Barton County, Kansas

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The Barton County Courthouse is located at 1400 Main Street, Great Bend, KS 67530; phone: 620-793-1800.

Just off the Santa Fe Trail in southwest Barton County is the infamous Pawnee Rock. Traders, soldiers, emigrants and others passing this site carved or chiseled their names into the front of the rugged mass of brown sandstone. Pawnee Rock was for many years a place where Comanche, Kiowa, Arapahoe, Cheyenne and Pawnee tribes held their councils of war and peace. Many Indian battles were fought nearby in the days before white settlers came to Kansas. Pawnee Rock served as a lookout place for both white men and Indians, as well as a rendezvous and ambush point for the Indians. It was a favorite camping spot for caravans bound for Santa Fe because once camped there, the rock afforded some protection against hostile Indians. Many travelers and traders on the Santa Fe Trail considered Pawnee Rock the most dangerous place on the Central Plains. [1]

  1. Richard D. Pankratz, Planner, Kansas State Historical Society, Pawnee Rock, Barton County, KS, nomination document, 1970, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

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