Guests attending one or both of the final two spring presentations in the Finney County Historical Society’s free history lecture series will learn about the 200th anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail.

    The programs are set for noon April 14 and 7 p.m. April 20 in the Mary Regan Conference Room of the Finney County Museum in Garden City. Admission is free and access is through the north museum entrance.

    The April 14 speaker is Linda Peters, Lakin, a Kearny County Historical Society officer and leader in the area chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association.  The speaker April 20 will be Dr. Lee Oliva, Woodston, retired Fort Hays State University history professor and author of numerous books about the trail, Kansas history and the frontier.

    The trail was initiated in 1821 by William Becknell, linking Franklin, Mo., east of present-day Kansas City, with the Spanish colonial outpost of Santa Fe.  Initially traveled for trading, the trail’s mountain route runs through Garden City and is marked by a memorial stone along Maple Street in Finnup Park.

    The noon lecture is part of the History at High Noon series, taking place the second Wednesday of January, February, March, April, September, October and November.  The 7 p.m. talk is part of the Evenings at the Museum series, sponsored by the AT&T Pioneers Southern Council on the third Wednesday of those months.

    Attendance is limited to 40-42 as a COVID precaution.  Masks are no longer required under city ordinance, but seating is spaced for social distancing and free masks will be available for those who wish them. Coffee and tea are provided but, unlike programs prior to 2020, food is neither provided nor allowed.

    Fall topics will be announced later. Prior spring programs have focused on the 1920s, Garden City’s Sabine and Calkins Halls and the 1918-19 Influenza pandemic.