ALCOVE SPRINGS &
Six miles northwest is Alcove Springs, named in 1846
by appreciative travelers on the Oregon trail who
carved the name on the surrounding rocks and trees. One
described the Springs as "a beautiful cascade of water...
altogether one of the most romantic spots I ever saw."
This country was well-known to early-day traders and "mountain men" as well as to later travelers to the Far West. John C. Fremont and his 1842 exploring expedition bivouacked at the Springs, and Marcus Whitman, with a thousand emigrants to Oregon, stopped there in 1843. Utah-bound Mormons and California-bound goldseekers followed, for only a short distance above was Independence Crossing, the famous ford across the Big Blue river. The Donner party, most of whom later froze or starved in the Sierras, buried its first member, Sarah Keyes, near the Springs in 1846.
The great Tuttle Creek Reservoir at full pool level extends along the Big Blue from Independence Crossing southward nearly to Manhattan.
Historical marker on US-77 & K9
Marker text sent by Mike LeMasters, Wichita, KS