• Last modified 560 days ago (Oct. 11, 2017)


to the editor

Two Lost Springs

To the editor:

The Oct. 4 Marion County Record included a picture and caption titled “Spring provided water to travelers on the Santa Fe Trail,” telling some information about Lost Spring. Some of your readers may be surprised to learn that a different Lost Spring preceded it.

In 1858, George Smith established a trading ranch — an 1800s version of today’s convenience store, bar, and grill — on Cress Creek, 2.3 miles west of today’s town of Lost Springs. In 1859, the ranch was won in a poker game by Jack Costello, who along with Thomas Wise operated Lost Spring Station into the late 1860s. Over the years, the spring described in your Oct.- 5 article became known as Lost Spring because of its proximity to Costello’s Lost Spring Station.

However, there was an earlier Lost Spring on Lyon Creek near the middle of Section 16, Township 17S, Range 4E, located one mile east and a half-mile north of Lost Spring Station. Of the Lost Spring on Lyon Creek, the public land surveyor who established the section corners in 1857 wrote in his field notes:

“There are some fine springs of fresh water in this Township and among their number is the spring known to all the Santa Fe Traders and trains as the Lost Spring. It is situated in Section 16 near the center of the section. The spring affords fine fresh water.”

The 1857 General Land Office survey plat shows the Lost Spring as described in the surveyor’s notes.

The Santa Fe Trail was used as a trail of commerce between the Missouri River and Santa Fe from 1821 through 1866 in Marion County. The Santa Fe Trail passed into history when the railroad reached Santa Fe in 1880.

Steve Schmidt, President
Cottonwood Crossing Chapter
Santa Fe Trail Association

Last modified Oct. 11, 2017