SCOTT CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s not what you expect to find amid flat farmland.
“The uniqueness of being in the middle of western Kansas and having a lake where a lake probably shouldn’t be,” said Greg Mills, park manager for Historic Lake Scott State Park.
In a wooded canyon with rocky bluffs, Lake Scott is fed by natural springs and is known nationally for its beauty.
“We are recognized as the 23rd most scenic state park in the U.S.,” said Mills. “Previously, we were recognized as one of the top 50 beaches in the U.S.”
Lake Scott is also known for its history, especially El Cuartelejo– the remains of a small indian village in the 17th century.
“It’s the northern most pueblo known in the U.S., and it was built out of sod,” said Mills. “The actual foundation is probably three foot underground.”
Stones now outline the seven rooms of the pueblo, but the state plans to bring in archaeologists to better preserve it.
“Right now, anybody can jump the fence, see the site, do anything they want,” said Mills. “We want a locked building with a tour guide so they can actually tour the site.”
More history at the park can be seen at the Steele Home, built by Herbert and Eliza, in 1894.
“It’s all limestone block,” said Mills.
Now a museum, it features the old stove, washing machine, and ice box they used.
“Herbert built this loom for Eliza, his wife, to make blankets,” said Mills, pointing to a broken wooden structure.
The park plans to restore the loom to working order again.
The Steeles later sold their land to the state to create the park. It’s more than a thousand acres of camping, fishing and hiking, but no motorized boating.
“No jet skis, no tubers, no skiers so you can come here to Historic Lake Scott, and it’s quiet, very quiet,” said Mills, nodding.
Because Lake Scott is spring-fed, water levels are fairly consistent and not affected by drought as much as other Kansas lakes.