In a day that celebrated the history of cowboys, trails, and railroads, the next steps in the journey for the Trail’s End Project were taken Thursday afternoon.
In a ceremony commemorating the efforts and dedication of the Trail’s End Committee, two major announcements were made on behalf of those individuals.
“We are here to celebrate the connection of the Starline Brass Trail’s End Plaza at the end of the Shawnee-Sedalia Trail, to the MKT or Katy Trail which was finished in 1865 and was the trail that opened up the southwest,” Dr. Doug Kiburz said in his remarks.
“The trailhead becomes a part of the Katy State Park Trail as well as part of the American Discovery Trail, which runs 6,800 miles from coast to coast, traversing 16 National Parks and 14 National Forests,” Kiburz added.
The Connect the Trail Committee is working to have the Trail’s End Plaza designated as the first National Historic Landmark in Sedalia and Pettis County.
At the ceremony, Ed Watkins announced the Trail’s End Committee had donated the Trail’s End Plaza to the Missouri State Fair Foundation.
“There are three types of people in this world,” said Wendy Faulconer, executive director of the Missouri State Fair Foundation. “The status quo, the dreamers who can’t accomplish their goals, and those who dream but do accomplish their dreams.
“On behalf of the Missouri State Fair Foundation I am honored to accept this extraordinary gift,” Faulconer said. “I give you our promise that we will do our best to steward this for the generations to come.”
Kiburz said the decision to donate the plaza to the Missouri State Fair Foundation was a goal for the committee from its beginning.
“We knew all along that our purpose and goal was to design the project and see it through to its completion,” Kiburz said. “The plaza will be here for tens of thousands of years and that it should go to an ongoing entity to be the steward.
“It seemed only fitting to donate this to the Fair Foundation to be the caretaker for the project, as we are certain they will take care of the legacy,” he added. “It is in good hands for the future generations to come.”
At the ceremony, two of the dreamers of the Trail’s End project were honored for their efforts and dedication to the project.
Barbara and Bob Hayden were recognized for their significant contributions to Trail’s End with the announcement of the naming of the Trail’s End Trailhead for the couple.
The trailhead, located at the Starline Brass Trail’s End Plaza on the northeast corner of the Fairgrounds, officially became connected to the Katy State Trail Park by 2,995 feet of trail through the fairgrounds to the southeast corner.
“Today really is the realization of a dream come true for all of us,” Barbara Hayden said after the presentation.
Her husband agreed.
“We both feel that there is not a better place in the country and we are so grateful that we moved here,” Bob Hayden said. “Sedalia has been very good to us and we wanted to give something back.
“Trail’s End is the front door to the fairgrounds and the fairgrounds are what Missouri is all about,” he added. “This represents the best of our history.”
The history of Sedalia and the trails is a reason many of those involved with the project wanted to help.
“There were so many times when we hit a stall point in our work on the project,” Dale Yelton said. “But every time we did someone always stepped up to make this possible.
“Everyone who worked on the project did so because they wanted to make a difference for the generations to come, so they can understand our heritage and history,” Yelton added. “No one did it for glory or power or control, they did it because they cared.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484