Category: Larned


Schnack Park

While you’re visiting Larned, visit Schnack Park. Take in the fresh air amid the greenery of the Park. A spacious swimming pool is also available to take away summer’s heat. Pack a lunch, view the fountain and relax in our picnic area. Ride the “Schnack Express” train for free on Sundays in Schnack Park.rn

Self Guided Auto Tour of the Santa Fe Trail

An itinerary of 73 markers placed on the five separate routes of the Santa Fe Trail in present day Pawnee, Edwards, and Ford Counties, Kansas by the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association. Those routs are: the Wet Route, three separate branches of the Dry Route, and the Fort Larned Military Road. The Locations marked were named for topographical sites, Indian engagements, campgrounds, trading ranches, stream crossings, owners on whose property wagon ruts are yet in evidence, sites with reference to where the various routes originated and merged, and campsites used by the 1825 Santa Fe Road Survey Team. Many of the sites can be viewed from the roadside.

For printed guide book, Contact the Larned Convention & Tourism Committee

Sibley’s Camp

As one of the last acts of his presidency, James Monroe signed a bill on March 3, 1825 which provided $10,000 for surveying the road and $20,000 to treat with Indians for right-of-way. On March 16, Monroe’s successor, John Quincy Adams, appointed three commissioners to oversee the survey. One of those commissioners was George C. Sibley, formerly in charge of Fort Osage, a trading post operated by the U.S. Government east of present Kansas City. Sibley’s journal and diaries provide most of what is known about the survey.

The expedition departed Fort Osage on July 17, 1825 with 42 men including two slaves and seven wagons painted light blue. Surveying as they traveled, the party arrived at Council Grove in early August where they negotiated with the Osages for right-of-way through their lands on the 10th of that month. Six days later, they conducted a similar treaty with the Kanzas near present day McPherson, Kansas. By August 30th, the survey team passed Pawnee Roek and on August 31 arrived at Pawnee Fork. Sibley’s diary entry for August 31 and September 1 reads:

At half past 10 we reached the Pawnee fork, and camped on the bank a little below file fording place, at Some large Elm Trees, having measured from the last camp 6 M[ile}s & 56 Ch[ain]s. A heavy rain fell while we were on the road. The Creek appears to he too full now to venture to cross it with the Waggons; besides the hanks require some digging at the ford. Here we have a beautiful camping place & very fine range for the Horses.

The morning cloudy and cool. Mercury 68 at 8 o ‘Clock. The Pawnee River is here about 40 yards wide, banks pretty high, bottom sandy, Water at present Muddy. Timber Elm, Ash, Elder, Cotton Tree, Willow, and Grape Vines. Yesterday I turned off from the direct course and struck the Arkansas at mouth of this River and then coursed it up about a mile to the fording place near which we are now encamped, which is just at the foot of a high rocky Hill. The path leading up from the mouth to the ford passes between the Pawnee and some Cliffs of Soft Rock upon the smooth faces of which are cut the names of many Persons, who have at different times passed this way to and from New Mexico. Some Indian marks are also to be seen on these Rocks.


The site described by Sibley as "Cliffs of Soft Rock" is at the corner of Second and State Streets in Larned, Kansas. Much of the stone observed by Sibley has disappeared being quarried by early Larnedites for building material. Gone too are the many inscriptions and Indian marks of which Sibley wrote. Regardless, the site still retains its basic integrity. Undoubtedly, the location was the campsite of the survey team on August 31, 1825.

The property was purchased by the Cobb family in 1921; and two of the Cobb brothers, Leslie and Wesley lived out the balance of their lives making marked improvements to the site. Through their hard work and creativity, the old quarry site strewn with rubble and debris was transformed into a garden spot.

In 1995, the site was purchased by three Larned citizens who have proposed to restore the property to its pre-century appearance and preserve this little piece of real estate as Sibley’s Camp.


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.