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National Historic Landmarks

Spring Hill RanchNational Historic Landmarks (NHL) are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. The program was established in 1935 and is administered by the National Park Service (NPS).

Today, approximately 2,500 historic places bear this national distinction. Working with citizens throughout the nation, the National Historic Landmarks Program draws upon the expertise of NPS staff who work to nominate new landmarks and provide assistance to existing landmarks. Additional information about the program can be found on the NPS website.

Kansas is home to 25 NHL's with dates of significance ranging from prehistoric to the 20th century. Many of them are open to the public and some are administered by KSHS. Others are administered by the National park Service and a few are locally owned and operated. See the links below to learn more about Kansas' national historic landmarks.

Black Jack Battlefield, Douglas County
National Historic Landmark: 10/16/2012
National Register of Historic Places: 4/28/2004

Council Grove's Santa Fe Trail-related Resources
National Historic Landmark: 5/23/1963
National Register of Historic Places: 10/15/1966; updated 5/6/1985
These six resources relating to the Santa Fe Trail era were surveyed and listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1963. The trail ruts, dating from the mid-1800s, are located approximately one mile east of Council Grove city limits. The Council Oak is located beneath a protective pavilion on the west side of Main Street next to the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Its significance is derived from the council of three U. S. Commissioners and the leaders of the Great and Little Osage Indians, which took place underneath the tree August 10, 1825. The Post Office Oak was an important landmark along the Santa Fe Trail where travelers often left messages for other travelers. Seth Hays opened the Hays Tavern in 1847, and the current building dates to 1857. It is located on Main Street. Hays' house dates to 1855 and is a small one-story brick structure located two blocks south of Main Street. The Last Chance Store is a one-story stone building built in 1857 that provided the last chance to purchase provisions for the long journey westward.

El Cuartelejo, Scott County
National Historic Landmark: 7/19/1964
National Register of Historic Places: 10/15/1966
El Cuartelejo is an archeological district consisting of the remains of over 20 archeological sites located within and adjacent to Lake Scott State Park. Most sites are representative of the Dismal River Aspect of the Plains dating to proto historic/early historic times. The principal site is a seven-room pueblo called El Cuartelejo. Archeologists believe that this is the location of the village of El Cuartelejo referred to in 17th century Spanish reports. El Cuartelejo was the name given to a Plains Apache village in the High Plains where Taos Indians fled in 1664 to escape Spanish rule. Originally excavated in 1898 by S. W. Williston and H. T. Martin of the University of Kansas, the area revealed the remains of stone walls possibly constructed with nearby boulders. Subsequent excavations have revealed other artifacts. The site was nominated for its association with local pre-history and historic settlement. 

Fort Larned, Pawnee County
National Historic Landmark: 12/19/1960
National Register of Historic Places: 10/15/1966
When it was first established in 1859, this post was called "Camp on Pawnee Fork" and then "Camp Alert," and was situated about 3 miles to the east. In June 1860 the camp was moved to its present location and renamed Fort Larned for Colonel Benjamin F. Larned, U.S. Army Paymaster-General (1854-62). Troops stationed at this fort guarded the Santa Fe Trail and took part in many of the campaigns against the Plains tribes. From 1861 to 1868 the fort served as an agency of the Indian Bureau, distributing annuities of food, clothing, and other necessities to the Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Kiowas, and Comanches as agreed under various treaties. The fort was abandoned by the military in July 1878 and the military reservation was sold at public auction in 1884. For many years the fort site was operated as a private farm. Fort Larned is administered by the National Park Service. Related link: Fort Larned National Historic Site

Fort Leavenworth, Leavenworth County 
National Historic Landmark: 12/19/1960
National Register of Historic Places: 10/15/1966
Fort Leavenworth is the oldest U.S. army fort in continuous existence west of the Mississippi River. Established in 1827 as a frontier post to protect trade on the Santa Fe Trail, it also became essential to overland expansion along the Oregon-California Trail. In 1834 the fort became headquarters for the U.S. Dragoons, the army's first permanent mounted regiment. During the Mexican War, the Army of the West left from Fort Leavenworth. When Kansas achieved territorial status in 1854, Governor Andrew Reeder first had his office at the fort. During the Civil War, the fort was a critical western linchpin for the Union, serving as an arsenal and training point. After the Civil War, Colonel Benjamin Grierson formed the black 10th Cavalry Regiment that distinguished itself throughout the frontier. Fort Leavenworth is the home of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the highest ranked school in the army educational system. Also on the fort are the "Rookery" (c. 1830), which is the oldest continuously occupied residence in Kansas; the Post Chapel (1872); the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery; and the Buffalo Soldier Monument honoring the 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry regiments.

