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Santa Fe Trail begins to shorten

Trails to Rails Part 1

Photo by Jim Misunas Great Bend Tribune The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Company in Larny, N.M.

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Editor’s Note: Local historian David Clapsaddle writes about aspects on the Santa Fe Trail. This series profiles how Santa Fe Trail freight, passengers and mail shifted from the overland trail to railways.

By David K. Clapsaddle

During the first four decades of its 59-year tenure, the Santa Fe Trail was repeatedly shortened as its eastern terminus was moved westward from its original Missouri River landing at Franklin upstream to Independence, Westport Landing, both in Missouri, and finally to Leavenworth, Kansas, the last of the river ports from which merchandise, and beginning in 1850, mail and passengers, were dispatched to ...

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