Features along the Flint Hills Nature Trail, from east to west:
William M. Mills House (1902) — William Mills was one of the first oilmen in Kansas. The Queen Anne style house was designed by the famous architect, George Barber, and cost $49,000 to build. It has 7,000 square feet, 9 fireplaces, elaborate woodwork, and ornamental ceilings. On the National Register of Historic Places. Private property.
Adair Cabin (1854) — The John Brown Museum contains the cabin used by abolitionist John Brown as his headquarters during Bleeding Kansas. Located in Osawatomie’s John Brown Park which also contains a statue of Brown. It is part of the John Brown Historic District.
Old Stone Church (1861) — This historic church has been refurbished with original hand-hewn pews and altar chairs. Located in Osawatomie.
Old Land Office (1854) — This refurbished land office now serves as a tourist information center. Located in Osawatomie.
Osawatomie Railroad Museum — Railroads reached Osawatomie in 1879 with the St. Louis-Kansas-Arizona line, which became the Missouri Pacific and later the Union Pacific. Today, the railroad’s influence is best appreciated at the museum, which houses many artifacts of the city’s early history. A replica Union Pacific Depot was built for the railroad history collection.
Marais Des Cygnes River — French explorers named it the “Marsh of the Swans” River. The trail follows this scenic river with its wooded bluffs between Ottawa and Osawatomie.
Red Oak Bluff — Located approximately two miles southeast of Rantoul and high above the Marais Des Cygnes River and the trail.
Panther Cave — Located approximately two miles southeast of Rantoul along the trail high in a bluff.
Brown’s Station Site — The only cabin built by John Brown was constructed in 1855 for his son-in-law Orson Day, Esq. Pro-slavery men burned it to the ground on June 6, 1856. The log cabin was located 1 mile south and 3/4 mile west of Rantoul. On private property.
Fort Scott/California Trail Crossing — The Fort Scott/California Trail crossed the FHNT east of Ottawa.
Tauy Jones House (1867) — Located on original site of a 1843 trading post. Rev. John “Tauy” Jones was a Chippewa Indian who built this sandstone house which was visited by the famous journalist and presidential candidate Horace Greeley. The house is a two-story Plains Vernacular structure with walls of cut stone 34” thick. Jones was a close friend of John Brown and helped Brown and his men defend Lawrence in 1856. The house later served as school for Ottawa Indians. On the National Register of Historic Places. Located 4 miles north of trail on Nevada Road. Not open to public.
Old Depot Museum (1888) — Trailhead for the Prairie Spirit Trail in Ottawa and can also serve as a trailhead for the FHNT. One of the highlights of the museum is a display relating to this region of Bleeding Kansas and abolitionist John Brown. On the National Register of Historic Places.
Swamp White Oak Champion Tree — The largest Swamp White Oak in Kansas is located in Forest Park in Ottawa near the trail. It is 13’ in circumference and 78’ in height.
Appanoose Creek Bridge — This 240-foot-long railroad bridge spans Appanoose Creek 3.5 miles west of Ottawa. The beautiful bridge has a steel truss beam center supported by cut white limestone block pilings.
Chippewa Hills — Rugged, wooded hills three miles south of Richter on the site of the former Chippewa Indian Reservation. The Chippewa Church camp perched on top of the hills is open to public for hiking and picnicking ($5 per person fee).
1839 Chippewa Indian Burial Grounds — Indian burial grounds open to public. 4 miles SE of Richter (west of Ottawa). Located on the former Chippewa Indian Reservation.
White Poplar Champion Tree — The largest White Poplar tree in Kansas is located in Pomona and is 15’ in circumference and 75’ in height.
