Kaw Valley Landscapes

A Traveler's Guide to Northeastern Kansas

James R. Shortridge

This detailed guide to the backroads and small towns of northeastern Kansas charts a 350-mile loop from the Kansas-Missouri border west through the majestic Flint Hills. The mile-by-mile descriptions cover the following counties: Wyandotte, Johnson, Douglas, Osage, Wabaunsee, Pottawatomie, Jackson, Shawnee, Jefferson, and Leavenworth. Along the way, Shortridge's commentary on the history, economy, architecture, and demographics of the region provides a rich appreciation of the landscape and encourages lingering and thoughtful contemplation.

"Kansas perhaps needs a tour guide more than do many places," writes cultural geographer James Shortridge, "for the state is more generally viewed as a place to escape from than a place to visit." Illustrated with numerous maps and with charming pen-and-ink drawings by Antoinette Cook Smith, Kaw Valley Landscapes demonstrates that beyond the interstate highways of northeastern Kansas are ethnic enclaves, Indian reservations, sleepy rural towns, a variety of folk architecture, dramatic examples of the geological effects of glaciation—in short, "a fascinating local panorama of land and life."

“Shortridge has laid out a pleasant journey for the real backroader, but one that the reader will want to experience in segments—it&8217;s not to be hurried through, but savored mile by mile.

—Manhattan Mercury

“An amazing historical background is given for each place as well as house types, barn types, and the landuse in most places. The end result gives the viewer an excellent physical and cultural description of the landscape of each area.

—Great Plains Quarterly
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"The starting point is easy to find, at the Kansas-Missouri border on I-70. It is an appropriate place because the Kansas River, whose valley is the subject of this book, here empties into the Missouri. The spot has added significance in that the viaduct over the Kaw is dedicated to Lewis and Clark. What better place," Shortridge asks, "for a modern exploring expedition to begin?"

Kaw Valley Landscapes is a revised edition of the guidebook originally published in 1977.