The Santa Fe TrailMary Ann Thomas OUTWESTPresentationSummer 2004
COMPANION TRAIL, MIDDLE SPRINGS, CIMARRON NATIONAL GRASSLAND KANSAS NPS Photo
Brief History of the Early Days of the Santa Fe Trail/Trinidad, ColoradoTrinidad Colorado in the Wild West dayshttp://www.sangres.com/places/lasanimas/history.htmAccording to the reference above, William Beckwell made the first recorded trading expedition from Missouri to Santa Fe in 1821. He followed a path called Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail on his journey westward with oxen and mule drawn freight wagons.In 1826, a 17 year old Christopher kit Carson fled his apprenticeship asa saddle maker in Franklin Missouri (then the head of the Santa Fe Trail) andjoined a caravan headed west. Thats how his long career as a frontiersman, explorer. hunter, pioneer settler,Indian agent and fighter, and military officer began. In 1865, former mountain man Richens Lacy Uncle Dick Wooten and his partner, George C. Mcbride, made an agreement with Lucien Maxwell tobuild a toll road through Raton Pass. They blasted rocks, removed road debris and built bridges for months; finally they were able to cross a 27 mile passable road. They built a toll booth and charged $1.50 per wagon, 25 cents per horseman and 5 cents per animal from everyone wishing to pass, except NativeAmericans. They traveled free.In the 1860s and 1870s nearly all Trail traffic was to the Mountain Branch due to the Westward advancing of rail lines.Adobe buildings and a few log structures lined Main and Commercial Streets.The town suffered a few raids from the Utes and the chronic lawlessness of a frontier town, but quickly matured into a major center of commerce and agriculture for southern Colorado.
An excellent set of ruts crosses Minor Park, which is administered by the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department. Easily reached by auto off of paved roads, these ruts are among the best on the entire Trail. NPS Photo
2000 Wagon Train Freight wagons no longer cross the prairies, but the Trail's legacy endures as buildings, historic sites, landmarks, and original wagon-wheel ruts. NPS Photo
The Great Prairie Highway (Purpose of the Santa Fe Trail)
For 60 years, the Trail was one thread in a web of international trade routes. It influenced economies as far away as New York and London.The close of the Civil War in 1865 released America's industrial energies, and the railroad pushed westward, gradually shortening and then replacing the Santa Fe Trail.Textiles and hardware were traded west, silver and mules were traded east.
Santa Fe trader John Harris built the Harris House in 1855 at the corner of Westport Road and Main Street. It was moved to its present location at 4000 Baltimore in 1922. Located within the Historic Old Westport District, the home now serves as a museum and headquarters for the Westport Historical Society. NPS PhotoSanta Fe trader John Harris built the Harris House in 1855 at the corner of Westport Road and Main Street. It was moved to its present location at 4000 Baltimore in 1922. Located within the Historic Old Westport District, the home now serves as a museum and headquarters for the Westport Historical Society.
Westport Landing The Santa Fe Trail to California, 1849-1852;he Journal and Drawings of H.M.T. Powell Douglas S. Watson, ed. ing
TBarlow Cutoff The Santa Fe Trail to California, 1849-1852; The Journal and Drawings of H.M.T. Powell Douglas S. Watson, ed. ing
Life on the Trail Animals and Scenery)A glimpse of buffalo, elk, pronghorns, or prairie dogs was sometimes the only break in the tedium of the 8 week journey.
Trail travelers mostly experienced dust, mud, gnats, mosquitoes, and heat.
Occasional swollen streams, wildfires, hailstorms, strong winds, or blizzards could imperil wagon trains.
Along The Sweetwater The Santa Fe Trail to California, 1849-1852; The Journal and Drawings of H.M.T. Powell Douglas S. Watson, ed. ing
Life on the Trail (Travel Alerts, Foods)Crews repaired their wagons, yokes and harnesses; greased wagon wheels; doctored animals; and hunted.At the end of the day, the crew chose night guards, and enjoyed a few hours of well-earned leisure and sleep. The day's main meal consisted of a monotonous daily ration of 1 lb. of flour, 1 lb. or so of sowbelly bacon, 1 oz. of coffee, 2 oz. of sugar, and a pinch of salt. Beans, and dried apples. Buffalo or other game were occasional treats
Yoking the Wild Bull" The Santa Fe Trail to California, 1849-1852; The Journal and Drawings of H.M.T. Powell Douglas S. Watson, ed. ing
The road has a new look with wagon trains traveling on it to reenact the earlier times. NPS Photo.
"Approaching Chimney Rock" The Santa Fe Trail to California, 1849-1852; The Journal and Drawings of H.M.T. Powell Douglas S. Watson, ed. ing
1792 - Frenchman Pedro Vial travels from Santa Fe to St. Louis for Spanish government. 1819 - Financial panic creates need for hard currency in Missouri Territory. Adams-Onis Treaty between U.S. and Spain makes Arkansas River international boundary.1821 - Mexico wins independence from Spain. William Becknell's party from Missouri is welcomed in Santa Fe.1825 - Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri arranges for U.S. Government to survey Trail.1833-1834 - William and Charles Bent and Ceran St. Vrain build Bent's Fort.
1836 - Texas wins independence from Mexico. 1844 - Trader Josiah Gregg in Commerce of the Prairies. chronicles his trips over the Trail 1851 - Fort Union is established to help protect Trail commerce.1869 - Trail grows shorter as railroads push westward. 1878 - Railroad reaches Raton Pass on the Mountain Route.1880 - Railroad reaches Santa Fe. Santa Fe Trail slips into history.
1906 - The Daughters of the American Revolution begins erecting Trail markers.1986 - Santa Fe Trail Association forms to help preserve and Promote awareness and appreciation of the Trail.1987 - Congress designates Santa Fe National Historic Trail under the National Trails System Act.
Lyons, Kansas to Dodge City, Kansas Map NPS Photo