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National and State Registers of Historic Places

Santa Fe Trail - Rice County Segment 1 (Ralph's & Kerns' Ruts)

Picture of property Bushton Blacktop (FAS Hwy. 570), 3/4 mi North of US56, Chase vicinity
Chase (Rice County)
Listed in National Register May 11, 1995

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

William Becknell initiated trade with Santa Fe in 1821 and most likely passed over this section of the trail in that year. Certainly, though, this portion of the trail was used from the initiation of wagon traffic over the trail in 1822 to the advancement of the railroad through central Kansas in 1867. These rutted remains were an important component of the commerce and transportation network that developed. These ruts were traversed by caravans that undertook that portion of the trail from Cow Creek in the east to the Big Bend of the Arkansas River to the west - two popular overnight camping grounds. This portion of the trail performed important freighting transportation functions. With the location of Fort Zarah to the west of the site and several other forts further along the trail itself, much of their freight probably traversed this site. This trail segment was nominated for its national significance in the areas of commerce, transportation, and military. It is also eligible for its potential to yield important information related to the stretch of trail between the Little Arkansas Crossings and Fort Zarah. A portion of the ruts (known as Ralph's Ruts) were listed in the National Register on May 11, 1995. The boundary was expanded to include Kerns' Ruts, which was approved by the NPS on July 17, 2013.

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