Its central location has made Kansas a crossroads for generations. The trails that were the precursor to today' Interstate highways traveled through our state. The Santa Fe and Oregon Trails may have been the most famous for transporting people and cargo. Even mail traveled through Kansas via the Pony Express. Many forts were set up along their paths to help protect the travelers on their journey. These trails gave way to railroads that crisscrossed the state creating many communities that people today call home.

Fort Larned National Historic Site

Pawnee Township, Kansas (620) 285-6911

Guardian of the Santa Fe Trail

In a time of tension, conflict, and sweeping change, Fort Larned was established to protect U.S. interests on the Santa Fe Trail. Here, the United States sought both war and peace with Plains Indians as each grappled for control of the vast Kansas prairies. Experience Fort Larned, the best-preserved and best-restored frontier fort in the nation.

Santa Fe Trail

Trade on the Santa Fe Trail was profitable but dangerous work. As Southern Plains Indians struggled to protect their homes, freedom, and independence from the growing number of intruders, the conflict necessitated a permanent U.S. military presence. Fort Larned was a critical part of the military's solution.

Hancocks War

"I have a great deal to say to the Indians, but I want to talk with them all together. I want to say it at once." - Gen. Winfield S. Hancock, Fort Larned, 1867

As American society pushed west and disrupted the livelihoods of the American Indian nations on the Southern Plains, conflict was inevitable. Violence, however widespread, was typically small-scale in western Kansas prior to 1867. Much of the violence took the form of raiding along the Santa Fe Trail . In response, Fort Larned was established in 1859. Fort Larned, as part of a system of forts, allowed for a permanent military presence on the frontier aimed at converting the land from tribal to U.S. control.

Following the conclusion of the Civil War, the U.S. Army and its ambitious officers turned their attention westward, where tribes stood in the way of American expansion. From among the tribes' leaders, several stood out to officers at Fort Larned by March, 1867, including Satanta and Kicking Bird of the Kiowa; Tall Bull, White Horse, Bull Bear, Roman Nose, and Black Kettle of the Cheyenne; and Little Raven of the Arapaho. In March 1867, Captain Henry Asbury of the 3rd Infantry reported on his view of the situation from Fort Larned, noting, "The 'Cheyennes' talk but little but are among the most dangerous of the Indians on the Plains, on account of their superior qualities as soldiers."

General Winfield Scott Hancock, a Union hero of the Battle of Gettysburg , arrived in western Kansas in 1867. Hancock was inexperienced dealing with American Indians, though was confident in his ability to bring them under control. Hancock met with several Cheyenne chiefs at Fort Larned on April 12. Legally unable to forge treaties with the tribes, Hancock instead sought to intimidate them into alignment with U.S. interests. "You know very well, if you go to war with the white man you will lose….I have a great many chiefs with me that have commanded more men than you ever saw, and they have fought more great battles than you have fought fights," Hancock warned the chiefs.

Hancock concluded the April 12 meeting by indicating that he wanted to meet with the other chiefs. To that end, Hancock and his troops rode west of Fort Larned toward a combined Cheyenne and Lakota village. As the army drew nearer the village on the April 14, a group of Cheyenne warriors rode out to meet them, mirroring the army's display of military strength. Colonel Ned Wynkoop, the Cheyenne and Arapaho Agent at Fort Larned from 1866 to 1868, rode out between the lines to ask the warriors to stay calm and stay put. The warriors agreed; the army marched to within one mile of the village. Capt. Albert Barnitz of the 7th Cavalry later wrote of the camp, "I was astonished at its magnitude – and magnificence!"

The sight of a massive formation of troops so near their village evoked memories of the Sand Creek Massacre prompting the women and children to flee on the evening of the 14th, leaving most of their lodges and belongings behind. Hancock, who had brashly moved his troops to within sight of the village, evidently could not conceive of why the people would flee. Furious at what he took to be an offense, Hancock demanded their return. Some of the Cheyenne warriors obliged Hancock and rode to look for the women and children, but returned empty-handed. Fearing the repercussions of Hancock's anger, the remaining warriors also fled, eluding Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer's 7th Cavalry as night fell.

Hancock's troops, particularly the 7th Cavalry, attempted to locate the villagers for several days but were unsuccessful. Assuming their flight indicated a disinterest in peaceful negotiation, Hancock concluded that the Indians meant war. Hancock ordered the abandoned village burned to the ground. "I am satisfied that the Indian village was a nest of conspirators," Hancock reported. It was the opening round in what became known as "Hancock's War," an unprecedented season of violence on the plains of Kansas.

Word of the village's destruction quickly spread among the tribes. Battles raged across Kansas: Fort Dodge, June 12; Fort Wallace, June 21-22; Baca's Wagon Train, June 22; Pond Creek Station and another at Black Butte Creek, June 26; Kidder's Fight (in which Kidder's entire detachment was killed), July 2; Saline River, August 1-2; Prairie Dog Creek, August 21-22; Davis's Fight, September 15. Raiding along the Santa Fe Trail also increased.

