TOPEKA – On May 5, Governor Sam Brownback hosted a ceremonial signing of the bill renaming Lake Scott State Park to Historic Lake Scott State Park. Park staff and other officials from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) attended the ceremony. The new name will take effect beginning July 1, 2017. The bill to rename the park was introduced in the 2017 Legislature and passed unanimously in both chambers. Governor Sam Brownback officially signed the bill into law on March 28, 2017.
The park opened in 1930. Adding “Historic” to the park’s name recognizes the historical significance of the land and lake to Native Americans, the State of Kansas, Scott County and surrounding areas. El Cuartelejo – the remains of the northeastern-most known Native American pueblo, which dates to about 1664 – are in the park. The park is entirely enclosed within the El Cuartelejo Archeological District National Historic Landmark. More than 26 archeological sites have been documented within and adjacent to the park’s boundaries.
The Herbert and Eliza Steele House, the home of early settlers in the area, was completed circa 1894 and has been preserved in the park much as it was more than 120 years ago. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Register of Kansas Historic Places.
A flood in August 1933 destroyed about 100 feet of the dam. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) acted quickly to repair the dam and make other park improvements, completing their work in May 1934. Remnants of the CCC camp are still visible in the park. A beach house, an example of revival Spanish architecture, was built in 1930 at the swim beach, and today serves as concessions for the public.
Battle Canyon, about one mile south of the park, is another notable historic feature. It is the location of the September 1878 Battle of Punished Woman’s Fork – the last battle between Native Americans (Northern Cheyenne) and the U.S Cavalry in Kansas.
Lake Scott State Park is located along the Western Vistas Historic Byway about 11 miles north of Scott City, west of US-83 on K-95. Listed by National Geographic as one of the country’s 50 must-see state parks, Lake Scott State Park is a stunning oasis of natural springs, deep wooded canyons, craggy bluffs and early American history. The 1,020-acre park is in Ladder Creek Canyon and surrounds the 100-acre Scott State Fishing Lake. Several active springs and Ladder Creek feed the lake. A 160-acre wildlife area also lies west of and adjacent to the park.