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Santa Fe National Historic Trail

National Trails Intermountain Region
PO Box 728
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504-0728

Visitor Information
(505) 988-6098

Explore Places to Go in Missouri

Here are historic sites and interpretive facilities on the Santa Fe National Historic Trail in Missouri for you to visit:

Kingbury Siding, Old Franklin

Location: The site of Old Franklin is just north of the Missouri river and about 0.5 miles west of the Boonville Bridge on Missouri Highway 87.

Hours: unrestricted

Historical Significance: Franklin was the town where William Becknell and his party started out for Santa Fe in 1821 and followed parts of the Osage Trace. They returned with substantial profits, signaling the opening of the Santa Fe Trail. Old Franklin retained the US Land Office until 1831. The historic site is north of the present river channel. The Santa Fe Trail�which was the same route as the Osage Trace, a route that extended as far west as Fort Osage�followed along the approximate route of Missouri Highway 87 for several miles west of town.

Available Facilities: Old Franklin was damaged by Missouri River floods in 1826-1827. In 1828 New Franklin was established inland from (and just northeast of) the river, and most of Franklin�s residents migrated to the new townsite. A great flood in 1993 swept away the few foundations of Old Franklin that remained, as well as the Missouri Intelligencer monument and a DAR marker that stood beside the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad tracks.

Harley Park Overlook, Boonville

Location: Harley Park is a small city park near the corner of Santa Fe Trail (Spring St.) and Parkway Dr., one mile west of central Boonville.

Hours: unrestricted

Historical Significance: The park, located � mile south of the Missouri River, overlooks the Boone's Lick/Franklin region, where William Becknell commenced and ended his first (1821-22) trip on the Santa Fe Trail.

Exhibits: Exhibits related to the Santa Fe Trail are at the overlook.

Boone�s Lick State Historic Site, near Boonesboro

Location: adjacent to Missouri State Highway 187 (County Road 328), between Lisbon and Petersburg (and east of Arrow Rock) in Howard County

Telephone: (660) 837-3330

Hours: unrestricted

Historical Significance: The site�s primary feature is a salt lick or natural saltwater spring, which was the primary salt producer for settlements along the Missouri River from 1805 until the 1830s. Nathan and Daniel Morgan Boone, sons of Daniel Boone, formed a partnership with James and Jesse Morrison in 1805 to produce salt. The salt was shipped by keelboat on the Missouri River to St. Louis. Salt, which was indispensable at the time for preserving meat and tanning hides, was produced at the site until approximately 1833. The Boone�s Lick Road, which connected Franklin with this spot, served as the first leg of the Santa Fe Trail; west of here, travelers followed the Osage Trace to Fort Osage, 70 miles to the west.

Available Facilities: This 51-acre site features picnic facilities and a short trail that winds its way to the spring site, where wood remnants of the salt works and an iron kettle are still visible.

Exhibits: Outdoor exhibits interpret this unique saltwater environment and center of frontier industry. Artifacts from the salt manufacturing industry were excavated at the site, and some are on display at the Arrow Rock State Historic Site visitor center in Arrow Rock, Missouri.

Arrow Rock Landing, Arrow Rock

Location: The landing is located just east of Arrow Rock (which is a state historic site), in Saline County. It can be reached via one of two short trails from Arrow Rock: either the Arrow Rock River Landing Trail, which begins at the corner of 1st and Van Buren streets, or the slightly longer Lewis and Clark Discovery Trail, which begins at the north end of 2nd Street and follows an old warehouse road.

Telephone: (660) 837-3330 (Arrow Rock S.H.S.)

Hours: unrestricted

Historical Significance: A ferry landing at Arrow Rock was in use from around 1811 until 1927. Goods traveling the Missouri to and from St. Louis were loaded and unloaded at the landing. Near the landing, depressions (trail ruts) are visible where wagons loaded with goods traveled from the river to a warehouse or into town. Recent historical research has suggested that the designated Arrow Rock Landing site was a latter-day steamboat landing, while the Santa Fe Trail ferry landing site was upstream from the designated site.

Available Facilities: Once a thriving river port, the town of Arrow Rock (which grew up behind the landing) is dotted with architectural treasures from the past. Limestone gutters of carefully carved blocks line the main street, marking the toil of earlier generations. Wooden sidewalks and overhead canopies still line store fronts, recalling the grace and aura of times long past. The entire town of Arrow Rock was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964.

