Six more Kansas properties along the Santa Fe Trail have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The sites in Marion and Morton counties are the newest listings in an effort by both the National Trails System of the National Park Service and the Kansas Historical Society to document historic sites along the Santa Fe Trail. The sites were added to the register in April.
Last year, 12 sites were added to the register from the Kansas segment of the Santa Fe Trail. There are 30 sites the state is seeking national designation for along the trail, said Amanda Loughlin, Kansas State Historical Society survey coordinator.
The Santa Fe Trail was the I-70 of its day. The military used it during the Mexican-American War, the Civil War and Indian wars. Miners used it to travel back and forth to the gold fields and families used it to migrate west.
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The trail moved America from 1821 – when Mexico won its freedom from Spain and welcomed Missourian William Becknell’s small trading party in Santa Fe – until 1882, when the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad reached the Kansas state line.
All told, the Santa Fe Trail includes 1,200 miles in 36 counties covering five states – Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico.
“Any property owners that have Santa Fe Trail properties may seek designation on the national register under a thematic designation,” Loughlin said. “To my way of thinking, there are no disadvantages in having your property listed. It remains in the owner’s hands and you don’t have to allow people on your property if you don’t want to.
“But it does document why that property is important and helps landowners continue to preserve their property.”
The Santa Fe Trail was declared a national historic trail in 1987.
The latest properties added to the national register include:
• French Frank’s Santa Fe Segment in Marion County. French Frank’s was a ranch built in 1861 by French immigrants Claude Francis Laloge and Peter Martin, who offered food and provisions for travelers along the trail. The ranch operated until 1866. The site includes six swales – ruts made by wagons – and follows a route that connected the Cottonwood Creek Crossing and the Little Arkansas River to the main route of the trail. The site also includes “Cottonwood Holes,” the site of another trail-period ranch and a 1907 marker erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
• Five Cimarron National Grassland Segments in Morton County. The listing includes trail swales and DAR commemorative markers.