Roads.From time to time the legislature has made provisions for highways in Kansas and at the present time the state has quite an elaborate system of highways, most of which run along section lines. Prior to the organization of the territory there were a few well traveled roads, notably the Santa Fe, Oregon, California, Salt Lake and Mormon trails (q. v.). By order of Col. Zachary Taylor, in 1837, a commission consisting of Col. S. W. Kearney and Capt. Nathan Boone was appointed for the purpose of locating a military road from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Coffey in western Arkansas. This road as laid out was 286 miles long and among the more important streams crossed were Spring river, Pomme de Terre, Wildcat, Marmaton, Little Osage, Cottonwood creek, Marais des Cygnes, Blue and Kansas rivers. Fort Scott was located on this highway at a point about midway between Forts Leavenworth and Coffey.
On May 10, 1849, Capt. Howard Stansbury started from Fort Leavenworth and laid out the military road to Fort Kearney, which for some distance followed the California road from St. Joseph, Mo., by way of the Blue river. Shortly after the establishment of Fort Riley a line of communication was established between Fort Leavenworth and that post, which later was extended to Fort Larned. (See Stage Routes.)
The legislature of 1855 passed an act prescribing certain regulations concerning territorial roads, and in a number of separate acts provided for no less than 56 territorial roads, prominent among which were the following: Fort Scott to the Missouri line at or near Phillips' crossing of the Upper Drywood creek; from a point opposite St. Joseph, Mo., to Fort Riley, via Pawnee; from Fort Scott to the Catholic Osage mission; from Osawkee to Grasshopper Falls; from Leavenworth to M. P. Rively's store on Salt creek, via the United States farm; from the Missouri state line through Cofachiqui city, thence across the Neosho river and by best route to Fort Atkinson; from the Shawnee mission church to Tecumseh; from St. Joseph to Marysville; the Santa Fe road between the east line of Kansas and Council Grove; the Santa Fe road between Fort Atkinson and Bent's old fort; a road from Delaware on the Missouri river to Calhoun on the Kansas river, where it divided, the left fork crossing and terminating at Topeka and the right fork intersecting the military road from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Riley.
In 1857 the legislature repealed a portion of the road law of 1855 and provided that roads migh[sic] be viewed, surveyed, established and returns made at any time within two years from the passage of the several acts by which they might be authorized, etc. Thirty-eight territorial roads were provided for by this sesion,[sic] among which were a road from Fort Riley to the Nebraska line; a road from Lecompton to the county seat of Allen county; the military road from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Laramie and the military road from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Riley.
In 1859 the "Parallel Road," also known as the "Great Central Route" along the 1st standard parallel to western Kansas and the gold regions of the Rocky mountains, was laid out. This highway to the Cherry creek diggings was 469 miles long, 641 miles to Denver, and boasted an abundance of wood and water all the way. It was laid out by E. D. Boyd, a civil engineer, in anticipation of a heavy travel from the Missouri river to the new "diggings."
The legislature of 1859 enacted a law providing for the locating and working of highways and for the collection of a road tax, etc. Seven acts relating to roads were passed by this session, one of which declared all military roads within the limits of Kansas territorial roads. Seventeen new roads were provided for by the other acts.
In 1860 the legislature passed acts of incorporation of the "Denver, Auraria and Colorado Wagon Road company," the "Denver City and Beaver Creek Wagon Road and Bridge company," and the "Pike's Peak and South Park Wagon Road company," a general law defining the mode of laying out and establishing roads, and an act providing that all section lines in Brown county be declared the center of all public highways, etc. This act was the first legislation providing for roads on section lines in Kansas.
The territorial legislature of 1861 passed an act declaring the military road from Fort Riley to Fort Larned a territorial road, and the session of the first state legislature the same year passed five acts relating to highways and created 45 state roads.
In 1863 the legislature passed two joint resolutions, one of which memorialized Congress to make a military road from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Scott, alleging that there were no suitable bridges, culverts or other necessary improvements by which to transport such military supplies, and believing that the safety and well being of this branch of the military required this line of communication. The other resolution memorialized Congress to make provisions for bridging and improving the road from Fort Leavenworth via Fort Riley to Fort Larned. The road at that time was said to be without bridges, culverts or other necessary improvements and at some seasons of the year entirely impassable for heavy transportation, causing delay, expense and danger to the military service of the United States.
The legislature in 1864 passed three acts, one of which created sixty-four state roads, and in 1871 eight laws were passed relating to roads and highways, providing that all section lines of Jefferson, Cloud, McPherson, Davis, Montgomery, Chase, Morris, Mitchell, Wilson, Neosho, Anderson, Shawnee, Dickinson, and Morris counties be public highways, excepting three townships in Jefferson county.
At almost every session of the legislature from territorial days to the present time there has been some legislation affecting roads and highways, and only in rare instances are any of the original territorial or state roads left, except such as followed section lines.
With the advent of the automobile and motor cycle a wide spread movement was started looking to the improvement of the road system of the country. This movement is meeting with much encouragement in Kansas, where plans have been perfected to have the "ocean to ocean highway" follow the line of the old Santa Fe trail across the state as closely as possible. On Dec. 1, 1911, more than 2,000 delegates from various towns in central Kansas met at Osage City to attend the meeting of the Santa Fe trail and Pan American Highway association, to decide upon the route connecting the trail between Osage City and Kansas City. A special train bearing representatives from Topeka, Lawrence, Burlingame and intervening points, all of whom favored the route from Kansas City, by way of Lawrence, Topeka and Burlingame, were in attendance, while over 1,000 from Olathe, Ottawa and intermediate points represented those in favor of the route by their towns. A committee composed of one member from each of the interested towns was selected to frame resolutions voicing the sentiment of the convention, their report to the convention being in favor of both routes. (See Trails.)Pages 586-588 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
J | K | L | Mc | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Background and KSGenWeb logo were designed and are copyrighted by
Tom & Carolyn Ward
for the limited use of the KSGenWeb Project.
Permission is granted for use only on an official KSGenWeb page.
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project