With the cost of war increasing, the U.S. Government looked for alternatives. By the end of the summer, Hancock had been transferred to another command and was replaced by General Philip Sheridan. Fort Larned, where diplomacy had begun to unravel that spring, played a significant role in ending the season of warfare in October 1867 by supporting the negotiations for the Medicine Lodge Treaty .

Artifacts from the Cheyenne village destroyed by Hancock's troops are on display in the Fort Larned visitor center. The village site is privately owned by the Fort Larned Old Guard and is closed to the public.

Buffalo Soldiers at Fort Larned

Company A of the 10th U.S. Cavalry served at Fort Larned from 1867 to 1869. Despite their admirable record, the all-black troops of the 10th came face to face with the issues of segregation and racism in the post-Civil War era.

Schedule of Special Events

Remarkable stories of the Indian Wars along the Santa Fe Trail.... Visit the most complete fort surviving from the days when Custer and Buffalo Bill Cody rode through. Original buildings, a visitor center, Park Ranger and Volunteers bring the story of this turbulent time to life.

Memorial Day Weekend (Saturday, Sunday & Monday) largest living history event in western Kansas - experience a working frontier fort.

Labor Day Weekend (Saturday, Sunday, & Monday) Reneactors bring the fort back to life for the holiday weekend.

Candlelight Tour (2nd Saturday of October) Entertaining evening tours with vignettes from the fort's history.

Christmas Open House (2nd Saturday of December) Old-fashioned Yuletide celebration with hot apple cider, cookies and Christmas carols.



1349 K-156 Hwy, Larned Kansas 67550


A certified site on the Santa Fe National Historic Trail, the Santa Fe Trail Center two miles west of Larned on K-156 offers visitors a glimpse into the nation's past. Museum exhibits depict the Santa Fe Trail as a transportation route blending American Indian, Spanish, Mexican and Anglo cultures. Displays include prehistoric Indian artifacts, a Wichita Indian grass lodge, a full sized mounted buffalo, a commercial freight wagon and an exhibit showing the Spanish and Mexican influences on the trail.

The story of settlement along the ruts of the old trail is told through a series of rooms in the museum showing pioneer life in the early 1900's. Outside on the grounds visitors can explore both sod and dugout homes as well as a one-room schoolhouse, limestone cooling house, Santa Fe Railroad depot and an African-American church. The Dale and Melba Woods Farm and Auto Museum Addition offers visitors a chance to learn more about rural life on the plains.

A trip to the Santa Fe Trail Center will prove to be an enjoyable and educational experience for the whole family. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily Memorial Day through Labor Day. It is closed on Mondays the remainder of the year. It is also closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. A small admission fee is charged.


Central State Scout Museum

815 Broadway Street Larned, KS 67550-2525
(620) 285-6427

The premier Scout memorabilia museum in America is a unique museum featuring an extensive collection of scouting memorabilia for all ages. Y ou will find almost a century of scouting memories, much of which is rare and unusual. Re-live memories of Boy Scouting and Girl Scouts in a stop at the Central States Scout Museum.

The museum is located next to the Post office at 815 Broadway. Open Monday thru Saturday from 9AM to 5PM or on Sunday from 12PM to 5PM or by Appointment. Please Call for large groups.

Anyone taking a Boy Scout group to Philmont from the northeast quarter of the U.S. will not need to detour at all to visit the CSSM. It would be worth the visit if it were a few hundred miles out of the way.

If you are coming from anywhere east of Kansas City, just take the best route to K.C. and then follow I-70 west to the Ellsworth exit. Take K-156 west to Larned. The museum is at 815 Broadway , Larned, Kansas 67550. To call, try 620-285-6427. From Larned, you just follow US-56 west until you're within a stone's throw of Cimarron, NM. You'll get some history, too, since US-56 follows the route of the Santa Fe Trail. Best of all, Larned is just about exactly one day's drive from Philmont and the Museum has a bunkhouse in a back room that can provide your troop with lodging for the night at a nominal fee. Admission to the museum itself is only a dollar per person. If you leave enough time for your stop in Larned, you can easily spend another day or two at Larned's other two attractions: Fort Larned Nat'l. Historic Site and the Santa Fé Trail Center .

The museum fully occupies a former auto dealership and is FULL of Scouting memorabilia, attractively displayed in showcases. The core of the collection is the personal property of a former Scouter named Charles Sherman who is the chief curator of the museum. It houses a wealth of other items donated or loaned by other former Scouts in this area --- and we are numerous! If you have any Scouting memorabilia in the closet that should be seen by today's Scouts, you should consider donating it or, at least, loaning it to the CSSM.

By the way, if some of the boys would rather play video games rather than look at the old stuff, ask them to turn on the computer. Don Shorock donated an old TI-99/4a to the museum and then wrote (or modified) a full diskful of Scouting related software. If you have a TI-99/4a and want a copy, you can have one from him, free of charge... if you'll donate ten dollars or more to the Museum.



