MNU news

Trails Come to Life Thanks to Late Researcher

Patrons examine Kroh Collection of Maps
University News
Lon Dagley (left), MNU archivist, shows the map collection to members of the Kansas City Area Historic Trails Association and Kansas State Historical Society personnel.

Researchers can now see where the Santa Fe, California and Oregon trails passed by various locations in our area thanks to the Lee and Dorothy Kroh Map Collection housed in the Marg Smith Archives at MidAmerica Nazarene University. Today, Kansas State Historical Society personnel and members of the Kansas City Area Historic Trails Association got a first look at this formerly private collection. 

Archivist Lon Dagley explained that the late Lee Kroh, one of the association’s founders,  researched the historical notes from 1850s survey markers held in Topeka and overlaid them on modern-day topographical maps. 

Map showing Kroh's notes and how close a trail passed by MNU.

“Kroh’s detailed notes and drawings are bringing the trails to life as you can find where your home or business is located and see how close the trails crossed by that area,” Dagley says. “A branch of the trails came less than a mile from our campus on its way to the Lone Elm Campground at 167th Street and South Lone Elm Road in Olathe.”

Teresa Coble of the Kansas State Historical Society says the collection of more than 250 maps will be digitized by the organization’s lab for preservation and ease of access by researchers. Upon completion, the collection will return to the MNU archives located in Mabee Learning Commons on the Olathe campus. 

Because the bicentennial of the Santa Fe Trail will be celebrated in 2021, Dagley says he believes there will be significant interest in the collection from area historians and educators.

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