• Teter Rock #1
  • Teter Rock #2
  • Teter Rock #3
  • Untitled photo

I decided to make a trip to the Flint Hills  in Kansas to continue my exploration of the vanishing plains and prairie of the United States, during my research I can across a website to a place called Teter Rocks. I had to visit. I turned on to the dusty gravel road out of Cassoday, this 11 mile stretch of road is a little bit of an adventure, about half way I really started to wonder where I was going. Then out of know where there is a small sign that reads “Teterville and Teter Rock”. I turned on to this dirt road and began to head up the hill. After about a mile on this dirt road full of boulders and ruts that would easily swallow a small car I began to see Teter Rock off in the distance, a large monolith sticking out of the top of this hill in the middle of the prairie. I couldn’t help but think of the opening scene from “2001”. Sometime in the 1920s, oil was discovered on the land owned by James Teter, and a small village sprung up called Teterville. While the town still exists today, the inhabitants are the cattle and horses that call the surrounding prairie home.

Greenwood County Kansas Historical Society:" .. An upended limestone monolith juts unexpectedly up into the endless blue sky of the Flint Hills. Located at the crest of the highest hill in the area, it's visible for miles in all directions. The view from the area of the rock is great! The stone which serves as Teter Rock today, however, is not the original. It was erected in the 1950s to replace the earlier one which had been used as building materials in the nearby oil-boom town of Teterville. The original Teter Rock Monument was constructed by James Teter sometime in the late 1870s or 1880s as a guide for pioneers searching for the Cottonwood River, which drains all the land to the west of the marker. It seems that homesteaders passing through the area enroute to their claims on the Cottonwood often became lost in the rolling hills of the area. (This still happens to greenhorn tenderfoots--like the Flatlanders!) James Teter solved the problem with a simple pile of rocks which lasted until the 1920s. Today's Teter Rock was erected as a memorial to him by his descendants. Just to the north of Teter Rock, the restless prairie wind blows through the scattered remains of a once bustling community, Teterville. Built during the oil boom of the 1920s,it once had a population of nearly 1000 with 2 General Stores, a Post Office, and an Elementary School. Typical of these oil boom towns, it contained mainly "shot-gun" houses which in many cases sprang up over night. In this case, "over-night" is not just a figure of speech. Lumber was sometimes stolen from nearby oil derricks, and this made carpentry by cover of darkness a necessity. Indoor plumbing was generally nonexistent and drinkable water had to be hauled in from Madison. Such primitive conditions were endured by the workers and their families in exchange for good paying jobs in the oil fields. The Flint Hills had never before, and have never since witness such a rapid influx of both people and wealth.

If you would like to join me in Sept. 2021 to experience the vast Great Plains and Badlands NP , send me an e-mail or for more information visit the web page