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Bear Creek Pass


category : Pioneer History
This pass is one of the most interesting histories in the state of Kansas. Kearny County was fortunate in the creation of the sandhills, with the only natural pass through the low lying hills and sand dunes.

Bear Creek, rising in Colorado, entered the hills in Kearny County running mainly north to what was known as Clear Lake. This made a natural pass through the hills and was known as Bear Creek Pass. It was used before the white man's time by Indians and buffalo. In the seventies and eighties, buffalo hunters and bone pickers traveled it to get to the railroad at Lakin. From which point many carloads of hides and bones were shipped east.

As the Rock Island railroad was not built until 1888, cattle were taken through the Pass to Lakin and shipped to eastern markets.

From 1885 to 1887 it came into its own as a freight route and all transportation went through the Bear Creek Pass.


Come visit us in Lakin, Kansas

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Round Red Barn

The Kearny County Historical Society has purchased the old, 12-sided barn on the west edge of Lakin. It was restored at its present site, and then moved to a foundation at the Museum Complex in 2001. The barn was built in 1909

Lakin, KS Historic Buildings

Santa Fe Depot

Lakin originated as one of the early stops on the Santa Fe Railroad from Dodge City to Colorado in 1872. This depot, constructed in 1876, replaced the original boxcar depot. The depot was moved to the museum site and restored in 1984. Mr. James Thomas, grandson of the O'

Lakin, KS Railroad History

Chouteau's Island

Chouteau's Island was the largest island of timber on the Arkansas River in this area. In the spring of 1816, Auguste Pierre Chouteau was returning to Missouri with several other fur trappers when they were attacked by a large party of Pawnee Indians. Chouteau'

Lakin, KS Pioneer History

Old Commercial Hotel

The Commercial Hotel built in 1883 and run by Mrs. W.P. Loucks, had a good trade. Mrs. Loucks, the genial hostess, was the pioneer hotel keeper of Lakin. She came here in 1879 when Lakin was a way station on the Santa Fe and opened an eating house for the railroad employees. "

Lakin, KS Historic Buildings

Conestoga Wagon

The Conestoga Wagons were used primarily to haul freight on the Santa Fe Trail and other freight trails. They could handle two tons of goods. The wagon in our displayed in the Museum Comples bears the inscription "Joseph Edgar - 1831". There is a series of 1939

Lakin, KS Pioneer History

Things to do Pioneer History near Lakin, KS

Aubey Route

The Aubrey Route, which left the Santa Fe Trail on the Arkansas River at Chouteau's Island and Indian Mound, west of Lakin, c...