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Council Grove, Kansas

Council Grove, Kansas

They Gathered at "The Grove." The name "Council Grove" originated from treaty negotiations conducted here in 1825. The treaty, forged between U.S. commissioners and Osage Indian chiefs, granted whites safe passage along the Santa Fe Trail.

The site of Council Grove was a camping and meeting place for native Americans, explorers, soldiers and Santa Fe Trail traders. Here they found ample water, grass and abundant wood due to the extensive groves of hardwood timber. As a rendezvous point for caravans moving west on the Santa Fe Trail, Council Grove provided both Hispanic and American travelers an opportunity to repair wagons and secure provisions in preparation for the long overland trip to Santa Fe.

The Kaw (or Kansa) Indians lived in three villages located three, seven and ten miles southeast of Council Grove from 1848 until their removal south to Indian Territory in 1873.

Noted personalities such as John C. Fremont, Kit Carson, General Custer and the great Kaw chief, Al-le-ga-wa-ho, are associated with Council Grove. Town founder Seth Hays was the great grandson of Daniel Boone and Kit Carson's cousin.

Today the famous "Hays House" restaurant still operates in the store building constructed by Seth Hays in 1857. Because of efforts to preserve our many historical buildings and sites, Council Grove offers visitors an encounter with Authentic western American history.

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Last Chance Store

Like its name warns, this store was once the "last chance" for travelers on the Santa Fe Trail to buy supplies for their journey to New Mexico. Built in 1857, the limestone structure is the oldest commercial building in Council Grove and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Council Grove, KS Pioneer History

Custer Elm

Legend has it that while patrolling the Santa Fe Trail with his famous 7th Cavalry Regiment, George Armstrong Custer camped under the huge elm that flourished at this site. The massive trunk is all that remains of this tree that measured more than 100 feet tall and 16 feet around. Custer bought 120

Council Grove, KS Landmarks


Post Office Oak and Museum

This 300-year-old bur oak (just the trunk remains) served as the unofficial post office for travelers on the Santa Fe Trail from 1825-1847. Passing caravans could leave messages for future travelers in a cache in the base of the tree. A stone building erected in 1864

Council Grove, KS Landmarks

Council Oak

A shelter east of the Neosho River bridge protects the stump of the Council Oak. Gathered in the shade of the big oak on a hot August day in 1825

Council Grove, KS Landmarks

Things to do near Council Grove, KS

Cardinal Creek Farm

Cardinal Creek Farm's team is comprised of educators, social workers, artists, engineers, and nature lovers, who have dedicat...

Circle "E" Feedlot Tours

Custom feeding operation for 12,000 to 15,000 head of cattle. Tours by appointment. ...

Jeffcoat Photography Studio Museum

The legacy of three generations of photographers who recorded the history of Dickinson County for over one hundred years. ...