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Historic Route 66 > Turn-by-turn description > Kansas > Baxter Springs

Baxter Springs

See the westbound or the eastbound Route 66 descriptions.

Population4246 (2005)
Elevation835 feet
Settled1849 by John Baxter
Quapaw, OK
Riverton, KS


Baxter Springs was settled in 1849 by John J. Baxter on 160 acres of land. He started an inn and general store known as Baxter's place near what is now known as military Road, but at the time featured springs known for their healing properties by the natives.

For a while, Baxter Springs was a booming Cattle town with space for 20000head of cattle. But the extension of the railroad into Texas made that obsolete.

On October 6th, 1863, the Baxter Springs Massacre/Battle happened. William Quantrill killed most of the men of General James Blunt in a surprise attack outside Baxter Springs leaving very few of the union soldiers alive. The attack continued against an unprepared Lt. James Pond atn Ft. Blair in Baxter Springs. Some of the victims are laid to rest in the National Cemetery to the east of Baxter Springs itself.

Up to the 1930s Military Avenue featured a street car that connected to Riverton, Galena and Joplin.

Note the high number of bank robberies, the ghost stories, the massacre, add in 2 Marshalls being killed (one by the mayor) and you have one active Route 66 town.

Area attractions

Mural on south wall of the National Bank

National cemetery #2

Tri-State Marker

Former site of the Inn and General store by John Baxter

Ft. Blair

Baxter Springs Heritage Center and Museum

Old Phillips 66 gas station

Places to eat

Cafe on the Route

Murphy's Restaurant

Places to stay

Little Brick Inn