Inside JCPRD: Santa Fe Trail Bicentennial

The 1906 DAR Santa Fe Trail marker at the Lanesfield Historic Site today.

By the Johnson County Museum                                                                                             

This September is the 200th anniversary of the first organized wagon train down the Santa Fe Trail. The route between Independence, Mo. (and later Westport, Mo.) to Santa Fe, México (New Mexico, today) was a vital economic generator and captured the American imagination then as now. Between 1821 and the 1880s, several other trails – besides the Santa Fe, the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails – all crisscrossed the county and led many thousands of people to what is now the wider American West. Johnson County’s proximity to the Missouri “jumping off” points meant this rich history played out across its landscape for more than a half century.