Love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him, for the Lord is your life! Deut. 30:20

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Adventures in Kansas, February; Part 1

We decided this year that each month we would like to take a trip to places we have never been before in Kansas. In January we went to the Museum of National Treasures in Wichita. And this month, we headed out for an overnighter.

First we drove out of Newton onto Highway 50. We spotted this old one-room schoolhouse off the road and had to take a closer look.

The date above the door was 1896. There were 2 out houses, guessing one for boys and one for girls?

Driving on, we knew we wanted to get off Highway 50 at Clements. Clements wasn't on the map but we knew we had seen the sign before and we remembered it being after the town of Florence. It was well-marked and we pulled off at this vanishing town.

Just outside of town there is a native limestone bridge built in 1886; its massive twin arches were quarried from the Cottonwood River. The Kansas Capitol building and several buildings at Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley and the state reformatory at Hutchinson also are built with this limestone. This bridge is said to be the largest limestone bridge in Kansas.

The bridge is on a road that is now closed but you can drive right up to the bridge . There is a driveway to someone's private property to the right of this dead end. You are allowed to walk on the bridge, but we didn't have snow boots.

To get a good view of the bridge, you need to go back to the new road and continue on. You will pass cows

and horses

then as you look back, you get a good view of the bridge.

We got back onto Highway 50 and pulled off into the little town of Elmdale.

We continued driving through the town on the road (which is also called Old Cowboy Trail). This off-beaten path meanders into Cottonwood Falls.

Cottonwood Falls is the Chase County seat. The courthouse was built back in the 1870's from the native limestone quarried close by. It is the oldest Kansas courthouse that is still in use today.

I really love Cottonwood Falls. I've gone shopping there with my girlfriends. They have great little shops there and a wonderful little cafe!! My husband also took me there on our anniversary one year. We stayed at the Grand Central Hotel. On Friday night, we sat on main street to listen to blue grass music.
Back on the road, this time we drove up 177 on the scenic byway.

The road took us into Council Grove. The city was named after an agreement between the US government and 50 chiefs and warriors of the Osage Nation which allowed settlers' wagon trains to pass through the area and proceed to the West. Pioneers gathered at a grove of trees so that wagons could band together for their trip west.

We stopped for lunch at the Hays House.

The Hays House was built in 1847 by Seth Hays, great-grandson of Daniel Boone and cousin of Kit Carson. He was the first white man to settle in Council Grove. Hays House was used as a trading post, post office, theatre, church, newpaper office and home for US court hearings. In 1857 it was enlarged and became a restaurant and hotel.

Would you believe that Jesse James and Colonel Custer both drank at this bar?

Steps leading to the hotel.

An alligator purse on display. What a fashion statement!!

The original hotel common bath tub.

After a delicious meal including kalua pie (Yum!)we were off again. Once again on 177 but at Alta Vista we turned off onto highway 4 to Eskridge. We had never been on this road before. Very hilly and in the boonies! Such a different experience than Interstate 70!

How would you like a house at the top of this hill? My goodness - can you imagine the view?? And the wind!!

At Eskridge we turned south to highway 31 and on over to 56. aren't welcome at any other time??

A train house?
I will post more of our journey another time with our final destination. I must say that I am enjoying these Kansas adventures!


Rich and Carolyn Dewey said...

What a great travelog! Loving your get-aways! Funny signs...I've got some from China that I'll post sometime! Keep traveling!

Alyssa said...

I have always wanted to stop and photograph that old school house. And we went to Cottonwood falls this summer. Fun pics!

Melissa Jensen said...

You guys are so cool!! THANKS for the history lesson! I read this to Kreg and we both would love to go and do that! Cannot wait to see the final destination

Prissypants said...

So neat! My step dad's family is all in the Council Grove area. I lived in Nickerson from k thru 8th grade before we moved to Oklahoma. So neat to see all the pics and history!! Kansas has such neat historical things everywhere!

Blu-I'd-Blonde said...

Debbie: I always enjoy your photo journals. That country is always full of beautiful vistas. I love driving from Newton to Topeka on the turnpike, especially in Spring.

JoAnn said...

These photos are great! Our dad was born in Clements and then lived in Cedar Point and Cottonwood Falls! Now that is a great place to see. Brothers and I just did our heritage trek through Kansas to see the towns where dad lived...people were so kind and generous.