Glen Elder State Park

Long before Waconda Lake and Glen Elder State Park existed, the site was home to a famous landmark that drew visitors from miles around. This landmark was a spring, bubbling out from the top of a mound of its own sediments. Waconda Spring took its name from the Kansa word Wakonda, or “Great Spirit.” TheContinue reading “Glen Elder State Park”

Elk City State Park

Elk City State Park boasts a rather varied early history.  Like much of southeastern Kansas, it was once inhabited by Osage Indians, but this changed after the Civil War.  Many Union veterans had visited Kansas during the war.  Those who were looking for a fresh start in what promised to be a thriving post-war stateContinue reading “Elk City State Park”

El Dorado State Park

When the United States Army Corps of Engineers began construction on El Dorado Lake in 1973, there were already two lakes on the proposed site—Bluestem Lake and the original El Dorado Lake. However, for improved flood control on the Walnut River, the two lakes were combined. The Bluestem Lake dam was breached and the watersContinue reading “El Dorado State Park”

Eisenhower State Park

Eisenhower State Park was made possible by yet another flood control project carried out by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  This time, the offending river was the Marais des Cygnes, once infamous for destructive floods.  Construction was authorized in 1954, but the project was not started until 1967.  The lake was completely filled andContinue reading “Eisenhower State Park”

Cross Timbers State Park

Cross Timbers State Park was once the home of the Osage tribe. Settlement was slow in this region because the homesteaders realized that it was unsuitable for farming, thanks to thin, dry soils. Toronto Lake, the reservoir showcased by this park, was authorized under the Flood Control Act of 1941, as were many other KansasContinue reading “Cross Timbers State Park”

Crawford State Park

The land that makes up Crawford State Park has long been the scene of government activity.  Before white men settled in Kansas, present-day Crawford County belonged to the Osage Indians.  A series of treaties changed this forever. In 1827, the government requested the Osage Indians to stay out of the area, which would be setContinue reading “Crawford State Park”

Clinton State Park

The Wakarusa River has had an ugly track record ever since white men settled along its banks. Every so often terrible floods swept through the valley and left significant damage in their wake. When the Flood Control Act was passed in 1962, states had the opportunity to receive federal assistance in constructing reservoirs and otherContinue reading “Clinton State Park”