Traveling Trunks

Bring Fort Larned to your classroom with our Traveling Trunks!

Fort Larned National Historic Site is please to offer our Traveling Trunks as an aid to your classroom instruction. Each trunk has 19th century vintage artifacts and a story that helps student connect to them and the history they represent. The trunks were developed by park volunteer Dr. David Clapsaddle and are available upon request.

A Brief History of the Santa Fe Trail is also available for background knowledge.

You can email us or call 620-285-6911 for more information.

Letters from Sarah

Grades K - 2

Sarah lives in Independence, Missouri with her family. Her father, a freighter, is preparing for a trip to Santa Fe. Sarah is disappointed that she can't go with him on his western adventure, but her father has a solution. He tells Sarah to write letters to him addressed to the Army posts he'll be passing along the way. He writes back to Sarah describing each stop.

A Tale of Two Towns

Grades 3 - 5

A Tale of Two Towns conveys the beginnings of the Santa Fe Trade through the eyes of eleven-year-old George whose father owns a store in Franklin, Missouri. The story tells of the first expedition to Santa Fe in 1821 and provides a contrast between the towns of Franklin and Santa Fe.

I Heard a Coyote Howl

Grades 3 - 5

I Heard a Coyote Howl is the story of a twelve-year-old boy named Box Elder, who lives in the Cheyenne-Sioux Indian village 30 miles west of Fort Larned in 1867. Central to the story is the village's destruction by U.S. Army troops. Though Box Elder is a fictional character, the account of the Army's attack is true to the historical record.

Charley's Trunk

Grades 3 - 5

Charley's Trunk, a companion to I Heard a Coyote Howl, tells the story of Charley, a twelve-year-old boy. charley is the son of an Army officer who travels with his parents from Fort Riley to Fort Larned in 1867 at the time of the Army's attack on the Cheyenne-Sioux Indian village. Along the way, Charley acquires a number of keepsakes, which he stores in a trunk. In several ways, these artifacts help students to interpret the story in a concrete manner.

No Pot of Gold

Grades 3 - 5

No Pot of Gold tells the true story of seven-year-old Marian Russell who travels with her mother and little brother Will to Santa Fe in 1852, the first part of a long trip to California. Along the way, Will say, "There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow." But the little family never reaches California. Rather, they are forced to end their journey at Albuquerque, and there is no pot of gold. Regardless, the story is full of surprises as Marian and Will cross present-day Kansas and traverse New Mexico, the land of enchantment.

Old Bill Williams

Grades 3 - 5

Old Bill Williams, even as a youngster, could fire a musket like a grown man. Old Bill grew up in Missouri where his playmates were Indian children. As he grew older, he became an expert hunter and trapper. In 1825, when the United States government sent a team of men to survey the Santa Fe Trail, Old Bill, who spoke several Indian languages, was employed as an interpreter. The story follows Old Bill through his Santa Fe Trail survey experiences and to his death at the hands of Indians many years later.

El Hombre

Grades 3 - 5

El Hombre tells the story of Julio, who travels with his merchant father from Santa Fe to the railroad heading at Hays City, Kansas in 1868. Though only twelve, Julio is expected to conduct himself as an adult and shoulder his fair share of the work. The story's climax comes when Julio receives his father's watch, a symbol of manhood. While the story has a "coming of age" theme, it also tells the story of the Mexican involvement in the Santa Fe trade, an often overlooked part of the Santa Fe Trail history.

A Long Way to Santa Fe

Grades 3 - 5

A Long Way to Santa Fe tells the story of Robert Earl, a ten-year-old boy who accompanies his father's wagon train from Missouri to Santa Fe in 1850. On the way Robert experiences the slow, monotonous travel of the trade caravan interspersed at times with exciting moments of adventure.

Last updated: January 7, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1767 KS Hwy 156
Larned, KS 67550


(620) 285-6911
This phone is answered during regular business hours. After hours calls will be answered the next day. Please select a mailbox or leave a message on the main extension when the fort is closed.

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