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1865-1885
Life at  Fort Wallace
1886-1925
Boom Days of Wallace
1926-Present
After the Railroad
 
After the Railroad
 
   Fort Wallace had been gone for many years, the railroad was no longer the lifeblood of the town and now Kansas was faced with a severe drought.  People left by the droves, headed anywhere where they thought there might be a better life.  Long standing businesses folded while ranching and agriculture became the major occupation of people in the county. A great period in the history of Wallace County was over.  More "trivial" events, like sinkholes and jackrabbit drives now stole the attention of the citizens of the county.

    A great cloud of dust arose in the sky and a loud rumbling was heard on Tuesday, March 9, 1926. An alarm was spread throughout the county and a party was sent out to investigate.  They discovered a new landmark, a hole 50 wide that descended sharply into the ground had just appeared. The rumbling continued for days as this "small" sinkhole grew to its final size of 450 feet long and 300 feet wide.  No one ever figured out just how deep this "bottomless pit" really was.  Water began filling up the hole and engineers from the Union Pacific Railroad estimated that over 6000 tons of earth and rock and fallen into this sink hole.  Luckily, no property or livestock was lost to the sinkhole.  Nothing is left now of the Smoky Hill Basin except for a grove of trees.

    The Jackrabbit Drives were  a major event in county history.  The first major drive was in 1931, and the rabbits were so numerous that many farmers and ranchers built high fences to trap the rabbits and then proceeded to club them to death.  Boxcars were filled with these rabbits.  A similar, but less severe, infestation of jackrabbits occurred in the early 60s as well.

    Coal-Oil Canyon (located partially in Wallace County but mostly in Logan County) is one of the greatest archaeological finds in Kansas.  Two local men were hunting rabbits on day in late December of 1955 and found a pot sherd. Later excavations revealed an entire Indian settlement, complete with pottery, arrowheads, broken bones, and other artifacts. Archaeologists now believe that the Coal-Oil Canyon site was a hunting encampment used by Indians in prehistoric times. Evidence points to the fact that this one site may have been used periodically over a space of over one hundred years. 

    Education has always been a major part of life in Wallace County.  Between 1885 and 1894, 42 school districts were created, and 39 of these had only one teacher.  The average number of students for each school was 10 pupils.  By 1903 we had just 19 schools that were operating, and today there are just 2 schools open in the county. Several of the old schoolhouses are still standing today.


Fort Wallace Museum
Highway 40, Box 53
Wallace, KS 67761
(785) 891-3564
Site Created and Maintained by
Museum Staff and Volunteers
Contact us at:
museum@ftwallace.com
Now Open for the Winter Season!
9 am-4 pm  Monday-Saturday
1 am-4 pm  Sunday
*Note: All times Mountain Time*