Guy McClellan explains the research methods he employed and references he consulted to compile the information used to create the Santa Fe Trail Place Names interactive maps.
Working under the direction of Angelica Sanchez-Clark and Frank Norris from the National Park Service's National Trails Intermountain Region, I searched the trail’s Comprehensive Management and Use Plan, which the National Park Service published in May 1990, and located a list of 194 so-called “high-potential sites.” Using the place name dictionaries and other sources listed below, I researched the place names for all but a smattering of the listed sites. A searchable online index of Wagon Tracks (the Santa Fe Trail Association’s quarterly newsletter) proved quite helpful, as did Louise Barry’s excellent 1972 volume, The Beginning of the West, and a number of other volumes, listed below.
Once I had as many place names as possible in an Excel sheet, I matched each site with its latitude and longitude, thus enabling me to map my data. Next came the task of creating meaningful categories to help sort the place names; Mike Olsen, a historian and longtime Santa Fe Trail Association member, helped me develop these. After I sorted my data into different categories, I used the web mapping platform Carto to visualize the results.
It is my hope that these maps and datasets will serve as building blocks for researchers looking for new ways to view the trail, and a way for would-be trail explorers to satiate their historical and geographical curiosity.
Barry, Louise. The Beginning of the West: Annals of the Kansas Gateway to the American West, 1540-1854. Topeka: Kansas State Historical Society, 1972.
Benson, Maxine. 1001 Colorado Place Names. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1994.
Duffus, R. L. The Santa Fe Trail. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1972.
Eaton, David Wolfe. How Missouri Counties, Towns and Streams Were Named. Columbia: State Historical Society, 1916.
Eichler, Geo. R. Colorado Place Names: Communities, Counties, Peaks, Passes : With Historical Lore and Facts, plus a Pronunciation Guide. Boulder: Johnson Publishing Co., 1977.
Jackson, Hal and Marc Simmons. The Santa Fe Trail: A Guide. Woodson, KS: Trails Press, 2015.
Julyan, Robert. The Place Names of New Mexico. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996.
McCoy, Sondra Van Meter and Jan Hults. 1001 Kansas Place Names. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1989.
McMillen, Margot Ford. Paris, Tightwad, and Peculiar: Missouri Place Names. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1994.
Pearce, T. M., Ina Sizer Cassidy, and Helen S. Pearce. New Mexico Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1965.
Ramsay, Robert L. Our Storehouse of Missouri Place Names. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1991.
Rydjord, John. Indian Place-Names: Their Origin, Evolution, and Meanings, Collected in Kansas from the Siouan, Algonquian, Shoshonean, Caddoan, Iroquoian, and Other Tongues. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1968.
———. Kansas Place-Names. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1972.
Shirk, George H. Oklahoma Place Names. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1974.
Wagon Tracks, Santa Fe Trail Association (1986-present)
“Santa Fe National Historic Trail: Comprehensive Management Plan.” United States Department of the Interior/ National Park Service, 1990.
“Lewis-Webb Home.” National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. United States Department of the Interior/ National Park Service, 1985.
City of Cimarron, NM. “A Walking Tour of Old Town Cimarron, New Mexico in the 1800s.”
Conrad, Mary. “Posts marking Santa Fe Trail ruts on Weinrich farm finally dedicated.”
Jones, Bob. “Iron Spring.”
Simmons, Mark. “Observations on the Gallego Diary.”