The Legend of Mount Lookout


 
        Just south of town is the red sandstone bluff first known as Manning's Peak following the killing of a boy by that name in a gunfight in town in 1872. Manning's brothers refused to bury him in Kansas and mistakenly believed that they were across the state line when they buried the departed cowpoke. Discovering their error, they returned from Texas, exhumed the body and returned home. The depression of the open grave is still visible.

        The Santa Fe Railway built a spur line and cattle pens on the hill's eastern slope when Kansas closed its settled lands to Texas cattle and their dangerous "fever" disease. By 1885 the bluff became known as Mount Lookout after local saloon girls kept vigil at the highest point to watch for approaching cattle herds. It was important to be ready for the customers of Caldwell's well-known vices and a few moments notice allowed the businessmen to better display their wares, be they whiskey, dice or feminine charm.

        In the years since, locals and travelers alike have reported on moonlit nights seeing a mysterious woman in white standing motionless atop the hill, her dress waving in the breeze. Apparently looking southward, she seems to again be awaiting the dust cloud of the longhorn cattle, a sure sign of profitable and lively days to come.

 
See the other side
Erected 1996 by donations of Linn, Barbara, Mickey & Scott Shaffer and the Historical Marker Committee

Sumner County  
124 S. Main
Caldwell, KS
Sumner County
 

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Marker text sent by Robert Walter, Pittsburg, KS


September 7, 2000 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas / history@kslib.info

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