As you begin heading East on I-70 out of Manhattan, you might notice some road signs that say “Native Stone” byway. I was not in a hurry to head back to Kansas City. I turned off the road and began following the signs to a small town called Alma. Alma, Kansas, located in the Flint Hills, was first settled in 1858 by Swedish, English, Irish, and Germany settlers. Most of the buildings in the small city are also made of the native limestone from the nearby hills. It is, as the road signs said, a city made of native stone.
Native Stone Scenic Drive
Alma is part of both the Scenic Mill Creek Drive and the Native Stone Scenic Drive. You can see remnants of the old stone fences that the government paid farmers to build back in 1867. Downtown, the main buildings still retain their historical look. The limestone blocks were often hauled to the site by heavy wagons and horses and were put in place by hand with heavy ropes.
Where to find it? (Map)
Note. The photos were taken with an old iPhone. The pixelation in a lot of these pictures is a good example of a digital zoom vs optical zoom. So, this trip is what made me reconsider purchasing a new point and shoot so that I didn’t have to carry around my large DSLR on short trips, but one that still took higher quality photos.
For more information about the historic places (and more stone buildings) in the city, visit the City of Alma, Kansas website.