KANZA Chapter of OCTA

~ Oregon-California Trail Association~

Regular Meeting Minutes

Sunday July 12, 2009

Kansas State Historical Society


Officers & Board of Directors – attendance courtesy would be to let another ‘attending’ officer or board member know if you are attending or not attending the meetings.


Officers in attendance:                      Board of Director Member in attendance:     

_X_President – Pat Keegan                     _X_Don Cooper – Past President – Board of Director Member

_X_Vice- President – Glenn Larson          _X_Ted Hopkins - Board of Director Member

_X_Secretary – Alicia Keegan                 ___Lauranell Stewart - Board of Director Member

___Treasurer – Marilyn Hines                       


Introductions of any guests: Anna Smith came with the Larson’s for the tour today.




Alicia & Shea Keegan hosted a KANZA Chapter booth & display in the ‘Tales from the Trail’ Museum, June 20, at Frankfort’s Summerfest


Today’s tour started with a gathering of members at the gazebo, located at the east side the KSHS parking lot. Members showing were: Glenn & Yvonne Larson and their guest Anna Smith; Ted & Arleen Hopkins, Don Cooper, Charlie Wieckert, Bill & Nancy Petersen, Bob Burkhart and Pat & Alicia Keegan.


Alicia briefed the group on the title of the tour and gave them some pre-tour information. After handing out a guide/reference book, we caravanned to the first site which was at the south end of Olathe, Ks. This was a feet in itself do to construction detours, but we made it.


Lone Elm Campground Park hosts the only campsite in the nation where the Santa Fe, Oregon and California trails converged. This is a beautiful walking park…with several historical interpretive signs. There are native grasses & wildflowers gardens. You can walk across the ‘grated’ spring, and enjoy a very large open picnic shelter.


Next was the town of Gardner which was established after the already known trail divide was established and well known among western emigrants. With the Junction Park being located some distance south of the actual trail junction we figured this was how the park was able to be named Gardner Junction Park.


The Gardner Junction Park creates a major link in what will become a recreational trail built within the historic corridors of these three National Historic Trails.


The park land almost two acres in size was owned by the Kansas Department of transportation (KDOT). KDOT donated the triangular-shaped piece of land to the city of Gardner.


There was already at the site a marker originally placed by the Kansa State Historical Society (KSHS). Because the sign was both dated and cracked, the KSHS readily agreed to its replacement with a larger park replete with a plethora of new interpretation.


The park includes a loop trail, a parking area, numerous interpretive panels, and a shelter, and will become a trailhead for a 40-mile recreational trail in the historic corridor of the Independence Route of the Santa FeOregon – California National Historic Trails.

Travis Boley, OCTA Assn. Manager


Driving northwest we arrived in the area of the famed Bluejacket Crossing. Bluejacket's ferry was a flatboat built in 1855. It was very interesting learning about the man Bluejacket, for whom the crossing is named for. Chief Charles Bluejacket was an Indian Chief, minister, farmer, and Union Civil War Captain. In 1998 the KANZA Rut Nuts had visited a Wakarusa crossing on Mr. Gage’s land.





Not far down the road lays the famed Blue Mound.

The Mound is about a mile long. This great bump on the plain was a favorite spot for skylarking emigrants, and many of them climbed to the top for the big view. (Fremont used the mound, in 1843, as a signal mound.)

The Oregon Trail Revisited by Gregory M. Franzwa; page 130


We drove for a short distance, to the south edge of Lawrence, were the Upper Wakarusa Crossing & Blanton Bridge location exist.

There were several crossings of the Wakarusa. This is the upper crossing. It was also known as the Blanton’s Crossing. But by that time, the Oregon-California Trail traffic was about over.

Wakarusa to the Kaw, by Ross Marshall; page 9

Emigrant inscriptions located on Fred Six property, south of the upper Wakarusa Crossing, were discussed during our stop at Fred’s driveway among other things.


By this time we were running late and had already said goodbye to one car load of participates, so we parted ways here for those to take their time driving back to Topeka with more to information to read on the area between Lawrence and Topeka, but unfortunately little to see on public land.


Alicia received many complements on the day and after. I do believe just getting out and being with friends made the day that much more fun. I so enjoyed the putting together and the researching of the information for this reference book.


Submitted by Alicia Keegan, Secretary