DAR and Wet/Dry Markers The
Marking of the
Santa Fe Trail

by the
Wet/Dry Routes Chapter

Larned, Kansas


DAR and Wet/Dry Markers

     Not sense the turn of the century has such a undertaking been done. The last time was early in the 1900's when the Daughters of the American Revolution marked the Santa Fe Trail in an attempt to save some part of the old trail for future generations. Now in the latter part of this same century a small group of history buffs have banded together and started a domino effect that has spread from one end of the trail to the other in an effort to mark the Santa Fe Trail for all to enjoy till the end of time. This marking project should last well into the next century and beyond. As this group has found out, the work is never done. The research is on going and it never ends. New entries in the words of the people's diaries who settled the west and the one's that made the country what it is today are being found on a daily basic.

This group of hard working people is known as:
Wet/Dry Routes Chapter
of the
Santa Fe Trail

     At the May 28-30, 1992 "Rendezvous" of the Santa Fe Trail in Larned, Kansas, there was a Dedication of the Wet/Dry Routes Santa Fe Trail Markers that had been placed on the Santa Fe Trail. This Dedication took place at a location marked by the Chapter called "Sibley Ridge", located nine miles west of the town of Larned, Kansas on U.S. 56 highway. At this location on September 1, 1825, George Sibley, commissioner of the survey of the road to Santa Fe, paused to contemplate the surrounding countryside. His diary entry for that date reads in part:

     "The waggons passed round the point, still keeping in the bottom about half a mile from the River. I rode upon the Ridge, from the top of which, I could distinctly trace the course of the Pawnee river for a great distance by the fringe of Trees along its banks."

     In the vicinity of present day Pawnee, Edwards, and Ford Counties of Kansas, the Santa Fe Trail was represented by eight separate routes: The original road, later called the Wet Route; Original Dry Route which departed the Wet Route at Forks in Santa Fe Road, three and a half miles southwest of Pawnee Fork; Later Dry Route which departed the Wet Route about one mile southeast of Ash Creek and proceeded southwest to follow the south bank of Pawnee Fork to Fort Larned; the Much Later Dry Route which departed the Wet Route also near Ash Creek and continued on to Fort Larned along the north bank of the Pawnee; and the Fort Larned Military Road which ran south from the post to merge with the Wet Route at Coon Creek near present day Garfield, Kansas. During 1991-1992 the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail placed markers at fifty-five locations on the five routes.

This number has risen to over one hundred and thirty in 2010.
     On the day of the Dedication at Sibley's Ridge, there gathered about 300 people. The address was given by David Gaines, Coordinator of Long Distance Trails, National Parks Service. Gaines said, "Let this section dictate what is to come in other areas. We done good here, folks, the Santa Fe Trail is a microcosm of history. It represents all good and bad in our culture. We can learn from it. As an Easterner who never dreamed I'd see Kansas, We need to listen to one another…We need to put down our guard and…Encourage and support one another." He noted that the next step is to "look at certifying all parts to get them certified as historical sites."

     The following list is by no means a complete list of contributors to this project, only the ones up to the year of 1992 and the dedication of the markers we had set at that time.

     This Marking Project of The Wet/Dry Routes Chapter to mark the Wet and Dry Routes of the Santa Fe Trail and the Fort Hays/Fort Dodge Road was completed in the summer of 1999. As you read this, the research continues and new evidence will be uncovered. Can a project like this ever be complete? I think not! No, now comes the hard part. The easy places have been found, there are many questions that have been left unanswered and need answers. That's what it's all about, finding new history, not trying to change the history that is already there just to fit what you are researching or trying to prove.

     So the research will continue, new and exciting things will be found and these sites will also be marked for future trail buffs enjoy and visit!

"Property Owners"
of the
Marker Sites in 1992

Floyd Winn Garfield, KS
Nelson Farms Garfield, KS
Merlene Lyman Hays, KS
Mrs. Gertrude Herman Dodge City, KS
Leonard Droste Spearville, KS
John Torline Spearville, KS
Douglas Kasselman Spearville, KS
John Indiek Spearville, KS
Ruth Baskett Amarillo, Texas
Edith Hornung Spearville, KS
Edmund Weiss Offerle, KS
Leonard Robl Ellinwood, KS
Rodney Oliphant Offerle, KS
City of Kinsley Kinsley, KS
Jerome Herrmann Kinsley, KS
Edna Zedren Garfield, KS
Neil Meckfessel Rozel, KS
Charles Schmitt Kinsley, KS
William Eikmeier Chandler, AZ
Larned State Hospital Larned, KS
City of Larned Larned, KS
Robert Lewis Larned, KS
William (Bob) Jost Larned, KS
Elton Johnson Larned, KS
Bill Olsen Kinsley, KS
Elmer Hogan Garfield, KS
David Welch Garfield, KS
Kraig Froetschner Garfield, KS
Lillian Murphy Hutchinson, KS
Flora Ricke Wright, KS
Earl Kingsley Ford, KS
George Herrmann Ford, KS
Duane Riegel Dodge City, KS
Don Fowler Cimarron, KS
Beth Stewart Hattieburg MS
Paul Wetzel Offerle, KS
Steve Wetzel Offerle, KS
Norman Klepper Ellinwood, KS
Joe Schaller Kinsley, KS
Myron Burr Kinsley, KS
Marian Lewis Mapamoa PN
Bill J Bidleman Kinsley, KS
Roy Abrahamson Garfield, KS
Thomas C. Fuller Lawrence, KS
John Welch Garfield, KS
Mabel Cobb Larned, KS
Tom Shirley Dodge City, KS
Alice Zurbuchen Spearville, KS

Santa Fe Trail Research Site

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