Setting Our Markers

on the
"Old Santa Fe Trail"

    In our continuing effort to mark the Santa Fe Trail, Members of the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail, have made over 150 markers for the marking of the Santa Fe Trail, Trails that branch off of the Santa Fe Trail and other sites that are related to the history in the central part of Kansas.

     The posts for the markers are purchased from farmers in Rush & Ellis County area. Over 100 years old, the limestone posts, which bear the marks of weathering and use with barbed wire, had long since been removed from their original locations as fence posts and were lying in a pasture, fence rows, and behind the old barn or just anywhere we can find them.

"Post Rocks In The Making"

     With a host of hand tools the Chapter members, lead by Mildon Yeager, take on these 300 to 600 lb. pieces of limestone rock. The hand tools are used to cut a rectangle shaped inset about one half inch deep into the stone and they then bore four holes into the corners of the inset. Once this is done the plaque is placed on the the post with a quick drying cement. A special coating is also applyed to the bronze or copper plaques to protect their finish from the weather.

     Mildon Yeager & Bob Rein disigned the process for making the stones. To complete the marking project there have been many work days with most of the Chapter members coming in for an afternoon and compleing several markers all at once.

     After the markers are finished with this process the instalation crew takes over. There are several ways that the markers have been planted along the trail. Tractors with front end loaders, pickups with special attatchments to lift the limestone markers, like a converted hay bale mover, wench trucks and anything else that saves the back is used to plant these large limestone posts.

Marker Is Set Where Is The Next One
Bale Mover & Marker
An Artist At Work
Mildon Sealing Plaque
Fort Dodge, Kansas on the Santa Fe Trail
Planting a Marker
Just A Little More On This Corner
Finishing Touches
Converted Hay Bale Mover Now Marker Setter
Off To The Next Site!

     After the markers are set at a location The Wet/Dry Routes Chapter has determined to have some Santa Fe Trail connection the chapter goes out and sets a Post Rock Marker with either a Bronze or Brass Plaque on it. The job isn't done until Mildon puts his final touch of sealer around the Plaque on each Post Rock Marker.

     I was once was told by an "old timer" that in the old days when these were used as fence posts, that they would be cut from a formation of rock that limestone comes from, then a wagon was brought along side of the post and an old wagon wheel was chained to the standing post. Then the wagon wheel and post was rolled over till the post was in line with the bed of the wagon and the post was slid on to the wagon. Then when the post was to be planted in the ground the process was reversed and the post was installed in the hole that had been dug.

     If you ever get to central Kansas and the town of LaCrosse, which is about 30 miles south of Hay, Kansas, they have a museum that is called the "Post Rock Museum" just on the south side of town that is worth the trip just to see the complete story of just how these large stone posts were made. If you get that close to this part of the country stop at Victoria, Kansas and see just what else can be done with this kind of rock.
Namely the "Cathedral of the Plains"

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Larry & Carolyn
St. John, Ks.
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