Posts Tagged ‘ kansas ’

American Auto Trail-Kansas’ U.S. Highway 50 is now available on Google Maps

American Auto Trail-Kansas’ U.S. Highway 50 explores the width of the State of Kansas, from Kansas City, Dodge City and on to the Colorado State Line.  Find this guide and others at our website, Auto Trails


Forgotten Landmark–Lower Crossing of the Arkansas, Howell (KS)

Lower Crossing of the Arkansas Arrow

Lower Crossing of the Arkansas (0.5 mile south on 102 Road at Arkansas River)

Caravans wishing to take the Cimarron Cutoff crossed over the Arkansas and headed southwest toward Santa Fe just to the east of this road bridge. This “Lower Crossing” (the “lower” crossing being geographically closer to a river’s mouth) had, according to the Sibley survey team, superceded the crossing five miles east at the Caches by the time of their 1825 survey.  Wagon ruts are visible in the field east of the roadway, south of the crossing, indicated by the yellow arrow. 

Forgotten Landmarks–T.S. Haun House and First National Bank Building, Jetmore, KS

First National Bank Building (Main Street and Highway Street)

This structure was erected in 1888.  In 1892, P.A. Simmons was President and C.E. Wilson was Cashier.  The bank that that time had deposits in excess of $31,000.

T.S. Haun House (Main Street, on west side next to the First National Bank building at Highway Street)

In 1879, lawyer and rancher T.S. Haun constructed the first house on the Jetmore townsite. The T.S. Haun House is a vernacular two-story, hand-hewn limestone building with a simple gable roof. An upstairs office was used to establish the county’s first newspaper and leased by county commissioners for offices and a courtroom after Haun helped establish Jetmore as the county seat. In 1882, Haun surveyed and plotted Jetmore on land that was part of his original claim designating sites for the courthouse, school, and two churches. Haun also donated land to be auctioned to raise funds for the construction of the courthouse. In addition, Haun served a term as county attorney and was elected to the state legislature in 1887. [i]


[i] National and State Registers of Historic Places; Kansas Historical Society;

Forgotten Landmark-Indian Battleground (old Island Park), Larned (KS)

Forgotten Landmark-Pawnee/Cheyenne Battleground, old Island Park, S. Main Street at Pawnee Creek, Larned (KS)

On a site formerly known as Island Park, this battleground was where a bloody conflict between the Pawnee and invading Cheyenne under Chief Black Kettle was witnessed by Colonel Henry Inman in 1860 while on his way to Fort Larned. According to Inman, the Pawnee chief had him tell the enemy that the Pawnee were waiting for them on the willow-covered island between the two streams. As the last of the Pawnee reached the island and disappeared behind the willows, 200 Cheyenne warriors led by Yellow Buffalo advanced, chanting their war song, and plunged into the stream with a shout of defiance, holding their rifles and powder bags above their heads. The Pawnee allowed the Cheyenne to approach within 10 feet before half of them blazed away with their first volley in the very face of the foe. As soon as they saw how many men had been hit the other half followed with the second volley. Then each Pawnee, who, in addition to rifle and bow and arrows, carried two pistols, kept up a steady fire.

Leaving many dead and wounded, the Cheyenne withdrew, only to renew the attack in greater force under Black Kettle, but again they were repulsed with great slaughter, losing fifty men. The Pawnee reported one dead and two wounded, and at sunset remained masters of the field. “But while a victory for the Pawnee, the battle settled nothing,” wrote Inman, “for Black Kettle remained and his Cheyennes continued to hunt on the Pawnee grounds.”

Indian Battleground

Forgotten Landmark-Herington Army Air Field, Delavan, KS

Site of Herrington Army Air Field (Herington Regional Airport, 2.7 miles north of U.S. 56 on S. 2600 Road)

Herington Army Air Field (AAF) was used during World War II by the Army Air Corps as a staging area for overseas deployment of heavy bombers and their crews. These bombers included B-17s, B-24S, and B-29s. Facilities at the field included runways, hangers, fuel storage tanks, barracks, administration buildings, and other related structures necessary for airfield operations. Construction started in 1942, and the field was completed over a 14 month period. In 1945, Herington AAF was deactivated and then declared surplus in 1946. All the property was eventually disposed of and became the Herington Municipal Airport. Today the former AAF serves as the Herington Regional Airport.

Delavan Air Base

Foundations of multiple structures are still evident to the left of the large aircraft apron and the runway.

