At this point US-50 is identical with these famous
trails which from the Missouri River followed the same
general route. Near here they branched, the words "Road
to Oregon" on a rough board pointing out the northern
fork. So simple a sign, one writer observed never before
announced so long a journal.

        Here a second sign pointed southwest along the
Santa Fe trail. Of its 750 miles, two-thirds lay in
Kansas. As early as 1821 pack trains hazarded this
route between the Missouri and Spanish frontiers. By
1825 it had become a commercial wagon road.

        From 1840 to 1870 thousands of travelers plodded
the 2,000 tortuous miles of the Oregon trail, recording
with fearful monotony the new graves along the way.
Down the Santa Fe Trail went troops bound for the
Mexican War of 1846-1847. Over these two roads, branching
here into the wilderness traveled explorers, traders,
missionaries, soldiers, forty-niners, and emigrants, the
pioneers who brought civilization to the western half
of the United States.

Erected by the Kansas Historical Society and State Highway Commission

Historical marker on US-56
East of Edgerton
Johnson County


March 23, 1999 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas / history@kslib.info

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