Category: Lakin

Lakin

Loucks Municipal Park

Sunshine and fresh air abound at Loucks Municipal Park, two miles west of Lakin on U.S. HWY 50. Donated by Charles A. and Rhonda Loucks in 1950, Loucks is an 80 acre park that is home for the Kearny County Saddle Club and Rodeo Arena, Kearny County Fairgrounds, and the Louck M Park Golf Course. Golfers, don’t pass up the chance to play this excellent 9-hole golf course, referred to as one of the finest municipal courses in Kansas.rn

Beymer Water Recreation Park

Beymer Water Recreation Park offers a variety of activities for the outdoorsman. Swimmers may cool off at the designated swim beach, while picnickers enjoy a barbecue on the many tables and grills. A covered picnic shelter is available for large parties. Reservations may be made at the County Clerk\’s Office, Kearny County Courthouse.

Fishing is a favorite pastime, with anglers seeking to catch a channel catfish or black bass stocked by the Kansas Fish and Game Commission. Fishing licenses are available locally and juveniles 16 years old and under fish free.

Overnight campers can relax in the fee area that includes electrical hookups for $10.00 per night, or can \”rough it\” in the primitive camping area. Hot showers and flush toilets are available at no charge.

Bird watching and people watching can be enjoyed, with an abundance of local species to be seen.rn

Bluff Station

Bluff station was southeast of Indian Mound, on the east side of a sand creek which circles north and east of the Mound and flowed into the Arkansas River. Some sources think it may have been built by Major Bennett Riley’s troops in 1829.

In the 1850s and 1860s, stage companies used it as a relay station where fresh horses and some supplies could be obtained. Remains of the walls of the station were visible as late as 1900.

To the east of Bluff Station was one of the best camping grounds on the Trail. On this wide river bottom lush, green grass grew as high as a horse’s back. The bottom was dotted with campfire sites and pits where campers had dug down to shallow, fresh water for drinking and cooking.

Clear Lake

When the wagon trains turned south at Chouteau’s Island from the Santa Fe Trail, to go down to the Cimarron River at Wagon Bed Springs, they skirted the west side of small, very deep lake called Clear Lake. It was about fifty feet in diameter, and, at one time, it was sounded to the depth of 250 feet without finding any bottom. When the wagons passed this point they followed Bear Creek Pass through the sandhills.

Bear Creek Pass

This pass is one of the most interesting histories in the state of Kansas. Kearny County was fortunate in the creation of the sandhills, with the only natural pass through the low lying hills and sand dunes.

Bear Creek, rising in Colorado, entered the hills in Kearny County running mainly north to what was known as Clear Lake. This made a natural pass through the hills and was known as Bear Creek Pass. It was used before the white man’s time by Indians and buffalo. In the seventies and eighties, buffalo hunters and bone pickers traveled it to get to the railroad at Lakin. From which point many carloads of hides and bones were shipped east.

As the Rock Island railroad was not built until 1888, cattle were taken through the Pass to Lakin and shipped to eastern markets.

From 1885 to 1887 it came into its own as a freight route and all transportation went through the Bear Creek Pass.

Chouteau’s Island

Chouteau’s Island was the largest island of timber on the Arkansas River in this area. In the spring of 1816, Auguste Pierre Chouteau was returning to Missouri with several other fur trappers when they were attacked by a large party of Pawnee Indians. Chouteau’s party saw the Indians in time to cross over the shallow water to the island. From there they were able to repulse the Indian attack and make their escape.

In 1825, Joseph C. Brown, a U.S. engineer, surveyed the Santa Fe Trail. He designated Chouteau’s Island as the point for turning south to join the Cimarron Cut-Off at Wagon Bed Springs, some ten miles south of the present day Ulysses.

Indian Mound

Indian Mound, a prominent point west of Lakin, Kansas, stands as it did many years ago when Joseph C. Brown, a government engineer and his surveying expedition made official note of it in 1825.

Back in the Trail’s “Hey day”, Indian Mound was much higher and larger. People digging for relics and such have hastened its erosion. At one time, it was visible from Lakin.