“Let’s meet for lunch in Ft. Scott (KS),” my brother called to make plans to meet before Christmas. “How about El Charro’s?”
“Sounds good,” I said. “We haven’t been to Ft. Scott for awhile.”After a lunch with good company, good food and an exchange of Christmas gifts, we drove through down town Ft. Scott and marveled at the beautiful architecture of this small town of approximately 8,000, situated in southeast Kansas where Hwys 69 and 54 intersect.
The town, first established as an Army post in 1842, prides itself in its history. When settlers displaced Indians in the East, the government promised them a “permanent Indian settlement” west of the Mississippi. The fort was one of several established to enforce the promise.At one time, Ft. Scott was one of the largest towns in the Kansas Territory. Like most of the Kansas-Missouri border, it saw its share of violence as the country moved toward the Civil War. Dubbed as “Bleeding Kansas” by the media, the fight over free-state vs. slave-state roared violently through the area long after Kansas entered the Union as a free state. Ft. Scott’s strategic location made it an ideal district headquarters for the Army during the war.
After the war, it became one of the largest cities in eastern Kansas, a major railroad center and home to a brick manufacturer. Both the Indianapolis Speedway and the Panama Canal used Ft. Scott bricks.The town’s charm today includes miles of brick streets, beautiful Victorian homes, a rehabbed business district and the restored 1842 Frontier Fort, now the Fort Scott National Historic Site.
Add to that, the fun fact that as of July 2008, Ft. Scott residents hold three Guinness World Records: laying the fastest mile of pennies in the world in 2 hours, 23 minutes and 1 second; a local resident eating the most McDonald’s Quarter Pounder Cheeseburgers in 3 minutes; and laying continual lines of coins stretching for 40.32 miles. Sounds like a fun group of folks, doesn’t it?