North on scenic K-177 is Manhattan, home of Kansas State University,
established as Bluemont College in 1858. Above Manhattan is the huge
Tuttle Creek dam and reservoir, described in the 1950's by embattled
valley residents as "Big Dam Foolishness."
South on K-177 is Council Grove reservoir, and the historic city astride
the old Santa Fe trail. This was the nation's first major highway
linking the East and the West. The Kaw Indian mission and other
buildings, dating from the trail's heyday, 1821 - 1870, are still to be
seen in Council Grove.
Bluestem pastures -- known locally as the Flint Hills -- abound here.
They extend in a 60-mile-wide strip south to Oklahoma. These succulent
pastures are dominated by Big and Little Bluestem, with assorted other
grasses, nurtured over a limestone base. Upon them a million cattle are
Kansas is on the central bird flyway, and 400 species have been seen in
the state. Of these, about 200 nest here. Many are beautiful, scores are
songsters, and nearly all are beneficial. The state bird of Kansas is
the Western Meadowlark. Both the Eastern and Western Meadowlark frequent
this area. Although the two look alike they can be identified by their
calls -- that of the Western is more melodious.