Travel fort to fort, past to present, a way to inspire your imagination. The Frontier Military Historic Byway will bring to life the deep-rooted history of Kansas and the passion and resiliency of the people that forged the western frontier. Just as the original military route connected each fort, the communities along the byway are connected still today. A ribbon of history weaves together the years of passage along the old military route.
The Frontier Military Historic Byway was originally built to move soldiers, supplies and to provide a support system to westward immigrants. The byway in Kansas is 168 miles in length, beginning at Ft. Leavenworth and ending in Baxter Springs on the Kansas/Oklahoma border. Ft. Scott is approximately halfway to Ft. Gibson, Oklahoma. Interestingly, trading posts were common every 15 to 20 miles along the route for the convenience of travelers. The cavalry and pioneers would travel about 15 to 20 miles per day, which was about the limit for the horses, cattle and oxen.
Anna Deavere Smith, artist in residence at the Center for American Progress, once said; “The American idea is as promising, imaginative, and full of the unexpected as the land itself. The land represents freedom – the frontier, the ability to make a new future with your own bare hands.”
This byway encompasses the American idea and rich hstory abounds along the route. We quickly learned how significant the many issues of the 1800’s influenced not only the future of Kansas, but also of the entire nation. For example, just south of our personal residences in Johnson County, we discovered the Potawatomi Trail of Death. In 1838 the Potawatomi Indian Nation was ordered to move from Indiana to Kansas by the U.S. Government. As with several of these tribal relocations, several people died of illness along the trail. As another example of the influential history, the Mine Creek Battlefield State Historic Site is located just south of Pleasanton, where one of the nation’s largest cavalry engagements of the Civil War took place. This byway and the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area is rich with many other points of history. We would encourage you to visit the respective web sites for additional information. We were amazed to learn of the many encounters one can have while traveling the byway. We are confident you will be amazed as well.
Our purpose with these walks is to promote byway tourism/hospitality, physical fitness and to enjoy new experiences/people. Once again, our expectations for this eight-day walk were clearly exceeded. (While we have only completed 6 days of the walk due to scheduling conflicts, we intend to complete the remaining portion of the walk in the near future). We encourage you to walk. We encourage you to travel; take a day trip or two. Take a two or three day trip within Kansas. Take your time. Meet the historical cultures and the many friendly people of the Frontier Military Historic Byway and all of Kansas!
Our next walk will be May 3-6 when we walk the Wetlands & Wildlife Scenic Byway. Join us in person. Or join us on our blog.
We will be involved with a special two-mile walk on May 8 along the Turkey Creek Streamway Trail to help promote tourism in Merriam, KS for tourism week. We expect several walkers to join us, concluding with breakfast at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Merriam.
Happy Trails 4 Health, Wellness and Happiness!
Walking with L (Lindstrom) and C (Cook)
For many, the story of Kansas is defined by cowboys and Indians, cowtowns and the “wild west” portrayed in the movies. Those stories certainly are a colorful part of our rich history, but more importantly the values they stood for are carried on today. Values like being a good neighbor, caring about others and hard-work can still be found deeply embedded in the people of those cowtowns. From the days of “Wild Bill Hickok” to President Eisenhower through today’s warm welcome at the Visitor’s Center in Abilene, those values define what life on the trail, Chisholm Trail, is all about.