Archeological treasure at Lake Scott degraded by elements; public meeting to address the issue
SCOTT CITY -- Wind, rain, and age are taking their toll on one of Kansas' most significant historic sites, but three state organizations have joined forces to protect it. The Kansas Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), the Kansas State Historical Society (KSHS), and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) have formed a partnership to protect, preserve, and interpret the El Cuartelejo pueblo, located at Lake Scott State Park, 15 miles north of Scott City.

El Cuartelejo was first constructed and occupied in the 17th century by a group of Taos Indians fleeing Spanish rule farther south. It is the northeastern-most pueblo in the United States. After the Taos Indians abandoned the pueblo, it was occupied by Picuris Indians. The site was abandoned in the 18th century.
In 1964, 400 years after its construction, the pueblo was named a National Historic Landmark, a designation reserved for the nation’s most significant properties. The site was first restored in the early 1970s. Despite gallant efforts to protect this important resource, the ruin is now threatened by the elements -- and the site lacks the key components necessary for interpreting its rich history.

The El Cuartelejo partners are specially equipped to preserve and interpret this unique site. The Daughters of the American Revolution has been dedicated to the causes of history and civic responsibility since its founding in 1890. The Kansas Society of the DAR first took a formal role in the El Quartelejo property in 1922, when it gained ownership of the site and later, in 1925, constructed the first marker on it.

Since its founding in 1875, the Kansas State Historical Society has been devoted not only to preserving and collecting papers and artifacts, but also preserving historic properties and sites statewide -- and educating the public about the state’s prehistory and history. KSHS completed the most recent excavation and preservation project at the pueblo in 1971.

KDWP has been managing the state’s natural resources for 100 years. The agency acquired the property that surrounds the pueblo in 1928, and it is one of the most popular features attracting visitors to Lake Scott State Park annually.

The DAR, KSHS, and KDWP have developed a plan to preserve and interpret the ruins. The plan includes a new structure that would not only protect the ruins from the elements but also provide an interpretive experience for visitors. The estimated project cost is $1 million. Grant funding is available for some expenses, but grants require privately-matching funds. The El Cuartelejo partnership’s goal is to raise $500,000 in private funds. Individuals, businesses, and organizations are encouraged to help in the effort to preserve this unique site. Gifts exceeding $100 will be acknowledged in the new interpretive center.

To contribute to this project, write Sammy Cope, State Regent, Kansas Society of the Daughters of American Revolution, 1791 North Calhoun, Liberal, KS 67901; phone 620-624-7306; or email .

On March 9 from 7 p.m.-10 p.m., a public meeting on the proposed Interpretive Center at the El Cuartelejo Ruins in Scott State Park will be held at the El Quartelejo Museum, 902 West Highway 96, Scott City, KS 67871; phone 620-872-5912. For more information on this meeting or on the El Cuartelejo site, contact Bob Hoard, State Archeologist, Kansas State Historical Society, 6425 SW 6th Avenue, Topeka, KS 66615-1099; phone 785-272-8681, extension 269; or email: .