisholm Trail | Carry Nation | Cherokee Outlet | Chisholm Trail | Council Grove | Indian Treaties of 1865 | Medicine Lodge | Towanda - Land of Many Waters
Bluestem Region

Marker Topic: Bluestem Pasture Region
Address: I-35 (Kansas Turnpike) Milepost 96, Matfield Green service area
City: Cassoday
County: Butler
Marker Text: You are in the heart of one of the great grazing lands of the world. Thousands of buffalo, antelope and elk once roamed here. After the Civil War, and the wild days of Texas cattle drives, it became famous as a feeding ground for beef cattle.

Caldwell and the Chisholm Trail

Marker Topic: Caldwell and the Chisholm Trail
Address: US-81, Roadside turnout, 1 mile south of Caldwell
City: Caldwell
County: Sumner
Marker Text: A mile southeast of this marker the Chisholm Trail entered Kansas. It took its name from Jesse Chisholm, an Indian trader, whose route lay between the North Canadian River and present Wichita. In 1867 it was extended from the Red River to Abilene when the building of the Union Pacific gave Texas cattle an Eastern market.

Carry Nation

Marker Topic: Carry Nation
Address: K-8, South edge of Kiowa
City: Kiowa
County: Barber
Marker Text: Carry A. Nation, the militant crusader against illegal saloons, launched her career of saloon-smashing in Kiowa. She and her followers in Medicine Lodge, her hometown, had closed the local saloons by holding prayer meetings on their premises and displays of force. However, as the Women's Christian Temperance Union's jail evangelist, she found as many drunks as ever in the country jail. These men named Kiowa as their source of supply.
Cherokee Outlet

Marker Topic: Opening of Cherokee Outlet
Address: US-77, Roadside turnout, south of Arkansas City
City: Arkansas City
County: Cowley
Marker Text: At noon on September 16, 1893 , more than 100,000 people lined the borders of the Cherokee Outlet listening for the pistol shots that started one of the world's greatest races. The prize was 8,000,000 acres of land: a quarter section or a town lot to every eligible settler who could stake a claim.
Chisholm Trail

Marker Topic: Chisholm Trail
Address: North Broadway, Roadside turnout, 2 miles north of I-235
City: Wichita
County: Sedgwick County
Marker Text: At the close of the Civil War when millions of longhorns were left on the plains of Texas without a market, the Union Pacific was building west across Kansas . Joseph McCoy, an Illinois stockman, believed these cattle could be herded over the prairies for shipment by rail. He built yards at Abilene and sent agents to notify the Texas cattlemen. The trail he suggested ran from the Red River to Abilene but took its name from Jesse Chisholm, an Indian trader, whose route lay between the North Canadian River and this vicinity.
Council Grove

Marker Topic: Council Grove
Address: US-56, Riverfront Park
City: Council Grove
County: Morris
Marker Text: In 1825 growing traffic over the Santa Fe Trail brought a government survey and right-of-way treaties with certain Indians. Council Grove takes its name from an agreement made here that year with the Osage nation. Indians farther west continued their attacks on weak or unwary caravans.
Indian Treaties 1865

Marker Topic: Indian Treaties 1865
Address: North Broadway, Roadside turnout, north of Kechi Road
City: Park City
County: Sedgwick
Marker Text: In October 1865 hundreds of Plains Indians camped on these prairies to negotiate peace with U.S. government officials. Among them were Chiefs Black Kettle and Seven Bulls ( Cheyennes ), Little Raven and Big Mouth (Arapahos), Rising Sun and Horse's Back (Comanches), Poor Bear (Apache), and Satanta and Satank (Kiowas).
Medicine Lodge Peace Treaties

Marker Topic: Medicine Lodge Peace Treaties
Address: US-160, Memorial Peace Park 1 mile east of Medicine Lodge
City: Medicine Lodge
County: Barber County
Marker Text: In October 1867, Iowa , Comanche, Arapahoe, Apache and Cheyenne Indians signed peace treaties with the Federal government. Fifteen thousand Indians camped nearby during the council, among them the famous chiefs Satanta, Little Raven and Black Kettle. Five hundred soldiers acted as escort for the U.S. commissioners.
Towanda-Land of Many Waters

Marker Topic: Towanda-Land of Many Waters
Address: I-35 (Kansas Turnpike), Milepost 76, Towanda service area
City: Towanda
County: Butler
Marker Text: The town and township lie tucked in the pleasant valley of the Whitewater River , and take their name from the Osage Indian term "many waters." First settler was C.L. Chandler, a returning '49er from the California gold fields who built his cabin in 1858. Towanda township was one of the first four in the makeup of Butler County --the largest in Kansas . In 1870, Rev. Isaac Mooney, frontier preacher and community builder, platted ten acres for a townsite. The village quickly became a trade center on the Emporia-Wichita wagon road and a division point for two stage lines. Towanda gained wide fame in 1919, when giant oil gushers were drilled on rockey Shumway land at the town's eastern doorstep by Gypsy Oil Company and the Trapshooters group.

Close neighbor is El Dorado , the county seat on the east, since pioneer days a prime adjunct to the Flint Hills cattle country and for more than 50 years the focal point of vast petroleum development in south-central Kansas . Its largest industries are modern oil refineries of Skelly Oil Company and American Petrofina, while the Butler County Community Junior College tops its cultural institutions.

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