Feature: Trip to Baldwin City

Baldwin City and its environs are an area of Kansas filled with history.

Baker University, supported by the United Methodist Church, was founded in 1858 within a log cabin that still exists on the site. Baker University was Kansas' first 4-year college.

The chapel shown here was moved to Baldwin City stone-by-stone from Sproxton (pronounced SPRO-SON), England after the Methodist congregation dwindled and the church was closed in 1988. Approximately 25,000 stones were dismatled and carefully numbered for rebuilding in Kansas. The building weighs 250 tons. The reconstructed chapel was dedicated in October 1996 on the eastern edge of the Baker University campus. Lady Margaret Thatcher and former members of the Sproxton congregation were in attendance.

It was exactly 25 years ago that I last visited Baldwin City for my cousin's wedding. I was back on May 20, 1998. Phyllis graduated from Baker University in Baldwin City during the afternoon and was married to David Gish that evening. Phyllis and David just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.

The Santa Fe Trail, a trade route to Santa Fe, New Mexico, was 700 miles long. About 500 miles of the trail traverse Kansas.

Baldwin City is along the route of the Santa Fe Trail. Just east of the city is a section of the trail whcih includes ruts made by wagon wheels. It can be seen on public land 1/4 mile south of Highway 56, an East-West highway built over much of the trail through Kansas.

Another spot just east of Baldwin City was the site of a battle between pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions battling in pre-Civil War Kansas. The fight was known as the Battle of Black Jack and several lives were lost. This 1856 incident helped earn the state the nickname "Bleeding Kansas." Roadside markers and a picnic area commenorate the site.


All photos © 1998 by Carol Yoho
Select the small photo to see the larger version:

The Osborne Chapel was moved to Baker University campus from Sproxton, England. 
South side
West entrance The entrance to the chapel faces west. The father of Lady Margeret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister, has occasionally preached at the chapel in the mid-1930's. 
There is a walk and garden on the eastern side of the structure. 
Back of chapel (faces East)
Interior of chapel This interior photo shows off stained glass windows. 
Shutters on the interior windows include a rosette motif. 
Interior shutters
Cornerstone marked 1864 This cornerstone of the original church is dated 1864. 
Japanese irises bloom in the chapel garden. 
Irises
Tracks of the Santa Fe Trail Max stands in a rut made by wagon wheels rolling along the Santa Fe Trail. These ruts are on public land just east of Baldwin City, along Highway 56. 
These trees currently stand at the site of the Battle of Black Jack, fought between pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions on June 20, 1856. 
Site of the Battle of Black Jack

All photos © 1998 by Carol Yoho
See our return visit to Baldwin, Oct. '98
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