"Historic Santa Fe Trail Markers"
on the
Santa Fe Trail

Santa Fe Trail 
Historic Oval Signs
Be Very Careful When Buying One Of These
There Are Fakes Being Produced Now!!

Have you seen one of these signs along the Santa Fe Trail?
Do you know of any that aren't on this list of Santa Fe Trail Oval Signs?
Click on the Oval Sign above to email us the location!
Please let me know and I'll add it to the list.

     Why this page on these old oval markers? The history of the Santa Fe Trail means Markers, Pawnee Rock, Point of Rocks and Wagon Mound, these were all markers. The Oval Signs was just one of the ways the Santa Fe Trail was marked over the years. The "Old Santa Fe Road" and other feeder trails that connect with the Santa Fe Trail were marked in many ways. A lot of research goes into each site and then great effort goes into locating them, then placeing a unique type of marker at each location. Take the limestone posts the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter incorporated into its marking project. These posts are also a part of the history of the State of Kansas. With the reconstruction of the highway system in the Western part of Kansas, from the almost one lane highways built for the covered wagon & the Old Model "A Ford" to the new super two lane as the state calls them, the fence rows that once held the limestone post are being replaced by new and improved fences and the limestone posts are being taken out and lost. Many of the post end up as markers of a different kind and are being used everywhere.

     The Oval Santa Fe Trail Markers were placed on or near schools located along the Santa Fe Trail in 1948, by the American Pioneer Trails Association with Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. At that time Judge Henry A. Bundschu was president of the Association, and Thornton Cooke was chairman of the special committee that designed this plan for marking the historic Santa Fe Trail. Blevins Davis, Independence, Missouri, donated funds to provide the artistic plaques for marking the route. Irvin "Shorty" Shope, who drew the mules pulling the wagon on the sign, was a western painter, illustrator and muralist from Montana.

Irvin Shope Oval Santa Fe Trail Signature

     The American Pioneer Trails Association provided a plaque for every school along the Santa Fe Trail and suggested a dedication program for November 16, 1948. Students were to conduct the ceremony and give the addresses. They were encouraged to dress in pioneer costumes for the occasion. This was one effort to mark the Trail since the DAR granite markers were erected earlier in the century. The markers were placed on or near schools, but only a few remain where originally placed.

     In 1948, the American Pioneer Trails Association started their second ambitious project to mark historic sites in our area. White metal oval signs were created to commemorate the Santa Fe Trail. Originally these signs were given to schools along the Santa Fe Trail route, but in 1950, an additional 27 were placed on trees and poles to mark the precise route through Kansas City.

"Known Oval Santa Fe Trail Signs"

     If anyone knows the location of one of these signs, please send information to the email address below. Be sure to note if it is still in its original location or if it has been moved, if it has been moved try to determine where it was original placed or who may have had it before, we would also like to have a photo of the sign.
     Thanks to everyone who has given our site information on their sign.
     Larry & Carolyn

Back to Research Articles

Santa Fe Trail Research Site

Santa Fe Trail Research Site
"E-Mail & Home Page"
Larry & Carolyn
St. John, Ks.
© "Forever"