You are on the eastern edge of a Bluestem pasture area known as the
Flint Hills. Extending past Junction City, this nutritious grazing area
averages 60 miles in width and reaches south into Oklahoma. For
centuries, buffalo in great numbers grazed its acres. Eventually they
were succeeded by rangy Texas cattle. "Texans shipped up the horns and
we put the bodies under them," old Kansas cattlemen used to say. Today
the Flint Hills fatten more than a million fine cattle annually.
White men exploring this region in the early 1800's found only a few Kaw Indian villages. Several miles west, Osages attacked Fremont's 1843 expedition and stole some of its best horses. Later this was part of an Indian reserve for the Pottawatomies.
The Connecticut Kansas colony - of Beecher Bible and Rifle fame - settled at Wabaunsee, 15 miles northwest, in 1856. This Free-State colony erected a stone church in 1862 which still stands. Farther northwest is Manhattan, established in 1855, the home of Kansas State University, designated a land grant college in 1863. Above Manhattan is Tuttle Creek reservoir.
Fort Riley is 34 miles ahead. J. E. B. Stuart, George A. Custer and George Patton, Jr., were among world-renowned cavalrymen once stationed there.
Erected by Kansas State Historical Society and State Highway Commission
Wabaunsee Rest Area