Category: Scott City

Scott City

Squaw’s Den Cave, The Last Indian Battle in Kansas

Travel to the place where the last Indian battle in Kansas took place. Punished Woman Fork is about a mile southeast of Lake Scott State Park. It is marked by a monument over a cave known as Squaw’s Den where Indian women and children hid while warriors waited in ambush for the US Calvary.

On the afternoon of September 27, 1878 Dull Knife, Little Wolf, Wild Hog and the members of the Northern Cheyenne band came to the protecting shelter of the valley of Punished Woman’s Fork. Although exhausted from their flight before the US Army, they began at once to fortify their position and set up an ambush. In the battle that followed, commanding officer, Lt. Col. William H. Lewis was mortally wounded. He became the last Army officer killed in a military action in the State of Kansas.

This area was made a county park in 1958. The conditions have changed since the battle. The creek no longer flows as it did in 1878. What was then native grasses is now corn and alfalfa. But you still sense the historical drama that took place here and appreciate the rugged living conditions that were forced onto the occupants of these narrow canyons only a century ago.

El Quartelejo Pueblo Ruins

See the northernmost pueblo in the United States and one of the first white settlements in Kansas: El Quartelejo Ruins.

In the 1500s a group of Taos Indians migrated to the park region. They made pueblos and grew crops using irrigation ditches dug from a nearby spring. After 20 years they went back to their homes in the south. El Quartelejo was later reoccupied in 1701 by a group of Picurie Indians for nearly two years. Around 1717, Juan Uribarri, known as Jean Iturbi, (who led the explorer, La Salle to his fatal ambush) came to El Quartelejo and opened a trading post. After 1727 the site was abandoned and left to the weather and erosion. It disappeared, leaving no trace on the Kansas plains except a slight mound and some irrigation ditches which were later used by Herbert Steele for his large truck garden.

In the mid-1890s, the pueblo ruins were found by Steele and unearthed by H.T. Martin and Prof. Williston from the university of Kansas. Then, the site was forgotten until 1925 when the Daughters of the American Revolution set up a monument there. In 1964 the El Quartelejo Ruins achieved the National Historic Landmark Status and in 1970, the Kansas historical Society excavated and restored the area. Now, you can inspect the pueblo site with its foundation reconstructed. Information is posted detailing the lives of the Indians and the features of each room in the pueblo.

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Old Steele Pioneer Home

As a visitor to Lake Scott State Park you’ll want to stop at the Old Steele Home. This site has a variety of features, from the stream below the home fed by natural springs, to the bluff across the road giving a breathtaking panoramic view of the Park and Lake. All the attractions are within walking distance of your car.

The home was hand quarried from native sandstone in 1894. Built on two levels, the house’s front door opens onto the road where visitors park. The back door, on the lower level exists to a gently sloping meadow leading to the stream below. As an additional attraction from visitors, the building’s interior is furnished with articles typical of pioneer homes.

Take the time to climb to the top of the bluff across the road. You can catch your breath in the stone shelter at the top. Then, stand beside the Steele Memorial made from a four-ton red granite boulder which was brought from Colorado and placed on its concrete base at the end of the bluff in 1930. Now, gaze out over the dream-come-true of Herbert and Liza Steele. They envisioned the State Park in the late 1920s and dedicated 640 acres of their property to the Kansas State Forestry, Fish and Game commission.

We hope you’ll enjoy the heritage the Steele’s preserved for future generations and take away with you a kindred spirit of love for this natural beauty.

El Quartelejo Museum

You’ll discover the fascinating history of Scott County and its surrounding area at the El Quartelejo Museum located on the west edge of Scott City. What did prehistoric fish look like and why are their fossil bones found in Scott County? How is it that people find sharks teeth in the canyons of northern Scott County? Did mammoths and camels once roam the grasslands of this area? What is the evidence that shows people lived and hunted along Beaver Creek 10,000 years ago?

Answers to these questions and even more will be provided at the El Quartelejo Museum. Using a timeline beginning at the Creatceous period and ending with the present day, the Museum will exhibit fossils, photos, maps, antiques and articles of information to tell the surprising story of Scott County.

Additional displays include a Pueblo Indian Display, an Early Indian Camp Scene, a Pioneer Homestead, and information about the Farm and Cattle Industry.

Keystone Gallery

The Keystone Gallery is housed in the historic limestone building built in 1917 as a community church. It houses a prehistoric museum with late Cretaceous fossils from the Kansas Niobrara formation, a curio shop, featured artwork by Charles Bonner, and information about Monument Rocks.

Visitors can see everything from sharks teeth and fossil fish to flying and swimming reptiles.