Sandstone is an extensive geologic formation found throughout the
Great Plains region. A once vast, warm shallow sea that covered much
of Kansas contributed to the creation of the rolling hills and
deposited plant/seashore materials and creatures creating the
sandstone, limestone, and fossils it left behind. At Wilson Lake the
sandstone formation is exposed in several areas. These exposures
have proved to be excellent sources of fossil material dating back
to the Cretaceous era, approximately 80 million years ago. Fossils
represented at Wilson Lake include a variety of plant material and
Rocktown Natural Area
at Wilson Lake
Rocktown Natural Area is a 305 acre site located on
the western boundary of Lucas Park. In August, 1986 it was
designated a Natural and Scientific Area by the Kansas Biological
Survey. Although the most obvious feature of Rocktown is the 15-30
foot high sandstone pillars that dominate the landscape, it is the
unusual mix of prairie plant species associated with the shallow,
sandy soils of the Sandhills that paramount natural significance.
The soils in this area are not typical for this region of Kansas.
Plant species of interest include Fremont’s clematis, Fremont
evening primrose, shortstem spiderwort, blue funnel lily, Buckley’s
penstemon, fameflower, prairie sandreed, and Maryland senna.
of stone fence-posts in north central Kansas are a tribute to the
ingenuity of early settlers who solved their fencing problems on
treeless plains by quarrying rock to use as posts. The stone used
for posts and homestead buildings was quarried from a rock layer
found near the surface. This rock is a chalky limestone of rather
uniform thickness, 8-9 inches. When freshly quarried, it is soft
enough to be sawed, notched, drilled, or shaped with hand tools.
After prolonged exposure to air, it hardens and becomes weather
resistant. The communities surrounding the lake have many
interesting buildings constructed of stone posts quarried in the
area. One-room schoolhouses, churches, homes, barns, businesses,
jails, and bridges may still be found standing as a tribute to the
early settlers of the area.
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History | Wilson Lake