Pomona Fruit Company Historic Site — About 1869, John H. Whetstone, came to control 12,000 to 15,000 acres lying north of the Marais des Cygnes river after the removal of the Sac and Fox Indians. He then founded Pomona (named after the Roman goddess of fruit) on former Sac and Fox land using certain principles for the colonists (ability to acquire land was based on the colonist having good moral character and pledging no alcoholic beverages). At first Whetstone planted 400 acres to apples and became the “Apple King” of Franklin County. In 1898, he planted 30,000 fruit trees. His Pomona Fruit Company made jellies, preserves and jams and distributed them nationwide, but discontinued by 1922. Remnants of the orchards may still be present.
Jesse James Cave — According to legend, outlaw Jesse James and his gang would use this large rock overhang as a hideout in the 1860s and 1870s. Located two miles south of Pomona town and the trail; on private land, but open to public.
Appanoose Creek Massacre Historic Site — According to one account, a band of 30 anti-slavery men from Lawrence (a group of secret Danites founded by Abolitionist James Lane) led by Capt. Charles Leonhardt, massacred 22 members of the pro-slavery Shannon’s Guard camped at night along Appanoose Creek in the 1856. Located 4 miles north of trail on Nevada Road.
110 Mile Creek Bridge — This 240-foot-long railroad bridge spans 110 Mile Creek and consists of a unique design of steel gusset and beam construction. Located west of Pomona town.
110 Mile Creek Bridge II — This 280-foot-long railroad bridge is on the Landon Nature Trail and also spans 110 Mile Creek. It features overhead lattice steel beam girders supported by cut white limestone pilings. Absolutely a great piece of railroad history. Located one mile north of the trail on the Landon Trail, northeast of Quenemo.
KU Wetlands — 10 acres of re-created wetlands west of K-68 north of Quenemo owned by the University of Kansas. Water in the wetlands is seasonal. The Conservancy’s old railroad bed makes the berm to hold the water. Open to public.
Rattlesnake Hill — This was an early rendezvous and lookout for the Sac and Fox Indians who were located on a reservation here from 1845-69. The Sac and Fox agency was in Quenemo. A band of about 100 of the Indians remained in the area until about 1886. The tallgrass-covered hill is located just north of the trail on the Osage-Franklin county line. On private property.
Osage County Railroad & Mining Museum — Located in a unique brick and stucco Santa Fe Depot (1911) in Osage City. Osage County was once coal mining country. On the National Register of Historic Places.
White Eagle Gas Station (1927) — A restored, old-fashioned gas station in Osage City. The two star features of the station are the eagle statue and glass globe gas pump.
Weeping Willow Champion Tree — The largest Weeping Willow tree in Kansas is located in Osage City and is 14’ in circumference and 53’ in height.
Rapp Schoolhouse — Located about a half mile north of the trail, midway between Osage City and Miller, the Rapp Schoolhouse, 1871-1962, is one of the few one-room eight-grade schoolhouses in Kansas that still has its original desk and textbooks. Designated a National and State Historic Site. [Learn More]
Tallgrass Prairie — Several tracts along the trail west of Bushong in the Flint Hills which contain the largest remaining expanse of tallgrass prairie in North America. Some are owned by the Conservancy.
Singleton’s Dunlap Colony Historic Site (1878) — 200 Black Exodusters settled this area in 1878. Benjamin “Pap” Singleton was known as the “Father of the African American Exodus”. Because Kansas was famous for John Brown’s efforts and its struggle against slavery, Singleton considered the state a New Canaan, and he, like a “Black Moses,” would lead his people to the Promised Land. Singleton traveled through the South organizing parties to colonize in Kansas. He directly established two Black communities in Kansas including Dunlap and one in Cherokee County plus was instrumental in the founding of Nicodemus. Today, Dunlap’s black history exists only in a few places — in the Black cemetery and the dilapidated old Baptist Church. Located two miles south of the trail southeast of Council Grove.
Allegawaho (Kaw) Heritage Park — This 168-acre park owned by the Kaw Nation, contains historic Kaw Agency building ruins, Kaw house ruins, the Monument to the Unknown Indian on a tallgrass-covered hill, and walking trails. The Kaw Indians lived in this area until they were forcibly removed to Indian Territory in the 1870s. The park is named after an important Kaw Indian chief. Located SE of Council Grove and adjacent to FHNT. Open to public.
