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National and State Registers of Historic Places

Little Arkansas River Crossing

Picture of property NE Intersection, Avenue P & 30th Road
Windom (Rice County)
Listed in National Register 2014-04-05

Architect: N/A
Category: transportation
Thematic Nomination: Historic Resources of the Santa Fe Trail (Amended 2013)

The Little Arkansas River Crossing site is located in Rice County, approximately five miles southwest of Windom. Being on the main route of the Santa Fe Trail, 90 miles west of Council Grove, the Little Arkansas River was crossed by most trail traffic, including military traffic. William Becknell initiated trade with Santa Fe in 1821 and most likely crossed the Little Arkansas River at this site that year. Certainly, though, this crossing was used from the initiation of wagon traffic over the trail in 1822 to the advancement of the railroad to Junction City in 1866. Travelers bound for Santa Fe would take the train to Junction City then continue southwest along the Butterfield Overland Despatch route to Fort Ellsworth, then southwest on a connecting road to Fort Zarah, where they resumed the main trail. This new route from Junction City spelled the end of long-distance trail traffic east of Fort Zarah (near present-day Great Bend). The nominated site contains two trail swales and a monument erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1929. The property was nominated as part of the "Historic Resources of the Santa Fe Trail" in the areas of commerce, transportation, and social history.

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