Location: MI

Photo of the Week: Lookout

John Brown Lookout

This is the view from atop John Brown Lookout (see map) in Miami County, Kansas, looking northeast towards the city of Paola (you can just make out the grain elevator and water towers on the horizon.

John Brown Lookout Park is an oddity, as a public park. It has a sign marking it’s location, but there are no other public amenities at the park, and the county does almost nothing to promote it. It’s just a lone, naked grass-covered hill located between the towns of Osawatomie and Paola. You get to it via a gravel road (and a wicked-steep little climb), and by clambering over a barbed-wire fence (a convenient ladder is provided).

According to county history, “John Brown’s Lookout near the Miami County Airport still stands at the hilltop where abolitionist John Brown directed the escape of slaves by his Underground Railroad.” The lookout was also apparently used during the civil war, to watch for ruffians and pro-slavers invading from nearby Missouri.

Indeed, from atop the hill you can see a great distance in nearly 360 degrees. It’s an impressive sight!

Here are some additional photos of the site:

John Brown Lookout Park 1

This is the view from the road at the base of the hill (without the context of the surrounding land, it looks less impressive here than it does in real life.)

John Brown Lookout Park 2

Here’s another shot from the park sign. That little dot you see atop the hill, that’s my bike. This gives you a little better idea of the scale of the hill.

John Brown Lookout Park 3

And finally, here’s the gravel road and the access ladder. The peak of the hill is actually another 20 feet or so higher in elevation than this road (and perhaps 100 feet of so higher than at the bottom).

(There’s also a Geodetic Survey Marker at the top of John Brown Lookout, placed in 1926.)

Another fun place to explore by bike!

About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web's premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

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