The stump before you is all that is left of a grand old oak tree that was about 270 years old when it died in 1990. The tree, which once stood 80 feet high, was located in the campground used by Santa Fe Trail travelers. It is said to have been used as a "post office" from the 1820s to the 1840s. Travelers reputedly left messages in [the] cavity at the foot of the tree about water sources, Plains Indian unrest, and other information.
In 1855, Council Grove's first postmaster was appointed. But, because there was no official post office, the postmaster simply distributed mail from a sack on the street, or emptied it onto the floor of a store where postal patrons claimed their own mail.
Communication is something that we take for granted today. During Santa Fe Trail days, information moved much more slowly. For instance, news of President Abraham Lincoln's April 14, 1865, assassination reached Council Grove on April 20, and Santa Fe fifteen days later, on May 5.