The Elbert County Historical Society and Museum proudly announces the opening of the new exhibit: Smoky Hill Trail –Shortcut to the Rockies. The Shortcut to the Rockies exhibit is the first phase of a three-year project focusing on the Smoky Hill Trail, its impact on Colorado, and how that early travel path inspired subsequent modes of transportation. The exhibit features the Trail’s origin, destination and purpose, including the three branches that crossed Elbert County.
The Smoky Hill Trail was a wagon road opened specifically for the Colorado gold rush of 1859. The event was also known as the “Pike’s Peak” gold rush because the peak was one of the few named landmarks in the then western Kansas Territory. The road ran 600 miles from several Kansas and Missouri towns along the Missouri River to the new town of Denver. It followed up the Smoky Hill River to extreme eastern Colorado, then crossed the high plains to Denver and the Rocky Mountains.
The Elbert County Museum is opened Memorial Day Sunday through Labor Day Sunday.