Fort Scott, Bourbon County 
National Historic Landmark: 7/4/1961
National Register of Historic Places: 10/15/1966
Fort Scott was established by the U.S. Army in 1842 to protect Indians and settlers along what was then considered to be the permanent Indian frontier. Troops participated in the Mexican War and missions of western exploration. The post was abandoned by the military in 1853. The buildings were sold at public auction in 1855 and became the town of Fort Scott. The Army returned to the post, garrisoning troops in the town, during the period of Bleeding Kansas (1854-1861), the Civil War (1861-1865), and regional land disputes of the early 1870s. Currently administered by the National Park Service, the site includes 20 major historic structures, 33 historically furnished rooms, museum exhibits, and a bookstore. Interpretive programs, guided tours, and special events are offered throughout the year. Related link: Fort Scott National Historic Site

Haskell Institute, Douglas County 
National Historic Landmark:  7/4/1961
National Register of Historic Places: 10/15/1966
Founded in 1884, Haskell Institute was one of the first large off-reservation boarding schools for Indian students established by the Federal government.  With the exception of the Haskell Institute Cemetery, no structures remain from the earliest period of building and development extending from 1884 to 1894. There are five buildings, which date from the secondary period of expansion, between 1895 and 1915. The third period of development at the Institute extended from the 1920s until the mid 1930s. There are six structures, which date from this period and are thematically related to the school's historical development. Today, Haskell continues to serve the educational needs of American Indian and Alaska Native people from across the United States.  Related link:  Haskell Indian Nations University

Hollenberg Pony Express Station, Washington County 
National Historic Landmark:  11/5/1961
National Register of Historic Places: 10/15/1966
This site is associated with both the Oregon-California Trail and the Pony Express. In 1858 Gerrat and Sophia Hollenberg moved their business establishment to the present site of Hollenberg Station in Washington County. He realized that there he could capture the growing trade from the St. Joseph branch of the Oregon-California Trail as well as from the older southern branch. Beginning with a one-room log cabin that soon evolved into a long, narrow five-room building, the Hollenbergs sold supplies, meals, and lodging to travelers. Over the years he added barns and sheds so that he could sell draft animals and repair wagons. Hollenberg's road ranch later became a stop on the Pony Express during its brief life in 1860 and 1861, providing food and shelter for both riders and horses. Hollenberg eventually lost hundreds of dollars when the Pony Express went bankrupt. Hollenberg Station is operated by the Kansas Historical Society. Related linkHollenberg Pony Express Station State Historic Site

Constitution Hall, Douglas County  
National Register of Historic Places:  5/14/1971
National Historic Landmark: 5/30/1974
During 1857 this building was one of the busiest and most important in Kansas Territory. Thousands of settlers and speculators filed claims in the United States land office on the first floor. Upstairs the district court periodically met to try to enforce the territorial laws. The Lecompton Constitutional Convention met that fall in the second-floor assembly room to draft a constitution to gain statehood for Kansas. Newspaper correspondents from across the country gathered to report on the meetings. Many Americans feared a national civil war if the convention could not satisfy both proslavery and antislavery forces. They created a document that protected slavery no matter how the people of Kansas Territory voted. Eventually the Lecompton Constitution was defeated at the national level. It never went into effect. Related linkConstitution Hall State Historic Site

Lower Cimarron Spring, Grant County  
National Historic Landmark: 12/19/1960
National Register of Historic Places: 10/15/1966
Located on the Cimarron River, the Lower Cimarron Spring was a stopping place along the Desert Route of the Santa Fe Trail. Used primarily prior to the Mexican War, the spring was the first offering of water during the dry season on the 60-mile stretch of the Cimarron Cut-off Route of the Trail. The Spring was located on the worst and most dangerous stretch of the journey to Santa Fe. The site was nominated for its association with the mid-nineteenth century expansion of settlement. From 1821 until 1880 the Santa Fe Trail figured prominently in the history of the American West. The route of this trail between the Missouri River and the Rio Grande was a highway for travel and communication between these two areas of North America. It was the first great Euro-American land trade route, and it differed from the Oregon, California, Mormon, and other trails which served as highways for emigrants bound for new homes in the far West. The bulk of traffic along the Santa Fe Trail, especially prior to 1848, consisted of civilian traders – Hispanic and American – with some military traffic and few emigrants. Related linksHistoric Resources of the Santa Fe TrailSanta Fe National Historic Trail

Marais Des Cygnes Massacre Site, Linn County
National Register of Historic Places:  6/21/1971
National Historic Landmark: 5/30/1974
On May 19, 1858, proslavery men killed five free state men and wounded five others in a ravine that is now known as the Marais Des Cygnes Massacre Site. The shootings shocked the nation and became a pivotal event in the "Bleeding Kansas" era. A few months later, abolitionist John Brown came to the site and constructed a fortified cabin, where he remained during the summer of 1858.  The site is owned by the State of Kansas and maintained by the Kansas Historical Society.  Related link:  Marais des Cygnes State Historic Site

Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty Site, Barber County
National Historic Landmark: 8/4/1969
National Register of Historic Places: 8/4/1969

Nation, Carry A. House, Barber County  
National Register of Historic Places: 3/24/1971
Constructed in 1882, the Carry Nation House is a painted brick one-story house with a gabled roof. The famed prohibitionist moved into the home in 1889 and soon after began organizing a local branch of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. She fervently campaigned for enforcement of banning liquor sales in Kansas. Nation is known for her extreme acts against saloons and the use of her infamous "hatchet." The house was nominated for its association with Nation and her involvement in the temperance movement. Related link:

Nicodemus Historic District, Graham County 
National Historic Landmark: 1/7/1976
National Register of Historic Places: 1/7/1976
In the years after the Civil War, African Americans moved from the South to pursue better lives. With the assistance of a former slave, Benjamin "Pap" Singleton, freed African Americans began moving north and west to establish communities. Nicodemus was such a community established in September 1877 with the assistance of Singleton and a white Tennessee minister, W. T. Hill. By 1880, the population of the settlement was 260 with 35 residential and commercial buildings being constructed by 1881. Throughout the 1880s, the township thrived establishing such community activities as a baseball team, literary societies, and lodges. In 1887, the town's first bank was in operation. By the 1950s, the population began to decrease with the town losing its post office in 1953. The nationally significant Nicodemus Historic District includes eight buildings within the original townsite. Related link: Nicodemus National Historic Site

Norman No. 1 Oil Well, Wilson County 
National Register of Historic Places: 8/28/1974
National Historic Landmark: 12/22/1977
The Norman No 1. Oil Well was the first producing well in what became known as the Mid-Continent field. It was the first major discovery of oil in the nation since drilling in Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859. Backed by several Neodesha businessmen, William Mills leased land from T.J. Norman to explore for oil. The drilling rig first struck oil on November 28, 1892, but the team had trouble getting the attention of eastern investors. John Guffey and James Galey of Pittsburg eventually became involved, and the first pumping occurred on October 4, 1893, yielding 371 barrels of oil. Because eastern investors still had little interest in developing Kansas oil fields, Guffey and Galey sold out in 1895 at a considerable loss to the Forest Oil Company, a subsidiary of Standard Oil, which opened a refinery at Neodesha before 1900. The Norman No. 1 pumped until 1917, when it was abandoned. In 1961, the City of Neodesha erected a 67-foot reconstruction of the original derrick on the site of the well, and a museum opened in 1970.

Parker Carousel, Dickinson County
National Historic Landmark: 2/27/1987
National Register of Historic Places: 2/27/1987
Built between 1898 and 1901, the Parker Carousel in Abilene is one of the largest created by the Charles W. Parker Amusement Company. The carousel is 40 feet in diameter and has 24 Parker horses and 4 Parker Chariots. The carousel remains in excellent condition and still operates. Parker's firm built some 68 carousels in Abilene between 1896 and 1910, when it moved to Leavenworth. The company remained in operation until the late 1930s. At the time of nomination, it was one of only three Parker carousels that remained largely intact. It was nominated for its association with recreation and entertainment.

Santa Fe Trail Remains, Ford County
National Historic Landmark: 5/23/1963
National Register of Historic Places: 10/15/1966
This set of highly intact Santa Fe Trail ruts can be found 9 miles west of Dodge City along US Highway 50 where 140 acres have been preserved by the Boot Hill Association and made publicly accessible. This section contains a major arch of the trail as it curved across the Kansas countryside. The ruts at this point stretch some 400 feet in width. From 1821 until 1880 the Santa Fe Trail figured prominently in the history of the American West. The route of this trail between the Missouri River and the Rio Grande was a highway for travel and communication between these two areas of North America. It was the first great Euro-American land trade route, and it differed from the Oregon, California, Mormon, and other trails which served as highways for emigrants bound for new homes in the far West. The bulk of traffic along the Santa Fe Trail, especially prior to 1848, consisted of civilian traders – Hispanic and American – with some military traffic and few emigrants. Related links: Historic Resources of the Santa Fe Trail; Santa Fe Trail National Historic Trail