Hays House (1857) — Oldest restaurant west of Mississippi in continuous operation. Founded by Seth Hays, the first settler in Council Grove and great grandson of Daniel Boone. Other famous people associated with Council Grove include explorer John C. Fremont, scout Kit Carson, General George Armstrong Custer, and the Kaw Indian chief Allegawaho.
Pioneer Jail/Old Calaboose (1849) — This primitive but quaint jail was used by wagon train travelers on the Santa Fe Trail and local settlers to hold robbers, horse thieves, ruffians and desperadoes. Located in Council Grove.
Last Chance Store (1857) — Last place for travelers going to Santa Fe to get supplies on the Santa Fe Trail. Located in Council Grove. On National Register of Historic Places.
Kaw Indian Mission (1851)— established as a school for Kaw Indians, it also served as the first Kansas school for white children. A state historic site located in Council Grove.
Terwilliger House (1861) — Located right on the Santa Fe Trail. There is a museum and Trail Days Café. It was the last house the Santa Fe Trail freighters passed as they left town going west.
Conn Stone Store (1858) — Built by Malcom Conn, the store was one of the two most important trading posts in Council Grove and received business from Santa Fe Trail travelers, Kaw Indians and local settlers.
Custer-Sample house (1889) — Built by M.K. Sample on land once owned by George Armstrong Custer who once frequented the Council Grove area. In 1869 Custer purchased 120 acres surrounding the park which was his favorite place to camp when in the vicinity.
Historic Bur Oak (1694) — Located at Baker’s Market at 115 E. Main in Council Grove. The original grove of trees for which the town was named was a mile in width and contained a variety of species.
Historic Cottonwood Tree (1803) — Located in the city park on E. Valley Street.
Historic Bur Oak (1773) — Located east of the city park shelter houses in Council Grove.
Historic Bur Oak (1776) — Located in Custer Elm Park where George Armstrong Custer liked to camp. In 1869, he purchased 120 acres surrounding the park.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve — Located eight miles south of the trail. The park consists of 11,000 acres covered with bluestem, Indian grass, switchgrass as well as a myriad of wildflowers. Visible limestone flint layers. Bison may be viewed. A side trail could be built from the FHNT to the preserve.
Santa Fe National Historic Trail — One branch of the Santa Fe Trail closely follows the trail and Elm Creek southwest from Council Grove for about nine miles. The historic trail crosses the FHNT southeast of Wilsey. Santa Fe Trail Swales or Ruts can be seen west of Council Grove 2.5 miles on Helmick Rd.
Bluestem Prairie — A 13-acre strip of tallgrass prairie owned by the Conservancy is hayed annually. Located three miles east of Herington. Open to public for wildflower viewing and walking only.
Diamond Spring — Was one of the most widely-known camping sites and an important landmark on the Santa Fe Trail. Located two miles south of the trail on 2200 Rd. Flows into Diamond Creek. On the National Register of Historic Places. On private property.
Six Mile Creek Stage Station Historic District — Remains of the station building, a barn and original well plus four Santa Fe Trail ruts. The stage operated from 1863-67. The trail crossing was used from 1822 to about 1870. Located four miles south of the trail on 2800 Rd. in Morris County.
Herington Historical Museum — Among the collection of historical artifacts on display are vintage fashions and home furnishings, military uniforms, medical and farm equipment. A Rock Island baggage car museum annex houses railroad memorabilia.
Padilla Monument — A monument to the first Christian martyr in what is now the United States stands in Herington’s Father Padilla Memorial Park. Fr. Juan de Padilla was killed by American Indians in his efforts to convert them, often at sword point. Also in the park is the largest Common Baldcypress tree in Kansas which is 17’ in circumference.
This list is courtesy of KRTC Secretary Clark Coan.