Santa Fe Spring, Arrow Rock

Location: in Arrow Rock State Historic Site, just south of Arrow Rock village, Saline County. The spring is accessed via a walking trail.

Telephone: (660) 837-3330 (Arrow Rock S.H.S.)

Hours: unrestricted

Historical Significance: Santa Fe Spring, also called Big Spring and Arrow Rock Spring, was an early water source for wagons headed for Santa Fe.

Available Facilities: The nearby town of Arrow Rock (see above) has a broad diversity of visitor services.

Arrow Rock (Huston) Tavern, Arrow Rock

Location: south side of Main Street between 3rd and 4th.

Telephone: (660) 837-3200

Hours: June-September, Tuesday-Saturday lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner 5-8 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; March-May and Oct-Dec, Sat urday and Sunday lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and Saturday dinner 5-8 p.m.

Historical Significance: The tavern, which is on the north side of Main Street in the center of town, was built about 1834 by John Huston. The oldest continuously operating restaurant west of the Mississippi, it was visited by many who traveled the Santa Fe Trail.

Available Facilities: The Huston Tavern, dating back to 1834, serves traditional hearty fare. The tavern, also called the Historic Arrow Rock Tavern, now houses a museum as well as a restaurant.

Fort Osage and Fort Osage Museum/Visitor Center, Sibley

Location: at 105 Osage St., at the north city limits of Sibley, in northeastern Jackson County. The fort is operated by Jackson Country Parks and Recreation and is administered by the county�s Heritage Museums and Programs Division.

Telephone: (816) 650-5737

Hours: Open year round, Tuesday-Sunday 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Historical Significance: Fort Osage was built in 1808 to fulfill one of the provisions of a treaty between the Osage Indians and the United States. The fort, sited on a high bluff overlooking the Missouri River, was the westernmost fur trading factory in the U. S. factory system; George Champlin Sibley (for whom the town was later named) was an important early factor. The fort was a trade center for the Osage, Kansa, and other regional tribes, and it was also a convenient rendezvous for trappers, mountainmen, and explorers. It closed as an active fort in 1822 and continued as a military storage facility until 1827. The government survey of the Santa Fe Trail in 1825-27, which Sibley headed, began 1.75 miles south of Fort Osage. For a few years, Fort Osage was the embarkation point for westward travel on the Santa Fe Trail, but it was soon succeeded by Blue Springs, near present-day Kansas City, Missouri.

Available Facilities: Today the fort has been partially restored as a Jackson County park. It is a premier example of a reconstructed frontier fort. The park includes an education center.

Upper Independence Landing (Wayne City) Overlook, Sugar Creek

Location:The Upper Independence Landing is on the right (south) bank of the Missouri River, near Sugar Creek. The landing, which is owned by Lafarge Cement Corporation (formally the Missouri Portland Cement Co.), is near Cement City Road (which is north of the corner East Kentucky Rd. and N. River Blvd.), about 3.25 miles north of Independence. The overlook, on the bluff overlooking the river, is on N. River Blvd., north of E. Kentucky Rd. and just south of the Wayne City Rd. intersection. The landing is 1/4 to 1/2 mile due north of the overlook.

Telephone: (816) 257-4040 (Lafarge Cement Corporation)

Hours: The overlook is accessible to the public; hours may be restricted.

Historical Significance: During the early Santa Fe Trail days, Wayne City Landing served as a port to receive supplies for early pioneers. Wayne City, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, received travelers who were headed west along the Oregon, California and Santa Fe trails, and some of the merchandise unloaded here was carried to Santa Fe. But this steamboat landing, and an earlier ferry operation, was never as successful or used as long as the Lower Independence Landing, which was located two miles downriver. One reason for this may have been the great flood of July 1844, whichplaced a sandbar in front of the landing and encouraged settlers to go farther west to Westport Landing (now in downtown Kansas City, Missouri). Perhaps as a result of the flood, the first railroad west of the Mississippi River was constructed in 1850 to join Wayne City and nearby Independence.

Available Facilities: No trace of the landing remains.

Exhibits: Wayside exhibits are at the overlook.

Lewis-Webb House, Independence

Location: 302 W. Mill

Hours: private residence, access restricted

Historical Significance: The house was built in 1834; an addition was made in 1853. John Lewis was a saddler and a Santa Fe freighter.

