Flat Rock/Indian Creek

This location was one of the first overnight stops on the Santa Fe Trail. Around half a mile from this stop Flat Rock Creek flows into Indian Creek. Flat Rock Creek Park now surrounds this historic spot.

Flat Rock Creek Park,
13120 W.103 St. Lenexa, Ks. 66215

  • 1825 –
    Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri arranges for the U.S. Government to survey the Santa Fe Trail. The survey ended in 1827. Joseph Brown and George Sibley survey the Trail. Brown and Sibley designate the location as “Flat Rock Creek”.
  • 1829 –
    Charles Bent, William Bent, David and William Waldo, and others most likely crossed here at Indian Creek, going to Round Grove.
  • 1835 –
    Returning east over the Santa Fe Trail, Col. Henry Dodge and the 1st U.S. Dragoons most likely crossed here, returning to Fort Leavenworth after a 1,645 mile round trip over the plains, in a “tour-de-force” to impress the Indians of the plains.
  • 1838 –
    Following the Santa Fe Trail out of Westport, in route to the Oregon Trail junction, a party of missionaries crossed at Indian Creek. This party included four of the first white women to cross “Kansas” by this route: Mary Gray, Myra Eells, Sarah Smith, and Mary Walker.
  • 1839 –
    Dr. F. A. Wislizenus and the American Fur Company crossed here. Describing the location, Wislizenus said on May 5, 1839 that his group …”marched over the broad Santa Fe road, beaten out by the caravans”.
  • 1846 –
    During the Mexican-American War, many American troops crossed here at Indian Creek, going down the Santa Fe Trail to Mexico. Examples include Lacledes Rangers, a mounted company of 107 from St. Louis, …also a detachment of Illinois infantry volunteers, escorting 30 government wagons crossed here on July 12, 1847.
  • 1849 –
    The California Gold Rush filled the Santa Fe Trail with eager travelers destined for the West, and contemporary guidebooks of the day describe Indian Creek as a good campground the first day out.
  • 1854 –
    Mormon John Davies, with his wagon train on July 2, 1854….”At Indian Creek my wife gave birth to a daughter between 12 and 1 a.m. and at 8 o’clock we rolled out again”.
  • 1861 –
    During the Civil War (1861-1865), Indian Creek crossing was used to move troops and militia between Kansas City and Olathe. Johnson county had been considered a stronghold for southern sympathizers before the war broke out. When Kansas became a state, it was to be a ‘free” state. Johnson County was caught in the crossfire between the guerrilla forces of both pro-slavery advocates and abolitionists, eight guerrilla raids in all. The county was just as likely to be visited by “jayhawkers” from Lawrence, Kansas, as “bushwhackers” from Missouri (also called “Missouri pukes”).
  • 1869 – Lenexa was platted.
  • 1880s –
    Road was still used for local traffic, as well as the creek crossing.
  • 1906 –
    The Daughter of the American Revolution (DAR) marks the Santa Fe Trail with a red granite marker at 105th and Pflumm Road, overlooking the Flat Rock Creek / Indian Creek site to the northeast. This is the same marker that is today in downtown Lenexa.
  • 1996 –
    Kansas City Area Historic Trails Assoc. establish the site of Flat Rock Creek on the Santa Fe Trail. Kansas City Metro Surveyors Assoc. confirm the site by surveying with 19th century instruments as well as modern electronic distance measuring equipment. They further confirm the location with the use of satellite position technology.
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