The Central States Scout Museum

Welcome to the most extensive exhibit and collection of scouting memorabilia you will probably ever set foot in. Old scouting enthusiasts will find this museum is the premier scout museum in the United States. Complete with several letters, photos and original drawings from scoutings\’ founders (Baden Powell, ET Seton, James West, and Dan Beard), this museum is truly an experience. The museum has a broad range of uniforms including Sea Scout and Air Scout with our oldest uniforms dating from the 1920s. Old Merit Badge Sashes by Scout, Explorer and Air Explorer, including Merit Badges, medals and patches are displayed with over 100 old turn-down Merit Badges. Also included in the collection is a prerevolutionary Russian Scout Badge, Rockwell\’s Spirit of Scouting coins and many Rockwell plates, cups and figurines.

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 rnpersonal 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.

Fort Larned

Fort Larned was established in 1859 as a base of military operations against rnhostile Indians of the Central Plains, to protect traffic along the Santa Fe Trail and as an agency for the administration of the Central Plains Indians by the Bureau of Indian Affairs under the terms of the Fort Wise Treaty of 1861. Originally, the Army posted dugouts and tents along the Pawnee River. The post name was changed to Camp on Pawnee Fork, then it was changed to Camp Alert because there was need to be alert for Indian raids. The post was later moved and renamed to Fort Larned.

With nine restored buildings, it survives as one of the best examples of Indian Wars period forts. Today it is operated as a National Historic Site by the National Park Service. Most of the buildings including: barracks, commissary, officers quarters rnand more, are furnished to their original appearance. Fort Larned National Historic Site takes visitors back to this turbulent era in our nation’s history.

Visitor Center/Exhibits:The visitor center has a museum, introductory slide show, library, rest rooms and bookstore. There is a nature trail and a detached site where one can still view ruts left in the ground from wagons that traveled down the Santa Fe Trail.

Programs/Acitivities:When available, living historians staff the infantry barracks, post blacksmith shop, hospital, blockhouse, commissary and officers quarters. During the summer season, there are weekend demonstrations providing a more detailed look at life in the 1860s. Other special activities are scheduled from April to December.

Accessibility: The visitor center is handicapped accessible. Accessibility to the other historic buildings varies. There is a videotape of the fort available in the visitor center for those people who cannot make the walk.

The Santa Fe Trail Center

The Santa Fe Trail Center near Larned is a regional museum dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of the geographic area once known as the Santa Fe Trail. The trail was a great trade route which linked the United States with Mexico, and later with its own American southwest. The era of the Santa Fe Trail began in 1821, when Mexican independence from Spain opened up new trade opportunities for both American and Mexican merchants. Pulled by oxen and mules, commercial freight wagon trains crossed the plains until the railroad arrived near Santa Fe in 1880. This ended rnthe Santa Fe Trail’s freighting days and a new era began as settlers established homes, farms, and ranches along the ruts of the old trail.

The museum’s exhibits show the trail as a transportation route which blended the Indian, Spanish, andAmerican 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 influences on rnthe trail.

The period of settlement along the ruts of the old trail, brought about by the coming of the railroad, is depicted in the museum by a series of rooms showing pioneer life in the early 1900’s. An impressive rncollection of historic firearms showing the progression of weapons from flintlock to cartridge is also on display.

Outdoor exhibits on the Trail Center’s 5-acre complex include a sod house, dugout home, limestone rncooling house, one-room schoolhouse, and a Santa Fe Railroad depot. On special occasions, living history programs provide visitors with an insight into early pioneer life.

In 1991, the Santa Fe Trail Center was designated a certified site on the Santa Fe National Historic Trail. It was the second site on the trail and the first site in Kansas to receive this important designation by the National Park Service.

Cimarron National Grassland

Welcome to the Cimarron National Grassland, one of twenty National Grasslands administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.

At 108,175 acres it is the largest area of public land in Kansas and the only parcel managed by the Forest Service.

Rock cliffs, cottonwood groves, grassy fields, yucca and sage brush are scattered throughout the land. The land is managed for wildlife, water conservation, livestock grazing, recreation and minerals production. Federal and private land are interspersed, so please respect the property of others.

