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Above the Kaw River

Max joins the Pony Express US Highway 75 leads north from Topeka, crosses the Kansas River and stretches upward toward Nebraska. The current highway follows a route used by the Underground Railway in Civil War times. Turning west onto US Highway 36 takes one through Seneca to Marysville. Marysville once had a ferry across the Big Blue River and was a stop on the Pony Express route.

Seneca is on US Highway 36. A few miles
north of Seneca, nestled in rolling Kansas hills, is
St. Mary's Church
. The tall, graceful church was
built in 1883
and restored in 1983. It is beautifully
built, both inside and outside, and is worthy of a stop.
St. Mary's exteriorSt. Mary's interiorholy water
Marshall Co. courthouseMarshall Co. courtroomiron lungferry boat replica

Mr. Marshall
ran a ferry across the Big Blue River for travelers using the Oregon Trail. He charged $5. towage per wagon. A town nearby was name after Mrs. Marshall, Marysville. The county was named after Mr. Marshall, Marshall County. The Marshall County Museum is housed in a beautiful old county courthouse. A park at the west edge of town has markers that explain the many trails that crossed the Blue River at Marysville and there is a replica ferry barge at the site.


Alcove Spring is a pleasant nature park south of Marysville. It is located three-quarters of a mile up a tributary of the Big Blue River. Discovered by travelers on the Oregon Trail, the site was often used for rest and relaxation by those who waited for the swollen waters of the Big Blue to recede in springtime, thus assuring safe passage westward. The famed Donner Party paused at the spring in May 1846. While there, Sarah H. Keyes, the mother-in-law of party co-leader James F. Reed died. In her honor the Daughters of the American. Revolution placed a marker.

In early August, as we visited,
it was dry and water did not run over the rock falls at the spring. But the glade was cool and the wildflowere prolific.

Alcove Spring rockpathAlcove Springpath, alsofoot bridgeNancy on foot bridge Bob at the SpringKeye grave markerglen rock Snow on the Mountain and beeSnow on the Mountain

traveling friendsprairie wildflower
prairie vista prairie vista 2

Our traveling friends came home on blue highways (backways) through the Konza Prairie natural tallgrass prairie lands north of Tuttle Creek and Manhattan, KS. The wide open spaces, rolling hills, wildflowers and wide sky filled us with peace and made our spirits sour with the hawks--seen drifting over prairie vistas.

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All photos © 2000 by Carol Yoho
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