Santa Fe Trail

Santa Fe Trail Marker

This marker, set by The Daughters of the American Revolution and the state of Kansas in 1906, commemorates the Santa Fe Trail where it passed through Lenexa. It is located at the Southwest corner of Santa Fe Trail Drive and Noland Road in Bradshaw Park, downtown Lenexa. This park is part of the original right-of-way that ran through the fruit farm of Squire Charles Alfred Bradshaw. Squire Bradshaw sold the land to the railroad for $1.00 with the stipulation that a depot be erected and maintained on the property.

This park is the third home for this marker. Originally, the DAR placed it on the west side of the road at 105th and Pflumm. Later, the stone was moved to Caenen Lake Road and Santa Fe Trail Drive, near the Lenexa Lumber Company. Finally it was moved to its present location.

The Santa Fe Trail Time Line:


Prior to 1540 American Indians establish trade and travel routes that later become part of the Santa Fe Trail. During the years of 1540 -1541, Francisco Vazques de Coronado explores from Mexico to Quivira (Kansas). The horse was first introduced on a large scale into what is now the U.S. by Coronado. These animals eventually mingled with large French Norman horses brought to Canada by French settlers, producing the wild horses later found in North America.


Juan de Onate spends five months traveling with wagons and artillery through the Plains.


Paul and Peter Mallet make first French trading venture to Santa Fe from Illinois country.


Frenchman Pedro Vial travels from Santa Fe to St. Louis for Spanish government.


On May 2, 1803, the Louisiana Purchase is signed. President Thomas Jefferson pays $15 million for 828,000 square miles of land, doubling the size of the U.S.A.


The Lewis and Clark expedition (45 men in a 55-foot keelboat and two pirogues) which on May 14, had started up the Missouri from near St. Louis, encamped on June 26 "at the upper point of the mouth of the river Kanzas," and remained for three days.


Zebulon Montgomery Pike starts from St. Louis for Santa Fe.


Jules de Mun and Auguste Pierre Chouteau traverse the Arkansas route.


Mexico wins independence from Spain. William Becknell's party from Missouri is welcomed in Santa Fe. In 1821, the eastern terminus was Franklin, Missouri; by 1832, Independence, Missouri; and by 1845, Westport Landing (now Kansas City, Missouri).


"The whole distance from the settlements on the Missouri to the mountains in the neighborhood of Santa Fe, is a prairie country, with no obstructions to the route ....A good wagon road can ... be traced out, upon which a sufficient supply of fuel and water can be procured, at all seasons, except in winter." -- Alphonso Wetmore, 1824. Mule and ox drivers made day-to-day Trail operations work. Mexican arrieros (muleteers) were famous for their abilities. Oxen became favored to pull freight wagons. Pittsburgh-made Conestoga wagons hauled 2 -3 tons of freight. Later, wagons were made in Missouri.


William and Charles Bent and Ceran St.Vrain build Bent's Fort.


Texas wins independence from Mexico.


Trader Josiah Gregg chronicles his trips over the trail in Commerce of the Prairies.


U.S. invades Mexico.


The Mexican-American War ends. The United States acquires almost half of Mexico's lands (including New Mexico) in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.


The discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in California increases the traffic on the Trail.


A cholera epidemic swept through the Middle West and West after passing through the South the previous year. From New Orleans it fanned through the U.S. and was checked in successive advances only by cold weather.


Fort Union, New Mexico, is established to help protect the Trail's commerce.


The Civil War lasts until 1865.


The battle at Glorieta Pass in New Mexico holds the Southwest for the Union.


A cholera epidemic decimated many U.S. cities. About 200 a day died in St. Louis, Mo., during the height of the epidemic.


The Trail grows shorter as the railroads push westward.


The Santa Fe Railroad reaches Raton Pass on the Mountain Route.


The Santa Fe Railroad reaches Santa Fe; the Santa Fe Trail slips into history.


The Daughters of the American Revolution begin erecting Trail markers.


The Santa Fe Trail Association forms to help preserve and promote awareness and appreciation of the Trail.


Congress designates the Santa Fe Trail a National Historic Trail under the National Trails System Act.