In 1825 the Federal government surveyed
the Santa Fe trail, great trade route from
western Missouri to Santa Fe. Treaties with
Kansas and Osage Indians safeguarded the
eastern end of the road but Plains Tribes
continued to make raids. Fort Zarah, at
this point, was one of a chain of forts
built on the trail to protect wagon trains
and guard settlers. It was established in
1864 by Gen. Samuel R. Curtis and named
for his son, Maj. H. Zarah Curtis who had
been killed in the Baxter Springs massacre,
October 6, 1863. The fort was built
of sandstone quarried in the near-by bluffs.

Fort Zarah was successfully defended
against an attack by 100 Kiowas on October
2, 1868. It was abandoned in 1869.

Erected by the Kansas Historical Society and State Highway Commission

Marker text sent by Mike LeMasters, Wichita, KS


Highway marker on US-56
East of Great Bend,
Barton County



January 14, 1999 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas /

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