Lewis & Clark Pavilion
In the summer of 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led the Corps of Discovery along the northeast corner of what is now Kansas. On July 4, the Lewis & Clark Expedition passed through present day Atchison, Kansas, where they celebrated Independence Day by firing their keelboat's swivel gun and naming two local streams for the holiday.
The city of Atchison memorializes the visit by the Lewis & Clark Expedition at several locations.
My favorite Lewis & Clark site in Atchison is at the memorial marker for 4th of July 1804 Creek which was named by Captain William Clark when Lewis & Clark paused near the creek on that date. There is a covered pedestrian bridge which crosses the creek and connects the parking lot with the Atchison County Historical Museum and Atchison Rail Museum. There is a small waterfall just above the museum. Actually there are three, very small falls. Two of them are under Kansas Highway 7, 150 feet away.
The most prominent Atchison memorial is the Lewis & Clark Pavilion in Riverfront Park, on the bank of the Missouri River just above the Amelia Earhart Memorial Bridge and Atchison Railroad Bridge. The pavilion was built by the Kansas Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commission and dedicated on July 3 & 4 of 2004. The Pavilion includes a bronze eternal flame. There is an adjacent Veterans' Memorial Plaza and its monuments include a new memorial which displays a section of the aft deckhouse superstructure of the battleship U.S.S. Arizona. The Arizona sank during the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941.
A bicycle path and walkway leads north from Riverfront Park, at first following along the bank of the Missouri River. The trail turns inland and runs 5 miles to the Independence Creek Historic Site. Independence Creek was the second Atchison area Missouri River tributary named by Captain Clark. This location is believed to be near the spot where the Lewis & Clark Expeditions stopped, but it is now far from the Missouri River. The river has moved over time. The historic site has a recreated Kanza Lodge which is periodically opened to the public and can be viewed through a gate at other times.
copyright 2011 by Keith Stokes