The Black Jack Ruts & Ivan Boyd Prairie on the Santa Fe Trail
Located on US 56 Highway, approximately three miles east of Baldwin City, the Black Jack Ruts/Ivan Boyd Prairie is owned by Douglas County and maintained by the Santa Fe Trail Historical Society of Douglas County and the Kansas Department of Transportation to commemorate the Santa Fe Trail and related history. An recreated period log cabin is situated at the site and open for special events related to the trail. A small footbridge and trail connects the park to the Ivan Boyd Prairie Preserve, located immediately south, containing significant ruts created by large commerical wagons that traveled the route in the 19th century. First surveyed in 1825 by the Federal Government, the Santa Fe Trail was a major transportation route spanning 900 miles through central North America that connected Franklin, Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico. The trail was a commercial highway until the introduction of the railroad to Santa Fe in 1880.
There are 13 related sites along the trail that stretches 30 miles across southern Douglas County, Kansas. The historic route follows county roads and U.S. Highways through scenic native prairies, farmland, and goes through Baldwin City where travelers may find services.
The Santa Fe Trail Historical Society of Douglas County was organized in 1967 as a tax-exempt organization to help preserve, restore, and promote historic structures in the Baldwin and Vinland areas. The organization owns and/or manages the following historic sites: Baldwin Santa Fe Depot, Vinland Grange Hall, Palmyra Well, Clearfield Schoolhouse, Black Jack Ruts Trail and Cabin, Signal Oak and artifacts associated with them. SFTHS places and maintains a series of markers in the area. More information may be found at: https://santafetraildouglas.org/