The High Plains


 
        Here on the western border of Kansas is the heart
of yesterday's buffalo and Indian country. Until the
1870's millions of buffalo grazed these plains, and in
this area were fought some of the last battles between
Indians and whites. Troops stationed at Fort Wallace,
25 miles east, patrolled the frontier and participated
in many skirmishes with hostile warriors.

        Following generally along the Smoky Hill river, the
Butterfield Overland Despatch crossed near here as it
linked the westward-building Union Pacific (then the
Kansas Pacific) railroad with Denver. Beginning in 1865
this famous stage line carried hundreds of passengers,
in addition to freight and mail. In 1866 Ben Holladay
purchase the Despatch but the same year sold out to
Wells Fargo & Co., which operated the line until the
railroad was completed in August, 1870.

        On Mount Sunflower, 11½ miles north of this marker
is the highest point in Kansas, 4,025.5 feet above sea
level. Westward, the Great Plains climb to merge into
the foothills of the Rockies. In the opposite direction
they descend gradually to the fertile river valleys
and woodlands of eastern Kansas.

Erected by the Kansas Historical Society and State Highway Commission

In roadside park on US 40
at the Kansas-Colorado Line,

Wallace County

Marker text sent by Mike LeMasters, Wichita, KS

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September 5, 1997 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas / history@kslib.info

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