Fort Harker

Fort Harker GuardhouseFort Harker Guardhouse

Fort Harker was a short-lived but relatively important outpost along the Smoky Hill Trail as well as the military road from Fort Riley to Fort Larned. Located in Ellsworth County, about a mile north of the Smoky Hill River, Fort Harker was an active military fort from November 17, 1866 to October 5, 1872.

The fort was named after General Charles Garrison Harker who was killed in the Civil War at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain. It was built as a larger replacement for Fort Ellsworth which had been located about a mile southwest of Fort Harker.


Kanopolis, Kansas

Kanopolis Ad Lawrence Journal May 1886Kanopolis, Kansas was incorporated on January 6, 1887 on the former site of Fort Harker, an important military outpost on the Smoky Hill Trail.

Fort Harker was an active military post from 1866 to 1872. It was shut down in 1872 after the railroad reached Denver and hostile Indian attackes decreased in the area. In 1870 the Department of Interior was tasked with selling the Fort Harker Military Reservation which comprised a total of 10,240 acres of land.  A Dr. Hodge purchased the land but then sold it to Colonel Henry Johnson for $4,177.50. Then in 1885 a land syndicate based in Ohio purchased 4,740 acres of the land including the main buildings of Fort Harker for $71,000 from Colonel Johnson.

With grand plans for the new town they were going to establish, the land syndicate formed the Kanopolis Land Company and began plans for what they envisioned would become one of the largest cities in the relatively new state of Kansas. The name Kanopolis comes from combining “Kansas” and “Metropolis”.  Envisioned by the developers as becoming a large city and possibly even the future Kansas State Capitol, they laid out the town on a grand scale with plans to accommodate a population of 150,000.


Faris Caves

Faris CavesFaris Caves

Located along the banks of the Smoky Hill River in Ellsworth County, Kansas the Faris Caves are manmade caves carved into the sandstone rock by an early settler in the area named Charles Griffee. Mr. Griffee came to the area in 1884 and purchased some land just east of what had been Fort Harker, Kansas (modern day Kanopolis, Kansas) from a Mr. Atwood. Having been a miner in Colorado and with a shortage of trees in the open prairie at that time,

Faris CavesFaris Caves


Sage Inn and Stagecoach Stop

Sage Inn Stagecoach StationSage Inn Stagecoach Station

The historic Sage Inn and Stagecoach Station in Dover, Kansas dates back to 1865 and is currently operated as a Bed and Breakfast.

The Sage Inn was founded by Alfred Sage after he and his brother John and their families moved to Kansas from Iowa. Originally from Sommersetshire, England the Sage’s immigrated to New York in 1848 and moved to Iowa in 1854. Active in the abolitionist movement the Sage’s decided to move to Kansas in July 1856 to help Kansas become a free state.


Buffalo Bill’s Well at Cow Creek Crossing

Cow Creek 1 small2

Located southwest of Lyons, Kansas in Rice County, Kansas is an important historic site on The Santa Fe Trail known as Buffalo Bill’s Well or the Cow Creek Crossing. This area was an important campground on the Santa Fe Trail from 1822 to 1871 and the site of several skirmishes or battles with Native Americans as well as other events of historical significance.

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