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The Union Ferry Branch of the Oregon Trail runs through MacLennan Park, the park that surrounds the Kansas Governor's Mansion. The trail enters the park on SW Fairlawn Road about 50 yards south of the intersection with Cedar Crest Drive. There is a small culvert about 20 yards west of the rail fence on Fairlawn. You can see where Oregon Trail travellers sometimes had to make a hard left or right turn as they approached where the culvert now exists to avoid a wet area immediately west of the culvert. The trail continues in three terraces westbound toward a driveway that runs from 6th Street to the Governor's Mansion. On the west side of the driveway, the trail is about five feet deep 80 yards south of Cedar Crest. The trail runs southwest to a now existing pond where the travellers used to cross a ditch and continue up the hill west of the driveway. In the days of the Oregon Trail, there were no trees that now cover the hill. Prairie fires kept trees from growing on the grassland. The trail enters the wooded area and circles around on the north side of the hill and appears again on the west side of a gravel hiking trail as ruts two to four feet deep. This run of the trail continues northwest to a newly constructed road that runs from SW 6th Street to the Kansas River. There are visible trails that follow the valley down to the Kansas River valley. The travellers had to visit the river often on their journey to water their livestock and to replentish their water supply.
The area of the Governor's Mansion would have been a full day's journey from Papin's Ferry where the travellers decided not to cross the Kansas River. The river was often too shallow or too flooded for a crossing on Papin's Ferry. It would take the travellers about a week to travel to Union Town where there was another ferry for the crossing. Many of the travellers would have camped on the hill west of the Governor's Mansion to catch a breeze in the summertime and to have a view of Topeka. Several artifacts from the Oregon Trail days have been found on this section of the trail. This section of the Oregon Trail may be the best surviving remains of the trail.