Forgotten Landmark-WPA Beach House, Gardner Lake, KS


WPA Beach House Satellite 1

This structure was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places for its historical association with the Works Progress Administration’s (WPA) reservoir and recreational project that created Gardner Lake, a project which occurred between 1935 and 1938.  While there are no exact entries for the dates of construction for the beach house, it is likely that its construction occurred simultaneously with the beach, placing its construction between April of 1937 and May or June of 1938. The February 2nd, 1938, Gardner Gazette noted that the “bathing beach is graded and ready for its surfacing of sand.’  Interestingly, the beach house was never specifically identified in the project plans, and one can assume that it was classified as a shelter house at the time of its construction. However, since the beach opened for its first season in 1938, the building as always been known as the beach house.[i]

[i] Hagedorn-Krass, Martha; “WPA Beach House at Gardner Lake”; National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form; April 21st, 1992.

Forgotten Landmark-Anthony Sauer Estate, 935 Shawnee Road, Kansas City, KS


Anthony Sauer Castle (935 Shawnee Road)

The Anthony Sauer residence, popularly known as Sauer Castle, is both architecturally and historically one of the most significant houses in Kansas City, Kansas. It is one of the finest examples in the State of Kansas of the “Italianate Villa,” and may represent the work of the first trained architect in the Kansas City area, Asa Beebe Cross. Its owner, Anthony Sauer, was an important figure in the business life of Kansas City following the Civil War, as well as a pillar of the German-American immigrant community. The house remains as Sauer’s principal legacy to succeeding generations.

Anthony (Anton) Philip Sauer was born on March 10, 1826, at Hessen-on-the-Rhine in Germany. After unsuccessfully seeking his fortune in Australia, he immigrated to New York City in 1858, where he opened a tannery and imported leather from Europe. After the death of his first wife in New York, he sold his business and headed west in search of a more healthful climate. (He was reportedly a victim of tuberculosis.)

In 1867, Sauer came to Kansas City, Missouri, where he established a tannery, was a partner in Crider and Sauer, Wholesale Groceries, and by 1870 was president of the German American Savings Association at 823 Main. Here, he met Mrs. Mary (Maria) Einhellig Messerschmidt, a young German-American widow with two daughters. They were married in 1869. Before his marriage, Sauer had been looking for a place to build a home; and now, with a wife and a growing family (including five children of his own by his first wife, and Maria’s two; they eventually would have five additional daughters), he began to look in earnest.  He decided on a scenic site that was high on the ridge south of the Kansas River, reportedly because it reminded him of his native land in that the site overlooked the river as his father’s home had overlooked the Rhine. The land was on the south side of the old Shawnee Road, which since the 1830s had linked Kansas City, Missouri with Shawnee Town in the Shawnee Indian Lands. The property had become part of the 200-acre allotment of a Shawnee named Big Knife and his wife following the division of the Shawnee Reserve in 1854. By 1870, the land, some 74.62 acres in extent, was in the hands of J. L. Pritchard who had developed it as a fruit farm.

Strongly interested in horticulture, Sauer purchased the Pritchard farm in late 1870 or early 1871. Primarily, he wanted to raise grapes for the manufacture of wine. It is estimated that the Sauers spent about $60,000 improving the property, and $20,000 of that sum went into the erection of the spacious brick house. The three-story, twelve-room house with high ceilings was large for a Kansas home of the period, perhaps the largest in Wyandotte County at the time. With the exception of the stones used for the foundation, all of the material for the house was reportedly shipped by boat from St. Louis.

The house was quite sophisticated for its time and location, and has been called the finest example of an Italianate Villa in the state. Given the quality of the design it is probable that an architect was involved. The name most often suggested is that of Asa Beebe Cross, the first professional architect in Kansas City, Missouri. The design would have been consistent with Cross’ other work of the period, and a well-to-do businessman like Sauer would probably have known him.

The house was furnished and occupied by November of 1872, ending a building campaign of almost two years. But Anthony Sauer occupied his house for less than seven years. He died in the master bedroom on a hot summer night, August 16th, 1879, succumbing at last to the tuberculosis that had driven him west. Mrs. Sauer continued to live in the house until her death in 1919. Both the Sauers and several of their children are buried in historic Union Cemetery in Kansas City, Missouri.

Various members of the family continued to live in the home for many years. In May of 1914, while Mrs. Sauer was still alive, the Sauer Heirs (Maria Sauer, Clara Sauer, Thomas B. and Josephine Sauer Kinney, John S. and Eva Sauer Perkins, and George and Antoinette Sauer McLean) had the south 59 acres of the Sauer estate platted as Sauer Highlands, a 12 block subdivision. A lot just west of the house had previously been sold to L. J. Gilles, a son-in-law, and the remainder of the northern portion of the property was platted in March of 1921, as Sauer Highlands Annex by Thomas B. and Josephine Sauer Kinney. The house itself occupies Lot 1 of this subdivision, some 3.13 acres in size. Mr. Paul Berry purchased the land and mansion from the Sauer heirs in 1954, and resided there until his death in December of 1986. With Mr. Berry’s consent, the property was entered on the National Register of Historic Places on August 2nd, 1977.[i]