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Historic Resources of the Santa Fe Trail (Amended 2013)

Thematic Nomination and Multiple Property Documentation
National Register of Historic Places

Photograph of Historic Resources of the Santa Fe Trail (Amended 2013)

National / Multi-State

This document provides a context for understanding the conditions that were associated with travel along and later reuse of the Santa Fe Trail in the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as a basis for evaluating those physical historic resources that resulted from these activities and associations. The 1200-mile Santa Fe Trail system, including both the Cimarron and Mountain routes, traverses 36 counties in five states: four in Missouri, 22 in Kansas, one in Oklahoma, four in Colorado, and five in New Mexico. This transportation route between the Missouri River and the Rio Grande was a highway for travel and communication and was the first great Euro-American land trade route. It was the first major road network to be surveyed west of Missouri, and as such, it was a template for future road development. The Santa Fe Trail 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 1846, consisted of civilian traders - Hispanic and American - with some military traffic and few emigrants.

The document provides 11 historic contexts involving the Santa Fe Trail and the states through which it passes. These contexts include discussion on international trade on the Mexican road during the years 1821 through 1846; the Mexican-American War; expanding national trade on the trail from 1848 to 1861; the Civil War and the trail; railroad development; and later reuse of the trail and commemoration efforts. The document also includes historic contexts for each of the states through which the trail passed.

Property types nominated under this context will include transportation segments (swales, crossings, navigational aids, etc.), travel & trade sites (natural springs, buildings, etc.), military sites, trail graves/cemeteries, monuments/memorials (DAR markers), and cultural landscapes.


Associated Properties