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Historical Background

Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings

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Explorers and Settlers
Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings


Location: Cowley County, on the bluffs east of Walnut River, about 1 mile east of Arkansas City.

Most historians, ethnologists, and archeologists agree that the area referred to by the early Spanish explorers as "Quivira" is the central and south-central Kansas of today, especially along the Smoky Hill and Arkansas Rivers and their immediate tributaries. Quiviran sites have been excavated in Cowley, Rice, and McPherson Counties. Coronado visited the area in 1541, Fray Juan de Padilla in 1542, the Bonilla-Humana expedition about 1590, and the Oñate expedition in 1601.

The Arkansas City Country Club Site, one of the most interesting sites, is unique among Quiviran sites because it contains two relatively large mounds as well as smaller ones. No artifacts of European origin have been found during the limited excavations carried out to date, but other evidence reveals contact with the Pueblo Indians of the Rio Grande Valley. The Quiviran culture represented at the Arkansas City Country Club Site and at other Cowley County sites is very similar to that of the Rice and McPherson County sites. The site, located on a golf course, is well sodded and excellently preserved.


Location: Doniphan County, on a ridge between Wolf Creek and the Missouri River Valley, about 1 mile north of Fanning.

This site, the location of a late 17th-century Kansa Indian village, reflects early contact between the Indians and European traders and trappers. Small quantities of iron, glass beads, and brass items have been discovered in trash-filled cache pits, including a few knife blades that were undoubtedly obtained from some of the small parties of French traders and trappers which ventured up the Missouri and its tributaries late in the 17th century.

The identification and significance of the Fanning Site is strengthened by its apparent relationship with the Doniphan Site, 16 miles to the north, which was the principal village of the Kansa tribe in 1724, when the French trader Étienne Veniard de Bourgmond visited them. European goods found at the Doniphan Site are believed to have come from Bourgmond's trading post, Fort Orleans, established in 1723 near present Malta Bend, Mo. The Fanning Site, now in farmland, is well preserved.

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Last Updated: 22-Mar-2005