Bird watching, scenic driving, hunting, picnicking, camping, fishing and experiencing history are favorite activities.

Whistle Stop Park

The newest city park, Whistle Stop Park, runs parallel to the railroad tracks of Elkhart and covers 23.5 acres.

Located along Highway 56, it allows walkers, bikers, and rollerbladers access to over a mile and a half of asphalt paths. It is this park that has become the talk of the state as far as community involvement and usage.

The city currently has five city parks in it’s care. Cunningham Park is located at the North-Western end of Morton Street. This park is geared towards pre-teen and teen users with tennis courts, and a basketball court. The City-Library Park, located on Kansas Ave next to the Morton County Library is geared towards toddlers and grade school children with its many slides and swings it often welcomes families looking to get out in the sun and fun. Coronado Park located just off of Baca Ave on Cimarron Road is a small multi-purpose park with swings, and other multi-age playground equipment areas. Swimming Pool Park is where the Municipal Pool is located and offers visitors everything from horse shoe throws to areas where children may go and romp and play on many slides and ladders.

Point Rock Golf Club

Hidden in the Southwest Corner of Kansas you will find Point Rock Golf Club. Point Rock is the newest of the nine-hole golf courses that have been built in Southwest Kansas. Point Rock get its name from the Point of Rocks area Northwest of the City of Elkhart in the Cimarron National Grasslands.

Morton Countians are the new owners of the golf course and have totally rebuilt it. The project, which started in July of 1998, has brought a new state of the art irrigation system to water the new Bentgrass Greens and Bluegrass Fairways. The lay out of the new course is drastically different than that of the old course. With holes four and five built over a runway of the near by airport to help with the congestion problems that hindered the old course. Four Green built just 30 yards from Oklahoma gives the golfer the opportunity to hit his or her ball clear out of the state. The addition to the pond that brought us the signature hole, maybe the most dramatic par 3 in Southwest Kansas, a 181-yard forced carry over water with a retaining wall just in front of the green that will challenger any player. Point Rock will play 3200 yards from the back tees and 2616 from the front tees giving golfers any ability a challenge.

Over 50,000 yards of topsoil was moved to build all new greens, tee boxes and mounds. The course also offers seventeen bunker’s and native rough to grab any miss hit shot. They also have added new cart paths and a clubhouse.rn

Semi-pro Baseball

Elkhart boasts its own semiprofessional baseball team, the Dusters, sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Promising, hopeful players descend on the community each summer to play, practice and live with local families.

The Dusters attract fans of all ages and even scouts from the pros while they keep the summers alive with the excitement of baseball.

Middle Springs

A short distance east of Point of Rocks is Middle Springs, a small oasis on the prairie where water rises from an ever-flowing artesian spring. It was the only reliable watering spot for 30 miles each way along the Trail. Today the spring is home to tall trees and brushy undergrowth which attract migrating birds, but during Santa Fe Trail days, it probably a treeless and muddy waterhole, trodden and stirred by buffalo, livestock, and Trail travelers. This welcome resting spot along the Trail now has a picnic area and walking trail for your enjoyment.

Santa Fe “Companion” Trail

The Cimarron National Grassland near Elkhart, Kansas, contains 23 miles of the Santa Fe Trail’s Cimarron Route, the longest Trail segment on public land. A 19-mile “companion” trail, a mowed swath across the prairie, parallels the actual Trail route, and was constructed for non-motorized traffic. Two trailheads provide drinking water, restroom facilities, vehicle and trailer parking, stock unloading facilities and ramps for mounting and dismounting horses.

In 1996, the Morton County Historical Museum was designated as an Official Interpretive Facility for the Santa Fe Historical Trail by the National Parks Service.

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Point of Rocks

Point of Rocks, the large outcropping of rock rising above the prairie, was visible for long distances from both directions along the Santa Fe Trail. It was a landmark and guide for travelers. The panoramic view of the Cimarron River Valley from Point of Rocks was excellent for seeing other travelers or game. Today you can drive to the top to enjoy the view.rn