Exhibits: none

National Frontier Trails Museum, Independence

Location: 318 West Pacific Avenue

Telephone: (816) 325-7575

Hours: Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Sun. 12:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Historical Significance: The museum is located along several major historic trails.

Available Facilities: The National Frontier Trails Museum is the only museum in the nation devoted to the three great western routes: the Santa Fe, Oregon and California Trails. It also houses the Merrill J. Mattes Research Library, which has the nation's largest public collection of rare books, documents and diaries about the trails. Visitors can enjoy an award winning film, authentic covered wagons, trail artifacts, original diaries and letters, and a children's activity room.

Exhibits: The museum contains exhibits on the Santa Fe, Oregon and California trails. The museum highlights the unique features of each trail and their dramatic impact on American history. Additional exhibits focus on the explorations of Lewis and Clark, the early fur trappers and traders, and the reasons why people heeded the call to head west.

Harris House, Westport

Location: This house was originally built at the corner of Westport Road and Main Street. In 1922, it was moved two blocks southwest to its present location at 4000 Baltimore Avenue. It is now part of the Historic Old Westport District, three miles south of downtown Kansas City.

Telephone: (816) 561-1821

Hours: Entrance and tours by arrangements; contact the Westport Historical Society at the number above.

Historical Significance: Santa Fe trader John Harris built the Harris House in 1855. The home is the oldest two-story brick house in Kansas City.

Available Facilities: This building, which is also known as the Colonel John Harris House or the Harris-Kearney House Museum, now serves as a museum and headquarters for the Westport Historical Society.

Raytown Historical Society Museum, Raytown

Location: 9705 E. 63rd Street

Telephone: (816) 353-5033

Hours: Wednesday thru Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, by appointment

Historical Significance: Raytown is located approximately eight miles from Independence on the Santa Fe, California and Oregon trails. Many travelers noted the Rice Plantation and Ray's Blacksmith shop in their diaries during their travels west.

Available Facilities:The museum is in the building that was Raytown's Fire Station #1. Built in 1944, the building contains Raytown's history as told in stories, pictures and artifacts. A special display relating to the first fire station is located in the entry.

Archibald Rice House, Raytown

Location: 8801 E. 66th Street (at Blue Ridge Blvd.)

Telephone: (816) 358-7423 or (816) 358-6591

Hours: Open May-Sept., Sat. and Sun. only, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Historical Significance: About 1836, farmer Archibald Rice headed west along the Santa Fe Trail from Levasy, Mo. and moved to this parcel. (The trail at that time crossed 66th Street and turned south down Blue Ridge Blvd., toward Cave Spring.) He constructed his farmhouse, along with three slave cabins. Rice completed the farmhouse�which is now called the Rice-Tremonti Home�in 1844. He provided many travelers headed toward Oregon, California, or Santa Fe with agricultural and food products, and many camped on the Cave Spring property. There were many natural springs in the area providing fresh water for both the travelers and their animals. The home remained in the Rice family until 1903; later owners were Dr. Louis Tremonti and his wife Gloria. This is the oldest frame house in Jackson County.

Available Facilities: The farmhouse is on the National Register of Historic Places. Aunt Sophie�s cabin, one of three original slave cabins, is also located on the property. (Aunt Sophie was one of Rice�s slaves; after the emancipation, she remained with the Rice family as their cook.) The state of Missouri acquired the property in 2007. It is operated by the Friends for the Rice-Tremonti Home, a nonprofit group. Public access, interpretation, tours, and events are offered on the property.

85th and Manchester Swale, Raytown

Location: 7558 East 85th St. (at South Manchester Ave.), near the intersection of Blue Ridge Blvd. and James A. Reed Road. The swale is on private property maintained by the Cave Spring Association, which permits public access.

Telephone: none

Hours: unrestricted

Historical Significance: Near this corner, swales (created by grassed-over ruts) still exist today that date from the Santa Fe, California, and Oregon trails.

Exhibits: none

3 Trails Greenway, Hickman Mills Segment, Kansas City

Location: This 2,000-foot trail segment, located on the property of the Hickman Mills School District, begins just northeast of the district�s administration building (at 9000 Old Santa Fe Rd., near Eastern Ave.). No ruts or swales are visible, and the exact route along this corridor is not precisely known, but it passes to the north of the building and follows a gently meandering route that ends near the corner of 91st St. and Old Santa Fe Rd.

