Last updated: January 10, 2023
Council Grove was founded in the late 1840s because of the mile-wide grove of hardwood timber in the area. The city is named for Council Oak, under which a council of U.S. commissioners and the chiefs of the Great and Little Osage ostensibly negotiated a treaty in 1825. This treaty gave Americans and Hispanic people free passage along the Santa Fe Trail through Osage territory in exchange for an $8000 payment to the Osage. The tree itself was destroyed by a storm several years ago, but the stump remains under a protective canopy.
For a brief period of time, Council Grove served as the last opportunity for Santa Fe Trail travelers headed West to pick up supplies for their journey. Travelers could pick up goods at the Last Chance Store, the oldest commercial building in Council Grove. The building still stands today and is open to the public.
Location (The city of Council Grove is nestled in the Flint Hills of Eastern Kansas along Highway 56 and serves as the county seat for Morris County.)
There are many other Santa Fe Trail sites in Council Grove you can visit – Neosho Crossin, Hays House, Kaw Mission State Historic Site, Hermit’s Cave, the Post Office Oak, and more!