Stone Scenic Byway is a finalist because...it showcases an area in Kansas that is well
known for its native limestone, featuring dry stacked stone fences and stone
out-croppings among the rolling Flint Hills.
Photo courtesy Nancy Crenshaw-Miller
ABOUT THE BYWAY. Source: Kansas Byway website The Native Stone Scenic Byway is located along K-4 and K-99 highways,
through Mission Creek and Mill Creek valleys, in Shawnee and Wabaunsee
counties in the glorious Flint Hills. The Native Stone Scenic Byway is
an area in Kansas that is approximately 56 miles long and is known for
its native limestone. Limestone fences are found framing the grasslands
and ranching areas throughout the byway. The limestone from which
the byway gets its name was formed from the sediments of shallow seas
that existed over 240 million years ago.
There are plenty of historical
and cultural sites along the byway, like the Wabaunsee (Keene)
Cemetery, which was an Underground Railroad site. There are also
ancient buildings that can be seen along the byway that were built by
pioneer stonemasons from Sweden and Germany.
The Native Stone Scenic
Byway has been alive and well for thousands of years. Travelers of the byway will see the village of Dover which was named for the white
cliffs of Dover, England. The towns of Eskridge and Alma continue to
serve as vital centers for those who call the Kansas Flint Hills home.
Along the way you will also see the native stone fences that pioneers
from the 1800s built. The 1867 law abolishing the open range provided payment of 40 cents per rod to landowners to build or have
a fence around their land. The native stone was plentiful back then and
so our pioneers built miles and miles of fences. That's what you see
today when driving down the Native Stone Scenic Byway.
Click here for a Sunflower Journey segment on the Native Stone Scenic Byway.
Echo Cliff is an impressive geological feature. Photo KSF
ECHO CLIFF One of the features on the byway is Echo Cliff Park. The park is located a mile- and-a-half west of Dover in Wabaunsee County
on K-4 and Echo Cliff Road. About 300 million years ago Kansas
was much different than how we know it today. For the most part it
was flat, low-lying land that was near sea level or covered by shallow
marine waters. The area was flooded by the sea and sediments were laid
down that became the shale and limestone rock that you find in the
hills around Dover. As the seas retreated from this area and
the land was exposed to weathering and erosion this formed the Mission
Creek Valley and the Echo Cliff that we know today.
This park has a
very rich Indian history and sometimes you can find arrowheads dating back
to 800-1000 AD when the Woodland Indians lived in this area.
The cliff overlooks Mission Creek and was named Echo
Cliff because of the echo you can hear. Today the
park is being preserved as well as enjoyed by the public. There is an
old iron and wood bridge that is ideal to fish from and there is a picnic area with a great view of the cliff. The picnic tables are
very unique and are made of scrap iron and cement. The "furniture"
is maintained, cleaned and repainted every year by a group of
motorcycle riding friends.