Explore the Missouri-Kansas Border Region

Check out one of our new guidebooks, The Big Divide: A Travel Guide to Historic and Civil War Sites in the Missouri-Kansas Border Region, and acquire a deeper understanding of this historically complex and culturally rich area.  Authors Diane Eickhoff and Aaron Barnhart wrote The Big Divide to share the “remarkable story of the Missouri-Kansas border region as it is told through more than 130 historic sites, monuments, museums, parks, cemeteries and shrines.”

The Big Divide book coverThe border region is famous for its battlefields and pre-Civil War activities.  Not all sites listed here focus solely on the Civil War, however they all have some historic significance.  Art museums, nature centers, and the oldest operating federal fish hatchery in the U.S. (in Neosho, Missouri) are included. The extraordinary Arabia Steamboat Museum in Kansas City is featured, as is Fort Osage National Historic Landmark in Sibley, not far from Independence, Missouri.  This often overlooked site is a reconstructed replica of the original fort and hosts a gift shop and short trails down to the Missouri River.  It’s kid-friendly and worth a stop if you haven’t visited since the education center–with an orientation film and various exhibits–was completed about six years ago.

Cooler temperatures and an autumn landscape set the stage for a road trip, so refer to the Driving Tours section for day or weekend trip itineraries.  One tour focuses on 48 miles one-way along scenic Highway 52 which crosses the border.  Stops here include the Mine Creek Battlefield and the Linn County Historical Museum in Pleasanton, Kansas, and the Battle of Island Mound and the Bates County Museum just across the state line in Butler, Missouri.

Contact information is included for each site.  Consider checking websites or calling ahead to plan your outing since special events, exhibits and tour groups at many of these locations can occur at various times year round.  Area lodging and restaurant info is excluded, so stop by the Travel Neighborhood at the Library and check out the travel bags for Kansas and Kansas City to make your trip an even more memorable experience!






Kimberly Sain

As a Public Services Specialist, in addition to Reference work I promote the Travel, Pets, and Lawn & Garden Neighborhoods, coordinate nature-themed programs for adults and families, and serve on the Big Read planning committee. My interests include exploring new travel destinations, National Parks, Alaska, hiking trails in Kansas, Colorado and Arkansas, birding, Sandhill crane migration, Monarch waystations, Kansas native plants, citizen science activities, volunteer work as a certified Kansas Master Naturalist, and reading essays about the natural environment. Peter Matthiessen's Shadow Country is my all-time favorite novel.