Kansas is noted for its highways, which have a history that is traced from early military roads and trails to Santa Fe, California, and Oregon. The introduction of the automobile granting individual drivers freedom to travel anywhere led to an ambitious effort by local community boosters to establish routes to attract auto tourists.
There is now an initiative to uncover the story behind the Midland Trail, one of the first transcontinental routes, Washington D. C. to San Francisco. It was logged across Kansas in the 1914’s. A handsome Midland Trail Tour Guide, published by the National Highway Association in 1916, provided explicit, mile-by-mile directions on how and where to follow the Midland Trail. As the name implies, it was the route most centrally located in the United States. The Midland Trail passed in close proximity to Eudora.
The Midland Trail crossed 14 counties, Wyandotte County to Sherman County, from Kansas City, Kansas to Goodland. Museums, historic societies, and tourism bureaus have been contacted in order to develop a comprehensive, grassroots response to recognize the 100 year anniversary, logging the Midland Trail across Kansas.
Joan Nothern, president of the Solomon Valley-Highway 24-Heritage Alliance, initiated this process on behalf of the alliance. That organization led the way researching the history of U. S. 24 in the Solomon Valley, and now hopes to make the Midland Trail, the highway forerunner and a unique historical route, known.
In the Eudora area, this planning is being coordinated by the Eudora Area Historical Society.
Please contact at EudoraHistory@gmail.com or 785-690-7900 for more information.