Sunflower and Cornhusker States – Kansas and Nebraska

On October, we moved to Captain Critter’s Country RV Campground in Nebraska.  On that same day, we visited Fort Laramie and Scotts Bluff.

Fort Laramie NHS was first established in 1834 as Fort William.  It was only 100 by 80 feet, and it was used for trading furs with the Native Americans.  Later, Fort William was replaced with a larger adobe-walled structure which was called Fort John.  In 1841, people moving west started to become frequent (and the fur trade was declining), so Fort John began to become more of a place to help travelers.  In 1849, the U.S. army bought Fort John and renamed it Fort Laramie.  They began construction on it for a military post and built houses, a bakery, stables, a guardhouse, and more.  Over time, it grew in both size and importance, and Fort Laramie became a primary role in transportation and communication.  In 1890, Fort Laramie was abandoned and sold, and it 1938, it became part of the National Park System.

At Fort Laramie, we were able to walk around and go into most of the buildings.  Some were almost gone, while others were in fairly good condition.  In most of the houses, we couldn’t go into the rooms, because there were clear dividers blocking the doorways, probably to keep the furniture and items in the rooms in good condition.

Scotts Bluff NM was a major landmark for Native American tribes and travelers in the 19th century.  Mentioned in diaries and journals, it is the second most brought up landmark on the Oregon, Mormon Pioneer, and California trails.  While we were there, we hiked a few short trails.  An interesting fact about the monument is that it contains the only three vehicular tunnels in Nebraska.

October 6, 2019 (camped on the side of the road in Hill City, Kansas)

The next day, we went to Agate Fossil Beds National Monument.  It is a place with lots of fossils, and we got to hike a trail and see Devil’s Corkscrew fossils.  They at first were argued to be either burrows of plant roots, but now they are thought to be burrows.  An extinct beaver-like animal called the Palaeocastor was often found inside the corkscrews.  Scientists did research and found that the toothmarks of the Palaeocastor matched the ones on the corkscrews.  Thus, they concluded that the Devil’s Corkscrews were Palaeocastor burrows.

October 7, 2019

On Monday, we moved to 4 Aces RV Park in Kinsley, Kansas.  We also went to Nicodemus NHS and Fort Larned NHS.

In the late 1800’s, after the civil war, formerly enslaved African Americans moved to Kansas in the hopes of personal freedom and becoming independent.  They started a town which they called Nicodemus, and it is still an all African American town.  We went to the visitor center and got to talk to the people there and look at the displays.  It was cool that the people working at the visitor center were related to the people who’d originally moved to Nicodemus.

After, we walked around the town and stopped at the historic buildings, such as a church and house.  We also stopped at a playground which my brothers played in.

Fort Larned operated from 1859 to 1878.  It was used to protect traffic on the Santa Fe Trail from hostile Native Americans.  At the fort, we were able to see the different buildings.  A bakery building filled with fake loaves of bread caught my attention.  There were also other buildings such as a barracks, hospital, storehouse, blockhouse, arsenal, and blacksmith.  My brothers really enjoy going to blacksmith buildings when there are people working in them.  When we went into it, there was a man working there who showed us how he worked, and he even gave us a metal ring which he fashioned just for us.

Leave a Reply