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Picturing history: Kearney Gap on the Santa Fe Trail

Published: Tuesday, July 7 2015 12:33 p.m. MDT

Members of the Mormon Battalion followed the Santa Fe Trail for hundreds of miles as they made their historic trek. (Kenneth Mays,) Members of the Mormon Battalion followed the Santa Fe Trail for hundreds of miles as they made their historic trek. (Kenneth Mays,)

Members of the Mormon Battalion followed the Santa Fe Trail for hundreds of miles as they made their historic trek. After following the Cimarron Cutoff, that route merged with the Mountain Route at Watrous, N.M.

As they continued, now on a single merged trail, they passed through Las Vegas, N.M., then through a geological feature known as Kearney Gap. This site is not unusual or particularly awe-inspiring in and of itself.

However, its value to students of history lies in the fact that it shows a place where there were few, if any, other options where one could follow the trail. Hence, it identifies one exact spot of the route of this historic trail with certainty.

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