Kansas Historic Route 66 Byway
The people of the Cherokee Nation left a lasting legacy to this corner of the State.
The 1836 Treaty of New Echota forced the removal of the Cherokee Nation from lands east of the Mississippi to the new Indian Territory. In addition to the land reserved in modern-day Oklahoma, a strip of roughly 800,000 acres of future Kansas land was also made available to the Cherokee as "Neutral Lands." Encompassing all of modern-day Cherokee and Crawford Counties, this land was intended to separate the white settlers of the east from the Indians of the west. The ultimate success of this land policy is questionable. In 1866, the Cherokee ceded the Neutral Lands back to the United States government. This ground immediately became a part of the State of Kansas.
William Quantrill and his Rebel forces clashed with Union troops in the Baxter Springs Massacre.
On October 6, 1863, Colonel William Quantrill led approximately 400 rebel guerillas westward out of Missouri toward the site of Fort Blair. This Union garrison was located near the Spring River in the area known as Baxter Springs. Quantrill split his forces into two parties. The smaller of these two groups initially engaged the troops at Fort Blair and were repelled. Meanwhile the larger group, lead by Quantrill himself, chanced upon a Union wagon train just north of the fort. The caravan, travelling south from Fort Scott, included General William [sic - James G.] Blunt and about 100 others. Ambushed, the wagon train was decimated and though Blunt escaped, roughly 90 Union troops were massacred.
The mining industry brought robber barons and ne'er-do-wells alike to Southeast Kansas.
In its hey day, the Tri-State mining industry brought tremendous prosperity to the city of Galena. The popular Sapp Opera House hosted plays, orchestras, boxing matches, and even Harry Houdini. Modern-day Schermerhorn Park is built on 22 acres of land granted to the city by Edgar Schermerhorn, a self-made mining tycoon.
With such wealth came corruption. No sooner was Galena a city than it had its own vice district. "Red Hot Street" became an established row of saloons, gambling joints and bawdy houses by the late 1870's and was reportedly frequented by the likes of Jesse and Frank James.
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American Bank Mural
Located on the south side of the American Bank building in Baxter Springs, this sculpture includes 450 separate 8-inch square tiles. Installed in 1995, it depicts the different eras of Baxter Springs' history.
Located just two miles west of the Byway in the Baxter Springs City Cemetery, the National Plot was established in 1869 as a burial site for those Union soldiers killed in the Baxter Springs Massacre.
Galena Murder Bordello
This restored home offers tours and even overnight stays devoted to the story of Madame Staffleback. The murderous madam killed and robbed some 50 clients at a house of prostitution in Galena in the 1890's.