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Marshall County Historical Courthouse Museum

1207 Broadway, Marysville, KS 66508

(785) 562-5012




This 1891 building served as Marshall County’s courthouse for nearly 90 years. In the 1970s county officials built a new courthouse next door and in 1979 deeded the old courthouse to The Marshall County Historical Society. Since that time, more than $200,000 has been spent to preserve and maintain it. Funds have come from grants, donations, and a trust fund set up by Historical Society members.

In the first years of Historical Society ownership, the building continued to house some county offices, as well as business tenants. Over time, the rooms were converted to display the growing collection of county history artifacts. The museum gradually expanded to the current 21 display rooms. The building has several storage vaults with cast-iron doors and interior iron shutters. The courtroom is used for weddings, plays, mock trials, and meetings.


7th & Broadway, Marysville, KS 66508

At Marysville’s Pony Express Plaza, you will find three unique interactive murals that allow you to view history in motion.
When the LIFETILES are viewed from a stationary position, they appear as a fixed image.  However, as you move from
one side to another, the embedded images become a moving picture.

The Left Mural

On the left, a Pony Express rider gallops across the prairie, his long duster lifting in the wind to reveal the mail pouches. During the short life of the Pony Express— April 1860 to October 1861—Marysville was the site of Home Station No. 1.  The Pony Express Mural is designed to show what the prairie may have looked like as the Pony Express rider left Marysville and headed to the next station.

The Center Mural

The center mural depicts a variety of images significant to Marysville’s rich history, including the Pony Express Barn, historic Broadway, the lions at the gate of the Koester House Museum, the historic courthouse, and our former railroad depot. 

The Right Mural

On the right, a Model 119 steam locomotive from 1861 changes into a modern diesel locomotive, suggesting the technological progress over the 140 years since Marysville became a railroad town.

unique artwork

There is no other artwork of this kind in Kansas. Produced by Boston, MA artist, Rufus Butler Seder, the murals are a rare art form.
Each mural measures 4’ high and 10’ long, consisting of 90 individual ribbed glass tiles with images embedded in each.
The LIFETILES are hand-crafted from start to finish.

For more information about Seder and his “optically animated art,” visit www.rufuslifetiles.com.

Black Squirrels on Parade

Black Squirrels on Parade gives visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with Marysville’s official mascot!

Thirty-four 5-foot fiberglass black squirrels are displayed all throughout town, designed and painted by local and
regional artists. Grab a map at the Visitors Center or area gas stations and go find each squirrel to learn more
about the inspiration behind our furry friends!

Be sure to stop by our Black Squirrel Interpretive Site in City Park (10th & Walnut) to learn about the history of the
black squirrels and how Marysville came to be known as the Black Squirrel City!
Download a map here:  http://bit.ly/2RGnUUh

Alcove Spring Historic Park

Alcove Spring Historic Park is on the National Register of Historic Places and considered one of the most significant historic sites on the Oregon Trail in Kansas. it was discovered in 1846 when the Donner party were delayed by high waters on the Blue River. A 223-acre park offers a self-guided walking tour and interpretive exhibits. The trail to the spring itself is less than 1/4 mile and an easy walk. Recently, bike trails were constructed to offer additional opportunities to explore the site.

Alcove Spring is located 6 miles South of Marysville on the East River Road. Follow the highway directional signs.

Contact:  Alcove Spring Preservation Association, P.O. Box 98, Blue Rapids, Kansas 66411, (785) 363-7991


As emigrants headed west on the Oregon Trail they crossed the Big Blue River at Independence Crossing. Many times the river was too swollen to cross, so the travelers had to wait a few days to make the crossing safer. Near the crossing, the emigrants discovered one of the most beautiful and serene sites along the Oregon Trail – Alcove Spring.  The spring flows from the side of the alcove into the basin below the falls.  Water from a wet-weather creek flows over a rocky outcrop and falls 10-12 feet into the same pool.

Alcove Spring got its name in 1846 when the Donner-Reed Party was forced to wait for the Big Blue River to go down from May 26 to May 31.  One of the members of the party, Edwin Bryant, found and named the site. “Alcove Spring” and “JFR 26 May 1846” were engraved in a rock at the top of the falls and are still visible today. Sadly on May 29th, Sarah H. Keyes, the mother-in-law of the party’s co-leader, James F. Reed, died.  Over the years the original gravesite was lost, but in 1950, the Arthur Barrett Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution dedicated a monument at the Spring in her honor.

Because of the five-day delay at the Big Blue River and poor judgment in attempting an untried route across the Great Salt Desert, the Donner-Reed Party reached the Sierra pass too late.  Blocked by snow, the emigrants were stranded.  Of the 81 stranded, only 45 survived.

Alcove Spring is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The site was previously on a privately-owned pasture and had been open to the public, until the 1970’s when public access was denied.  In 1993, the park was reopened. A year later, the Alcove Spring Historical Trust bought 233 acres, which included Alcove Spring.  Another organization, The Alcove Spring Preservation Association, hosts events at the site and works directly with the Kansas State Historical Society and the National Park Service to preserve Alcove Spring and interpret the story of the site.

The area is rich in natural beauty and features native grasses, wildflowers, trees, birds and other animal life. You can hike a short trail from the parking lot, through a shady woods to the site of the actual falls, or take a longer hike through the hills.  Approximately 5 miles of marked and mowed walking trails guide you along streams, hilly trails with beautiful views of the Blue River Valley, highland pasture land that has never seen the plow and some of the prettiest vistas in Marshall County.  Across the road from the parking area, you will find the Sarah Keyes monument, informative signs, Independence Crossing and wagon swales still visible today.


Blue River Rail Trail


900 Jayhawk Road, Marysville, KS 66508

Winding through wooded areas, grassland vistas and fields of corn and soybeans, the Blue River Rail
Trail is open for walkers, joggers and bicyclists. The 11.5 mile trail offers views of the river, wildlife
sightings and the music of songbirds. With a surface of crushed limestone screenings the trail meets
with the Homestead Trail at the Nebraska border. Riders can make the trek from Marysville all the way
to Lincoln, Nebraska. The next connection will be from the Blue River Rail Trail’s Jayhawk Road Trailhead
to the historic Union Pacific Railroad Depot in downtown Marysville.

Directions: At the US 36 Highway & 8th Street stoplight, travel North approximately 1 mile. At the T in
the road, turn left and follow the road to the Trailhead.