Lost Springs marker to be relocated


This marker was dedicated July 4, 1908, by area residents. Its deteriorating base is plainly evident. The new base is visible across the road. Don Ratzlaff / Free Pres

It was the Fourth of July, 1908. Residents around Lost Springs celebrated America?s birth by dedicating a monument to preserve the history of the ?Lost Spring Station,? a popular stopping place for pioneers along the Santa Fe Trail.

One day short of 101 years later, the Cottonwood Crossing Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association will be relocating the monument to the other side of the road at its current location, 2.5 miles west of Lost Springs on 340th Street.

The relocation, a public event, will begin at 9 a.m. July 3 with the arrival of the crane. It is part of a larger project to place the monument on a new base, provide more convenient access for visitors, and add three new interpretative plaques.

?The focus is on Lost Springs and of course the Santa Fe Trail Association. Anyone interested in historical things is welcome to come,? said Glenn Shields, one of the event organizers.

At about 9:30 a.m. Jon and Anita Clausing will lead in music and a sing-a-long of old trail songs, and games will be available for children.

During the morning, a time capsule that was buried under the monument when it was dedicated will be opened and the contents displayed.

Also, Steve Schmidt, president of the Cottonwood Crossing Chapter, will offer a brief history of the Santa Fe Trail through the Lost Springs area. Carol Schoof, who lived at the Lost Spring, will relate her experiences. Others who want to present historical information are invited to do so.

Following the program, people who want to bring their own picnic lunch can enjoy it in shaded areas.

People also are invited to bring items for possible placement in a new time capsule, which will be buried at a later date. Guidelines for appropriate items are:

? Items must be less than 5 inches in diameter.

? No wool, silk or nylon fabrics, which can break down.

? Photographs should be archaically processed black and white prints.

? No newsprint.

? No explosive materials or chemicals.

? No objects made of rubber.

? No electronics containing batteries.

? Acceptable items include photos, essays, CDs, coins, trinkets, items printed on acid-free paper.

Contributors to the new time capsule will have their names recorded and placed within it, as was done at the dedication in 1908.

Also harkening back to that original event, monetary contributions will be collected to help cover the cost of erecting the three interpretative plaques and of developing the new site.

Monument marks a historical point on the Santa Fe Trail

The ?Lost Spring? was located on the Santa Fe Trail and was so named for its lack of water during certain periods. By the 1830s, the spring was a well-known stopping place on the trail.

As travel increased, George Smith established a trading ranch house at Lost Spring in 1859. A post office was established in 1859. Major traffic along the trail route ceased in 1866 and the station was also closed.

J.B. Shields purchased land containing Lost Spring in 1902. A community effort was organized and the current Lost Spring monument was dedicated on July 4, 1908, to preserve the history of the trail and the spring.

Donations from more than 500 people were collected (from $.25 to $2.25) to fund the monument. The contributors? names were printed on a parchment scroll and placed in two quart jars under the monument. Also, three similar jars were placed there with other items.

Over the years, the road next to the monument was widened and the foundation under the monument deteriorated. The Cottonwood Crossing Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association developed and funded a project for relocating the monument on a new base on the opposite side of the road, as well as providing more convenient access for stopping.

?Information from the Cottonwood Crossing Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Assoc.

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