Shawnee Mission, Johnson County
National Register of Historic Places: 10/15/1966
National Historic Landmark: 5/23/1968
Shawnee Mission was one of many established as a manual training school attended by boys and girls from Shawnee, Delaware, and other Indian nations from 1839 to 1862. At the height of its activity, Shawnee Mission was an establishment of 2,000 acres with 16 buildings, including three large brick structures, which still stand. The school was abandoned in 1864 and for the next sixty years the building served variously as Union Army barracks, a dance hall, dairy bottling plant, apartments, and a boarding house. In 1927, the state bought the three remaining buildings and began restoration work and landscaping on the 12-acre grounds. The site is owned by the State of Kansas and maintained by the Kansas Historical Society. Related link: Shawnee Indian Mission State Historic Site

Spring Hill Ranch, Chase County
National Register of Historic Places: 4/16/1971
National Historic Landmark: 2/18/1997
Related Link: Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
The Spring Hill Farm and Stock Ranch is a late 19th century enclosed cattle ranch and headquarters that outstandingly represents the transition from the open range to the enclosed holdings of the large cattle companies in the 1880s. This facet of the national theme of the Cattlemen's Empire is not represented by any other property in this part of the southern plains. The enclosure and consolidation of ranches during the late 19th century was accompanied by the improvement of range cattle through purebred breeding programs and, in the Flint Hills region, a distinctive practice of fattening southwestern cattle on the bluestem pastures during the summer before shipping them to market in the fall. The period of significance extends from the first purchases of ranch land by Stephen Jones in 1878 and extends through 1904, when the ranch lands began to be sold off by Bernard "Barney" Lantry's sons.

Sumner Elementary School / Monroe Elementary School, Shawnee County
National Register of Historic Places (Sumner): 5/4/1987
National Register of Historic Places (Monroe): 11/6/1991
National Historic Landmark (Monroe & Sumner): 11/6/1991
Sumner and Monroe elementary schools are associated with the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, and are significant in the areas of law, politics, government, and social history. In this case, student Linda Brown was refused entrance into Sumner Elementary after attempting to transfer from Monroe Elementary because she was an African American. Her father, Reverend Oliver Brown, was the principal plaintiff in the case when the suit was filed in 1951. The distance of the Monroe Elementary School from Linda Brown's home and the proximity of the Sumner Elementary School to her home was the central reason Reverend Brown agreed to be a plaintiff in the case. The US Supreme Court concluded that "separate education facilities are inherently unequal," denying legal basis for segregation in 21 states with segregated class rooms. Related link: Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site

Tobias-Thompson Complex, Rice County
National Historic Landmark: 7/4/1964
National Register of Historic Places: 10/15/1966

Warkentin Farm, Harvey County
National Register of Historic Places:  2/15/1974
National Historic Landmark: 12/14/1990
The Warkentin Farm in Halstead was developed by Bernhard Warkentin between 1874 and 1908. The farmhouse was designed by well-known Kansas architect John G. Haskell.  This property is significant for its advances in agriculture made on the site and for its reflection of German Russian ethnic heritage. The property symbolizes an important era in the life and career of Warkentin, who is nationally significant for promoting German Russian Mennonite immigration to the central Great Plains region of the United States.  This involvement reflects important trends in the settlement of the Kansas and the American West. Additionally, Warkentin revolutionized the American grain economy through his work with Russian and Turkish Wheat, as well as, American-European wheat hybrids.

Western Branch - National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers
National Register of Historic Places: 4/30/1999
National Historic Landmark: 6/17/2011
The Western Branch is the fifth in a series of 11 branch institutions established between 1867 and 1929 and has continuously provided residential and medical care for veterans since 1886. It embodies the comprehensive federal policies and concepts of health care and rehabilitative care provided in a planned community as they originated after the Civil War and evolved into the first half of the 20th century. The property consists of a medical complex of residential, hospital, and support buildings, the Leavenworth National Cemetery, and a park-like historic landscape with rolling hills, a man-made lake, and curing roads. The historic buildings were constructed between 1885 and the 1940s and largely reflect the popular revival styles of the Victorian era.

White, William Allen, House, Lyon County
National Register of Historic Places: 5/14/1971
National Historic Landmark:  5/11/1976
William Allen White purchased this house in Emporia in 1899, and he resided there until his death in 1944. White was a journalist and author writing about American politics and social changes from Reconstruction to World War II.  During his long and well-known career He operated the Emporia Gazette, wrote fiction and non-fiction for magazine and book publications, and devoted time to the Republican Party. White was an adviser to Theodore Roosevelt and became a leader in the newly formed Progressive Party in 1912. During the 45 years William Allen White resided in his house in Emporia, he was nationally known and respected. Related link: Red Rocks State Historic Site

Whiteford (Price) Site, Saline County
National Historic Landmark: 7/19/1964
National Register of Historic Places: 10/15/1966
Related link: "The Whiteford Family of Salina: Mid-Twentieth-Century Avocational Archeologists." By Donna C. Roper. Published in Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains (Winter 2002/2003; vol. 25, no. 4)