KS History – Group D

blogs about KS history

Council Grove, Kansas November 19, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — mselby13 @ 4:15 pm

A mere hour and a half down the road lies one of the more important historic sites of the Sante Fe Trail – a sleepy, little town called Council Grove.

While Council Grove is often historically referenced for the Kaw Mission Building or Council Oak (where settlers signed a peace treaty with the Kaw Indians) the town also boast 11 other sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, many dealing with the town’s background as a trading community.

As one of the last stop’s on the way to Santa Fe, travelers used this small Kansas town as a spot to load up on supplies before making the last push towards New Mexico. This prompted the opening of “Last Chance” supply stores, indicating that this was the last town on the trail to attain a certain good. The town was even chosen as the cite for the “Madonna of the Trail” statue, erected in remembrance of the mothers and children who bravely made the trip to Santa Fe. Much of the town’s success as a trading post is accredited to Seth Hays, the first American settler to arrive, in 1847. His restaurant “The Hays House” is still in operation (opened in 1857) and is said to be the oldest continuously operating restaurant west of the Mississippi River. 

While Council Grove may appear to be a small, diminishing town, it is still rich with the stories and historical records left by those headed West, and serves as a constant reminder that the everyday communities we pass by were once crucial to America’s development.

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2 Responses to “Council Grove, Kansas”

  1. melon19 Says:

    This is very interesting. I had never heard much about Council Grove. The town’s original set up and purpose reminds me a lot of the small towns that popped up around route 66. I suppose in all reality it’s not much different. After route 66 began diminishing, so did the towns. It sounds like the same thing happened to Council Grove. I had no idea though that the town had so many places on the national registrar of historic places. Very neat, thanks for the post!

  2. Molly McCoy Says:

    Great post. I happen to have a friend from Council Grove and have had the opportunity to visit the town a couple times. One of the best places I visited during my stay in Council Grove was the Trail Days Bakery Cafe. The food was delicious. However it wasn’t until reading your post and doing some research of my own that I found out that the bakery is off the Santa Fe railroad and that it was the last house that wagons stopped at on their way out of Council Grove. Thanks for the post, I enjoyed it!

    -Molly McCoy


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