History, Tales, and Destinations in the Land of Ahs

Kansas Rivers - Page 4
<<  Previous  1 2 3 4 5 6  Next  >>


Ninnescah River - A large stream of southern Kansas, it is composed of two branches. The north fork rises in the southern part of Stafford County and flows northeastwardly to Plevna, Reno county, where the course changes to southeast. The south fork has its source in the western part of Pratt County. Its course is almost due east through Pratt and Kingman Counties until it unites with the north fork in the southwest corner of Sedgwick County. The main stream then flows southeast and empties its waters into the Arkansas River near the town of Oxford, Kansas.


Osage River - A tributary of the Missouri River, the 360 mile long river is situated primarily in central Missouri, but is formed by the by the confluence of the Marais des Cygnes and Little Osage Rivers in Kansas.


The Marais des Cygnes is sometimes counted as part of the river, placing its headwaters in eastern Kansas and bringing its total length to over 500 miles.



Ninnescah River

Ninnescah River, courtesy Watershed Institute




The river is named for the Osage Indians who lived in the area at the time of the arrival of the first European settlers. The historic waterway presented significant navigation difficulties for early settlers because of its fluctuating water levels, shallow pools and sand bars caused by its tight meandering course through the hills.


When including its tributaries, its source is in the southern part of Wabaunsee County, Kansas. It flows eastward through Osage and Franklin Counties into Miami County, where it changes its course toward the southeast and crosses the state line near the center of Linn County. From there, it continues eastward through the Missouri counties of Bates, St. Clair, Benton, Camden and Miller and finally, empties into the Missouri River a few miles below Jefferson City. In high water it is navigable for small boats for a distance of about 200 miles.

As early as 1839, the state of Missouri attempted to deepen the channel of the river to aid in navigation. However, early attempts failed due to lack of funding. Later in the 19th century, navigation commercial navigation occurred but was mostly confined to smaller craft that could navigate the tight bends and shoals of the river. Improvements in the channel by the last two decades of the century led to greater commercial traffic.


Beginning in 1922, Bagnell Dam was constructed primarily for electricity to form the Lake of the Ozarks. After nine years it was complete, which ended commercial navigation of the river. Truman Dam was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1954 and completed in 1979. It is located in Warsaw, Missouri.


Pawnee River - Also called the Pawnee fork of the Arkansas River, it rises in the northwest corner of Gray County in southwest Kansas. For the first 15-20 miles its course is almost due north. Near the now extinct town of Eminence in Finney county, it turns abruptly eastward; crosses the line between Finney and Hodgeman Counties about eight miles south of the northern boundary of those counties; then flows northeast into Ness County; turns southeast across the corner of Hodgeman County, and then by a somewhat sinuous course eastward through Pawnee County, empties its waters into the Arkansas River at Larned.


Its principal tributary is Buckner Creek. A number of interesting events occurred in the valley of this stream in early days. In 1854, soon after Kansas was organized as a territory, about 1,500 Cheyenne, Arapaho and Osage Indians gathered on the Pawnee to make war on the white settlers. They started eastward toward the settlements, but about 100 miles west of Fort Riley were met by a hunting party of about 100 Sauk and Fox Indians and were driven back with heavy losses.


Crossing the Pawnee River on the Santa Fe TrailPottawatomie River - Taking it's name from a Native American tribe, the waterway is situated in eastern Kansas and is composed of two branches. The north fork rises in the southwest corner of Anderson County, about two miles south of the village of Westphalia, and flows in a northerly and northeasterly course.


The south fork rises in Richland Township, also in Anderson County about two  miles west of Selma, and flows northwest into Washington Township, where it turns toward the northeast and forms a junction with the north fork not far from the town of Greeley. From that point the course of the main stream is northeast until it empties into the Marais des Cygnes River, just below the town of Osawatomie in Miami County. The first white settlers established homesteads near Greeley in the Spring of 1854.


Republican River - This stream takes its name from the Republican Pawnee Indians, who lived on its bank until about the year 1815. Lewis and Clark mention the stream in 1804. The Republican River rises on the high plains of eastern Colorado and forms two tributaries, called the North and South forks.


The northern fork flows east, entering Nebraska in Dundy County. The southern branch flows in a northeasterly direction from Kit Carson and Yuma Counties of Colorado, through the Nebraska and  enters Kansas in Cheyenne County, then flows northeasterly and leaves Kansas at a point south of the village of Benkelman, Nebraska. Near this point it mingles its waters with the north branch and forms the Republican River joining at Benkelman, Nebraska.


From there, the river flows generally eastward along the southern border of Nebraska, flowing into the Harlan County Reservoir before curving southward into Jewell County, Kansas. It then flows in a southeasterly direction through the counties of Jewell, Cloud, Clay and Geary, until it unites with the Smoky Hill River about two miles below Junction City to form the Kansas River. Among the most important tributaries of the Republican are the Arickaree River and Whiteman's Creek of Colorado, Redwillow Creek in Nebraska, and the Beaver, Sappa and Prairie Dog Creeks of Kansas. The legislature of 1864 declared the stream unnavigable, although as an experiment the Financier No. 2 in 1855 ascended for 40 miles without being grounded.


Through the years, the river has been subject to much flooding including a major flood on July 9, 1902, when it broke a dam near Concordia, Kansas and re-routed the river by mile. In June, 1935 a worse flood occurred, referred to as "Nebraska's Deadliest Flood." On May 31st and June 1st, a large storm resulted in nine inches of rainfall causing the

Frenchman, Red Willow, Medicine, Deer, Muddy, and Turkey Creeks to reach their flood peaks at the same time as the crest passed on the Republican River. According to reports of the time, the roar of the water could be heard coming down the Republican Valley five miles away. The water was said to have been 20 feet deep in some places, and the discharge was 280,000 cubic feet/second -- more than 320 times the normal flow today. Before the water receded 113 Estimates show 113 people at estimates of up to 40,000 head of cattle were killed. 341 miles of highway and 307 bridges were destroyed and almost 75,000 acres of farmland were covered in water.


As a result, the Missouri River Basin flood-control and land-reclamation project began to build several dams including the Harlan County Dam near Alma, Nebraska in 1948 and the Milford Dam near Junction City, Kansas in 1965. More dams were built on the Republican River tributaries including Bonny Dam in Yuma County, Colorado in 1951, Enders Dam in Chase County, Nebraska in 1951, Medicine Creek Dam in Frontier County, Nebraska in 1949, and the Lovewell Dam in Jewell County, Kansas in 1957.




Continued Next Page

<<  Previous  1 2 3 4 5 6  Next  >>

From Legends' Photo Shop

Saloon Style Photo Prints and DownloadsSaloon Style Photo Prints - What were on the walls of saloons in the Old West?  Most of the time, it was similar as what you might find today -- advertisements for liquor, beer, and tobacco. But, in those Wild West days, the walls were often filled with images of "decadent" women of the time. In our Photo Print Shop, you'll find dozens of images for decorating a real saloon or western themed restaurant, or your person home bar in a saloon style atmosphere. 

Saloon Style Advertising and Wall Images

  About Us      Contact Us       Article/Photo Use      Guestbook      Legends Of America      Links      Photo Blog      Site Map     Writing Credits  

Copyright 2009-Present, www.Legends of Kansas.com is a web property of Legends Of America