Marais des Cygnes

Three from the Road #14 – 2010 trip

Rest stop at Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge, Kansas, East of US 69 on Kansas 52

Our Class C motorhome and car at
Marais des Cygnes Rest Area, near Pleasonton, Kansas

Our first day of travel had been in heavy traffic on I40 and I540 (now I49) in Arkansas. Rather than travel busy US 71 in western Missouri, we opted to travel from Joplin, Missouri over to US 69, which runs north in eastern Kansas, paralleling the state line up to Kansas City.

Much of the route we took was on roads that approximates the old military trail used by the Army to transport troops and supplies between the frontier forts. In 1836, President Andrew Jackson authorized $100,00 to build a military road from Fort Snelling in Minnesota to Fort Gibson in what is today Oklahoma.  It was to be used for frontier defense and a patrol system, and, later for commerce.

Around lunch time, we came across another nice rest area. It’s just off US 69 about a quarter mile or so east on Highway 52, adjacent to the Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge.  After lunch, we took a short walk.

Rest stop at Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge, Kansas, East of US 69 on Kansas 52

There is an interesting little interpretive trail through an area with prairie grasses and wildflowers. Signs along the trail briefly describe some of the history of the area, from the times before the explorers and pioneers through the travelers of today.

In the 1850s, before the Civil War, the area we were driving through saw a lot of armed conflict.  Pro and anti-slavery factions from the east had come to Kansas for the fight over whether Kansas would become a free state or a slave state.  On May 19, 1858, pro-slavery forces came from Missouri and captured 11 free-state men, killing five of them in a ravine just to the northeast of the rest stop in what came to be known as the Marais des Cygnes Massacre.

Rest stop at Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge, Kansas, East of US 69 on Kansas 52


Three from the Road is a series sharing images from places we’ve visited.  Initially, each post included thee images, related by a randomly selected location or topic. Posts now may be random choices or pre-planned sequences.  This post is in a series sharing images from our 2010 trip west.

3 from the road, american history, civil war, history, kansas, landscape, on the road, parks, photography, plains, plants, recreational vehicles, river, travel, Travel Photos

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Hilary Oct 17, 2016

    Hi Mike – having checked the route … straight north to south … what a great route to travel. Lovely prairie grasses … the Park looks such a lovely place to visit and great stop-over point … and it’s good to get some guidance re what can be found … cheers Hilary

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