Nine Mile Point is the location where the early trace of the Santa Fe Trail crossed the Missouri state line in the 1820s. The site also represents the earliest official government documentation of any location on the Santa Fe Trail. The first wagons ever carried over the Santa Fe Trail crossed here at Nine Mile Point. In 1821 William Becknell forged the Santa Fe Trail when he led a small group of men on horseback from frontier Missouri to Mexico’s northern colonial outpost, Santa Fe.
The very next year, in 1822, again bound for Santa Fe, Becknell led a larger group of men and three wagons loaded with trade goods west on the trail through Nine Mile Point here. These were the very first wagons ever taken on the Santa Fe Trail. In 1823 surveyor Joseph Brown and his crew surveyed the western border of the young state of Missouri.
Starting in the center of the mouth of the Kansas River, Brown and his men measured the state line southward, erecting sod markers at each mile point. As they reached this location just over nine miles from their start, Brown recorded in his field notes “…to a trace leading from Fort Osage toward Santa Fe.”
The trace that Brown noted was created by the three historic wagons of William Becknell that had come through this location at Nine Mile Point the previous year. In 1825 Joseph Brown returned to this area as a government surveyor ; this time as the surveyor of the Santa Fe Trail, working with the leader of that George Sibley.
This survey once again brought Brown through Nine Mile Point, but this time not as a boundary surveyor but as the surveyor of a highway between nations.