The historic property at 502 West 2nd Street in Larned, Kansas is the location described by George Sibley as the August 31, 1825 campsite of the Santa Fe Road survey team, has been purchased by local history enthusiasts in 1995; Bob Rein, Mildon Yeager, and David Clapsaddle, members of The Wet/Dry Routes Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail. The property has undergone a number of improvements. The removal of buildings, trees and debris have been the first steps in the development in the sight named Sibley's Camp. "We want to make it look as much like it did in 1825 to commemorate the Santa Fe Trail."

To promote attendance at the camp, numerous programs have been presented in conjunction with the 175th anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail. In addition, the following steps have been taken to alert the public to the site. Number 1, a brochure describing the historical significance of the site has been printed and distributed. Number 2, two markers have been placed on site, one containing the diary entry of Sibley on September 1, the other a large limestone inscribed "SIBLEY'S CAMP AUGUST 31, 1825" also a marker on U.S. 56 directing the public to the site.

Mildon, Bob and David have also modified a grain wagon to represent one of the baggage wagons used by the survey party. The wagon is used for interpretation on the site and to promote the camp in parades.

On May 24, 1997, during the Santa Fe Trail Days, held every year in Larned, Kansas, was the unveiling of a newly constructed self interpretation marker at Sibley's Camp. The 4 X 8 roofed and glass fronted marker will encase commentary, artifacts and photographs which will aid in interpretation by visitors to the site.

Future plans call for the development of a demonstration plot of the short grass, native to the area at the time of the survey teams visit and the planting of trees identified by Sibley in his journal.

Sibley Camp, a project of the three landowners has no intention of profit making. Rather the hope is to preserve the small piece of real estate as a historical site by which the Santa Fe Trail can be interpreted.

Clapsaddle explained, "The property represents three phases of history." He went on to explain that the site has been identified as the place where the United States Survey team camped on the Santa Fe Trail Survey Expedition on August 31, 1825. Henry Sibley, one of the survey commissioners, wrote in his September 1, 1825 diary entry:

"Yesterday I turned off from the direct course and struck the Arkansas at the mouth of this River, and then coursed it up about a Mile to the fording place near which we are now encamped, which is just at the foot of a high rocky Hill. The path leading up from the mouth to the ford passes between the Pawnee and some Cliffs of Soft Rock, upon the smooth faces of which are cut the name of many Persons, who have at different times passed this way to and from New Mexico. Some Indian Marks are also to be seen on these Rocks."

The cliffs of soft rock described by Sibley were greatly diminished by quarrying in the early days of Larned's development, but the high rocky hill remains much in evidence rising sharply from 2nd Street one full city block to 3rd Street. Long gone are the names inscribed on the stone and the Indian marks observed by Sibley, being replaced by drill marks by the stone quarries.

From about 1873 until the turn of the century, the site was one to four stone quarries operated along what is now Second Street. The property eventually was acquired by twin brothers Wesley and Leslie Cobb, electricians who hand laid thousands of stones along the top of the quarry to level it so Wesley could build a house at the top of the cliff. That house will remain there. Leslie's house, built at the foot of the cliff, will be removed.

In the 1920's the property was purchased by the Cobb family and in later years, twin brothers Leslie and Wesley Cobb devoted countless hours to the property's improvement. The cliff was one of four quarries used in early Larned's history and evidence of the quarry is still visible. There is also a photo from 1886 at the Santa Fe Trail Center which shows the quarry in progress there. Stone steps were cut to allow quick access to the top of the bluff; and at a later date concrete steps were poured at an adjacent location. The top of the bluff was leveled off by stone masonry and reinforced with a concrete apron to prevent further erosion.

A house built back in the bluff at the height of the hill, is still occupied by Mrs. Berthen Cobb, Wesley's widow. The house on the lower level occupied by Mrs. Mabel Cobb, Leslies widow, is now a rental property.

At one time, the well groomed yard at the property bedecked by foliage and flowers often was mistaken for a city park. The new owners hope to restore the property to like interests. Long range plans call for the present buildings at the lower level to be razed and the retaining walls toward 2nd Street to be removed, thus giving the property the semblance of its appearance in 1825.


Hutchinson Zoo

  • Physical Address
    6 Emerson Loop East
    Hutchinson, KS 67501
  • Mailing Address
    PO Box 1567
    Hutchinson, KS 67504-1567
  • Telephone Number: (620) 694-2693
  • Office Hours: Mon.-Sun. 10:00 a.m. til 4:45 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Day.

The Hutchinson Zoo is located on approximately 9 acres and has an animal collection of almost 160 animals. Majority of the animals are Kansas native animals with one building that does have animals that are from around the world. The zoo also treats approximately 500 animals annually in its animal rehab program. The Hutchinson Zoo is AZA accreditated. AZA, "accreditation" means official recognition and approval of a zoo or aquarium by a group of experts. These experts, called the AZA Accreditation Commission, carefully examine each zoo or aquarium that applies for AZA membership. Only those zoos and aquariums that meet their high standards can become members of AZA. AZA accredited zoos and aquariums are constantly evolving and standards are continuously being raised. Each zoo or aquarium must keep up with these changes to remain AZA accredited. And to prove it, they must go through the entire accreditation process every five years. AZA believes that nothing is more important than assuring the highest standards of animal care.




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