On July 4, 1804, the Corps of Discovery observed the first Independence Day west of the Mississippi. The men camped in the area of today’s Atchison, Kansas. It was here where Captain Clark named two small streams in honor of the holiday – 4th of July 1804 Creek and Independence Creek.
You’ll find a memorial marker and covered bridge over 4th of July 1804 Creek. It’s near the Atchison County Historical Museum and Atchison Rail Museum. A larger memorial is the Lewis and Clark Pavilion in Riverfront Park, on the banks of the Missouri, built and dedicated in 2004 for the bicentennial celebration. Here you can walk, run or bike along a five-mile path which leads you north of the city to the Independence Creek Historical Site. In 1804, this site was along the Missouri, but due to channel changes, it’s now several miles from the river. At the Independence Creek camp site, the men celebrated the country’s independence by firing the keelboat’s swivel gun.
At the Atchison County Historical Society Museum you’ll find a commemorative statue of Lewis, Clark, Sacagawea, York and Seaman. The city is also the birthplace of aviator, Amelia Earhart.
Last updated: June 1, 2018