Chisholm Trail may earn National Historic Trail designation

Cattle drive trail went through Marion County

Staff writer

The National Park Service is conducting a study to determine whether a cattle drive trail that passed through Marion County should be designated a National Historic Trail.

If the Chisholm Trail earns the designation, it would join the Santa Fe Trail as the only two historic trails in Marion County.

The Chisholm Trail was a cattle drive trail from the 1860s through the 1880s. Ranchers drove cattle from Texas to Abilene, where they sold them to be shipped east on the railroad, Brian Stucky, of Goessel, said. Stucky, an art teacher at Goessel High School, researches historic trails in his spare time.

The historic designation would make grant funds available for marking the Chisholm Trail with signs and kiosks for tourists. To receive the designation, the trail needs to have historic importance. The Chisholm Trail is well known enough that shouldn’t be a problem, Stucky said.

Argument about the route of the trail is, however, a problem, he said. Because millions of cattle were driven to Abilene, the trail consisted of several strands that crossed one another.

The trail certainly passed through Marion County, he said. It ran about one-half mile east of K-15 near Goessel and went west of Lehigh, Stucky said. Other strands of the trail possibly passed through the county.

Another cattle trail, the Great Western Cattle Trail, is being considered for historic designation. It ran from Texas to Dodge City.

The National Park Service is seeking input on the studies of the Chisholm and Great Western trails at public meetings. There will be a meeting 5 to 7 p.m. June 24 at the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum auditorium, 204 S. Main St., Wichita. Another meeting will be 5 to 7 p.m. June 25 at the Abilene Civic Center, 201 N.W. Second St., Abilene.

For more information about the meetings call the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum at (316) 265-9314 or the Abilene Civic Center at (325) 676-6211.

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