Fort Scott. Santa Fe Trail remains. Fort Leavenworth. What do these three iconic Kansas locations have in common? They are all historic gems that represent an important part of Kansas’s history. You learned all about these locations during your high school history class, but did you know about these 11 equally important hidden historic gems located in Kansas? They include:
Get your kicks (lunch and gas) in this old Route 66 town, which served as the inspiration for the fictional Radiator Springs in Disney/Pixar's Cars.
2. El Quartelejo Ruins (Lake Scott State Park)
Located in Lake Scott State Park, the El Quartelejo Ruins are thought to have been built in the late 1600s by a tribe of Pueblo Indians after escaping the rule of Spanish immigrants in New Mexico. El Quartelejo was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964.
3. Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum (Atchison)
Tour this beautiful mid-19th-century Gothic Revival home, which, coincidentally, was once owned by Amelia Earhart's family. (If you time your visit right, you may even get in on the annual Amelia Earhart Festival.)
4. Kansas Barbed Wire Museum (La Crosse)
Don't scoff at the concept until you check out this impressive collection, which showcases not only thousands of barbed wire varieties, but their importance during the settlement of the west.
5. Hollenberg Pony Express Station (Hanover)
Built in 1858, the Hollenberg (or Cottonwood) Pony Express Station served weary travelers along both the Oregon and California trails. Today, the old Station is still open for business, only this time in the form of a museum.
6. Comanche, Little Bighorn Survivor (Lawrence)
Located at the University of Kansas's Natural History Museum is that of the taxidermied Comanche, who was thought for years to be the only survivor of the infamous Battle of the Little Bighorn.
7. Marais des Cygnes Massacre Site (Pleasanton)
The site of the final Bleeding Kansas incident, in which pro-slavery leader Charles Hamilton killed five unarmed men, houses both an original fort, house and memorial.
Featuring the original First Baptist Church, St. Francis Hotel, schoolhouse, Township Hall, and African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Nicodemus National Historic Site beautifully showcases the only still-standing town developed by African Americans after the Civil War.
9. Little Pyramids (Scott City)
You know all there is to know about the large Castle Rock and Monument Rocks... but did you know that there is another set of smaller, ancient rock outcroppings (formed approximately the same time as the larger ones) located north of Scott City?
10. C.W. Parker Carousel Museum (Leavenworth)
Learn all about vintage carousels and how they're made and operated at the magical C.W. Parker Carousel Museum in Leavenworth.
11. Davis Memorial (Hiawatha)
The gorgeous, albeit haunting memorial was carved entirely of Italian marble by John Milburn Davis after his wife's passing in 1930. The tribute was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.