Hours: private property, but access unrestricted

Historical Significance: This was a trail segment of the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California historic trails.

Available Facilities: A greenway across the property has been developed as part of a larger, two-mile-long trail project.

Exhibits: Three historical wayside exhibits, plus large-scale cut-outs of trail figures, have been installed on the school district property.

Schumacher Park (formerly South K.C. Corridor � Schumacher Site), Kansas City

Location: 6601 E. 93rd Street, just northeast of E. Bannister Road and S. Hillcrest Road

Hours: unrestricted

Historical Significance: This was a trail segment of the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California historic trails.

Available Facilities: A short segment of the trail route, part of a larger, two-mile-long trail project, is marked and contains a sheltered picnic area with wayside exhibits. Another brief section of trail is located east of the park on private land to which access is restricted. Although no ruts or swales are visible, native prairie has been restored and provides a setting for visitors to experience the many diverse plant materials trail travelers saw along their journey.

Exhibits: Wayside exhibits related to the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California trails are in the park.

3 Trails Greenway, Bannister Mall Segment, Kansas City

Location: The Bannister Mall is located on the north side of E. Bannister Road between Interstate 435 and Hillcrest Road. This greenway segment, when constructed, will cross the southeastern portion of the mall property.

Hours: unrestricted

Historical Significance: The right-of-way of the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California trails crosses the southeastern portion of the mall property in a northeast-southwest direction. No ruts or swales are visible.

Available Facilities: A greenway across the property will be developed as part of a larger, two-mile-long trail project.

Exhibits: Wayside exhibits related to the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California trails are located on the mall property.

Hart Grove Creek Trail Segment (Marion Park), Kansas City

Location: Marion Park is southeast of the corner of U.S. Highway 71 (Bruce R. Watkins Dr.) and East Bannister Road (County Road W).

Hours: unrestricted

Historical Significance: Hart Grove Campground, which is located in the park along Hart Grove Creek, was the campsite for many travelers along the Santa Fe, California, and Oregon trails as well as for the ill-fated 1846 Donner Party.

Available Facilities: A greenway across the property has been developed as part of a larger, two-mile-long trail project.

Exhibits: Exhibits include wayside exhibits and stone markers delineating the trail corridor along the creek.

Minor Park, Kansas City

Location: south of E. Red Bridge Road and just west of Blue River Road

Telephone: (816) 513-7500 (Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department)

Hours: unrestricted

Historical Significance: An easily-visible swale, created by thousands of wagon set of ruts, goes through Minor Park as it crosses the Blue River. Easily reached by auto via paved roads, this swale is among the best on the entire trail. The park is administered by the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department.

Exhibits: A wayside exhibit is in the park.

Alexander Majors House, Kansas City

Location: 8201 State Line Road (east side of road near 85th St.)

Telephone: (816) 333-5556

Hours: Open 1-4 p.m. Sat.-Sun., Apr. 19-Dec. 7.

Historical Significance: The house was built in l855. Majors, who was the primary contractor for military freight on the route, was the leading freighter on the Santa Fe Trail from 1848 to the Civil War. In partnership with William Russell and William Waddell, Majors sent thousands of wagons over the trail, and in 1860-61, the three men organized and operated the Pony Express mail route.

Available Facilities: The Alexander Majors Historic House and Museum, which once served as the freighting headquarters for the Santa Fe Trail trade, is set on five beautiful acres. Many original furnishings and artifacts fill the house. Also on the site are a blacksmith shop with large display of tools, Conestoga freighting wagons, buggies, etc. and herb and vegetable gardens.

New Santa Fe Cemetery, Kansas City

Location: one-half block east of State Line Rd. on W. Santa Fe Trail (between 121st and 123rd streets).

Hours: unrestricted.

Historical Significance: New Santa Fe, originally known as Little Santa Fe, grew up at the western edge of Missouri during the 1830s, on the boundary (during the pre-1854 years) between the United States and Indian Territory. The Big Blue campground developed here, west of the Red Bridge crossing and approximately 3 miles southwest of the Blue River. 

Trading stores were established here, especially to sell liquor, which was prohibited in the Indian lands west of Missouri. There also was a Santa Fe Trail stage station at this site in the 1850s. By the late 1860s the village had declined considerably.

Exhibits: A cemetery and faint trail swales are all that remain of the village today. Wayside exhibits and historical markers are at the site.

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