Cedar Bluff History

Cedar Bluff State Park in central Kansas is the gateway to a canyon noted for its historic significance. Threshing Machine Canyon, accessible by a road west of the park, was the site of a station on Butterfield’s Overland Despatch (BOD) or the Smoky Hill Trail, called Bluffton Station.

In 1867, a wagon train transporting a threshing machine to Brigham Young in Salt Lake City camped for the night beneath a bluff overlooking the canyon floor. A group of Native Americans attacked the encampment, killed the travelers, and set the threshing machine on fire. Remains of the old burned threshing machine could be seen for years.

Travelers along the trail carved their names in the limestone bluffs. Threshing Machine Canyon was visited as early as 1849 (quite possibly earlier) and up to the present. In the historic canyon, you will find carvings dating back to the mid-1800s, and some are still visible today. Many of the inscriptions were carved by the "Pike's Peakers" in 1859 and U.S. cavalrymen (3rd Wisconsin and 13th Missouri) traveling along the BOD in 1865.