Along the Santa Fe Trail…

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Along the Santa Fe Trail…

The Express UU Bar Ranch lies along the famous Santa Fe Trail. Whether you are visiting this spectacular ranch as a hunter, fisherman, historian or honored guest with no special agenda, you can easily ‘go back to another time’ and imagine trail hands loading up and hitching their oxen to freight wagons carrying cargo between western Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

In 1821, the Santa Fe Trail became America's first great international commercial highway, and for nearly sixty years thereafter was one of the nation's great routes of adventure and western expansion. Mindful of this, the Santa Fe Trail Association (SFTA), was created in 1986 to help protect and preserve it. The U.S. Congress likewise recognized the significance of the Trail to American history by proclaiming it a National Historic Trail in 1987.

Owner of the Express UU Bar Ranch, Bob Funk, loves the fascinating saga of the Trail and has a special interest in preserving its many physical traces and landmarks that still exist upon the face of the American West.  

Bob invites you to take in the fantastic Americana history next time your in the area. His personal favorites:


Christopher "Kit" Carson played an almost legendary role in the exploration and settlement of the American West, from its thorny deserts to its forested mountain slopes to its grassy prairielands. Although he regarded the tracking down and killing of Indians almost as high sport, he nevertheless defined a noble vision of the American frontiersman. He became an icon of American heroism, the embodiment of courage, grace, self reliance, savvy, daring, fairness and modesty. In 1849, Carson began to reside on Lucien Maxwell's ranch on the Rayado River.Their ranch was visited by many traders traveling on the Santa Fe Trail. Staff at the Kit Carson Museum dress in period clothing and demonstrate frontier skills and crafts like blacksmithing, cooking, shooting, and farming. Each room in the museum is outfitted with objects typical of New Mexico in the 1850s.  See it: 7 miles south of Philmont's headquarters on New Mexico Highway 21.  Summer hours are 8 AM to 5 PM daily.  Admission is free. To learn more: 


This is Cimarron, New Mexico's Most Unusual Museum!  Built in 1864 by Lucien B. Maxwell. The Aztec Grist Mill is in the southwest corner of Cimarron, It was built to provide ground grains for the Maxwell Ranch and the Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation, as well as Santa Fe Trail travelers. Today it is operated as a museum and houses working mill parts and life-size figures of local history. Open May 26 thru Sept 1, 2014. Mon-Sat 10-4pm (lunch 12-1); Sun 1-5pm.  See it: Call the Visitor Center for more information: (575) 376-2417.    THE PHILMONT MUSEUM Whether you are visiting Philmont Scout Ranch to go on a trek or just passing through the area, the Philmont Museum is always a nice place to stop by. Located across the street from camping headquarters, the Philmont Museum is home to the Seton Memorial Library. The Philmont Museum features a rotating exhibit, so artifacts, archival elements, historical documents are continually being updated.  See it: Highway 21, 4 miles south of Cimarron at Philmont Scout Ranch Open Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm (575) 376-1136   


Henri Lambert, who had been President Abraham Lincoln's personal chef, established a saloon here in 1872. By 1880, the saloon had evolved into the 2-story, Adobe Street James Hotel. As a vital outpost of the Santa Fe Trail, Cimarron and the St. James are linked to early land grant settlers, ranchers, and desperados, including such notables as settlers Lucien Maxwell and Carlos Beaubien, Buffalo Bill Cody and his cohort Annie Oakley, Kit Carson, Frank and Jesse James, Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, and Blackjack Ketchum. The notorious gunman Clay Allison allegedly danced naked on the bar. The bar, once part of the present dining room, still has bullet holes in its pressed tin ceiling.  See it: Corner of S. Collinson Avenue (New Mexico Highway 21 or Santa Fe Trail) and 17th Street in Cimarron's "old town"  Telephone: (575) 376-2664; The hotel is open year round  To learn more:


At the end of the Civil War, Black cavalry and infantry troops known as buffalo soldiers were sent to the American west to take part in the Indian wars and the protection of settlers. The term “buffalo soldier” is said to have been applied to the Black troops by the Indians because of their short curly hair and their courage and fortitude, much admired qualities of the buffalo. The term was first applied to Black soldiers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment in 1866 by the Kiowa Indians in western Kansas after encounters with them. It was taken as a compliment by the troops and the 10th Cavalry adopted a picture of the buffalo as its regiment’s crest.  Initially there was great opposition to the use of Black troops in the War; in the racist atmosphere of the day it was believed that African-Americans would not make good soldiers. However, in June 1862 the First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry was organized by Kansas Senator James H. Lane. In October 1862 a detachment of 225 troops from the First Kansas under the leadership of white officers encountered superior Confederate forces at Island Mound, Missouri and successfully held their ground against them. This first battle involving Black troops helped to defuse the prejudice against them. In May 1863 the U. S. Colored Volunteers was organized by the U. S. Army. Black soldiers fought in 449 engagements during the War, 39 of them considered major battles.  See it: Located just inside the Express UUBar gates remains the rustic housing of Buffalo Soldiers who fought in the civil war.  

LUCIEN MAXWELL HOUSE   In 1841, the Mexican government granted a large tract of land in this area to Carlos Beaubien and Guadalupe Miranda. Beaubien's son-in-law, mountain man Lucien Maxwell, led the first settlers to the grant in 1848. With the help of his friend Kit Carson, Maxwell's settlement on the Rayado River prospered despite frequent Indian raids and harsh wilderness conditions. Maxwell moved his ranch north to the Cimarron River in 1857, the site of present-day Cimarron. There it became a famous stop on the Santa Fe Trail, bringing U.S. trade goods into New Mexico. By the 1930s, the old ranch house was in ruined condition, but it has since been rehabilitated.  Available Facilities: The Lucien Maxwell House, also called the Maxwell-Abreu House, is a long adobe house with wide wooden posts and railing on the veranda. Begun in 1850, it originally had a flat roof and includes remnants of the Maxwell House (built in 1848). The existing house, only portions of which date back to the 19th century, is part of the Rayado Ranch, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and the New Mexico Register of Cultural Properties. The house shares the Rayado site with the Rayado Chapel (owned by the Catholic Church), the Martinez House, an adobe shed and barn, and other historic structures.  See it: On the Philmont Scout Ranch. From Cimarron, proceed south along New Mexico Highway 21 for 11 miles to the museum.  

To learn more:

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