Cowboy Rock near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas Barber County, Kansas.  

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Cowboy Rock near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas

Three Views of Cowboy Rock near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas

Photos from the collection of Kim Fowles.
Three Views of Cowboy Rock near Sun City, Kansas
Photo from the collection of Kim Fowles.

Photographer at Cowboy Rock near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas

Photo from the collection of Kim Fowles.

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Photographer at Cowboy Rock near Sun City, Kansas
Photo from the collection of Kim Fowles.
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Photographer at Cowboy Rock near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas

Photo from the collection of Kim Fowles.

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Photographer at Cowboy Rock near Sun City, Kansas
Photo from the collection of Kim Fowles.
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Two men climbing Cowboy Rock near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas

Photo from the collection of Kim Fowles.

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Two men climbing Cowboy Rock near Sun City, Kansas
Photo from the collection of Kim Fowles.
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Two men climbing Cowboy Rock near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas

Photo from the collection of Kim Fowles.

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Two men climbing Cowboy Rock near Sun City, Kansas
(Note the fingerprint on the image in front of the head of the man in the left of the photo.)
Photo from the collection of Kim Fowles.
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Sixteen people at Cowboy Rock near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas

Photo from the collection of Kim Fowles.

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Sixteen people at Cowboy Rock near Sun City, Kansas
Photo from the collection of Kim Fowles.
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Sixteen people at Cowboy Rock near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas

Photo from the collection of Kim Fowles.

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Sixteen people at Cowboy Rock near Sun City, Kansas
Some of these people may be the same people seen in photos of The Natural Bridge near Sun City, Kansas.
Photo from the collection of Kim Fowles.
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About "Cowboy Rock" by Jerry Ferrin

This pillar is formed of a soft rock - most probably sandstone, judging from the layered appearance of the rock - which has been protected by a harder cap rock on the top of the pillar. The "columns" on the shaft of the rock appear to correspond to cracks on the cap rock where water drainage off the cap rock has eroded the shaft of the rock more deeply than areas not subject to so much water drainage. The striations - or layers - in the rock are clearly visible in the larger versions of the images.

In addition to the erosion caused by wind and water, this pillar has also been subjected to "erosion" by graffiti having been carved into it, as you can see in the image entitled "Two men climbing Cowboy Rock near Sun City, Kansas".

I've seen similar graffiti carved into the stone at Hell's Half Acre. I visited the site, which I also often heard called "Devil's Half Acre" several times in the late 1950s, early 1960s and most recently in September of 1991.

I was surprised in 1991 to see so few remaining incriptions carved or scratched into the sandstone as my recollection of the site in earlier years is of it having inscriptions everywhere a human, and some were apparently very agile, could reach. From how rapidly the inscriptions had "weathered away" in the past 30 - 40 years, it seemed apparent to me that the deplorable and irresponsible habit of visitors defacing stone in the area with scratched and carved graffiti has accelerated the rate of erosion of the sandstone cliffs, boulders and columns at Hell's Half Acre.

For those reading this web page who are interested in visiting the geological features mentioned: Hell's Half Acre, Cowboy Rock, Camel Rock and all other geological features in Barber, Comanche and Kiowa counties are on privately owned land. Trespassing is a crime. Please check with the local courthouse for the landowner's name pertinent to the geological site of interest to you, then follow up by letter or telephone with the landowner to get permission to visit the land before you do so.


Detail of 'Two men climbing Cowboy Rock near Sun City, Kansas' showing graffiti carved into the stone pillar.
Graffiti carved into Cowboy Rock


Hell's Half Acre, Comanche County, Kansas.

Sun City, the closest town to Hell's Half Acre, is located in Barber County, Kansas.

Image from an undated postcard.
Hell's Half Acre, Sun City, Kansas.
Sun City, the closest town to Hell's Half Acre, is located in Barber County, Kansas.
Hell's Half Acre is located in Comanche County, Kansas.
Image from an undated postcard


The above reproduction of a photo postcard captioned "Hell's Half Acre, Sun City, Kansas" is a perfect example of why it is difficult to be certain of the location of Cowboy Rock: it gives the name of the nearest town to H.H.A. without mentioning that H.H.A. is actually in Comanche County, not Barber County, Kansas. Thus, although the captions printed on the original photos reproduced on this page say "Cowboy Rock, Sun City, Kansas", it is probable that Sun City is the closest town to Cowboy Rock, and it is plausible that the rock may actually be in Comanche County or Kiowa County.

In an attempt to learn the location of Cowboy Rock, I asked Phyllis Scherich for information and she forwarded my query to geologists Stan Roth and Ken Brunsen.

Stan Roth initially replied: "It is near the Cheyenne sandstone rock form known as Camel Rock, I think. There are trees growing up around the site, now. This would make it ~1+mi. n. of Hell's Half Acre which is in far N.E. Comanche County. This is in the Cretaceous upthrust area of surrounding Permian [Blaine formation] rock."

Stan later wrote again (to Ken Brunsen and Phyllis Scherich) to say: "Thanks for finding the images of Cheyenne Hills in the vicinity of Belvidere. Of the 13 photos, the one taken from the "back" of Camel Rock, looking off to the S.E., shows what I thought might have been Cowboy Rock. It isn't, as I also suggested in my post yesterday p.m. I don't think any of the other 12 images represent Cowboy Rock either. Now, I'm all the more in interested in finding that site."


'Camel Rock, Kiowa County, Kansas.

Photo by John Charlton, courtesy of the Kansas Geological Survey.
Camel Rock, Kiowa County, Kansas.
Photo by John Charlton, courtesy of the Kansas Geological Survey
Source: http://abyss.kgs.ku.edu/pls/abyss/pubcat.phd1.View_Photo?f_id=408&f_hd=Y


If you have information on Cowboy Rock or photographs of it, please contact me. Thanks to everyone who has provided information or images published on this page.

For an entertaining and informative introduction to geological time and processes, see Genesis V2.0 - God's Grand Work Week by Bob Keller.


Also see:

The Natural Bridge near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas   Photos courtesy of Brenda McLain, Kim Fowles and the Kansas Geological Society.

Gypsum Quarries, Mines and Mills in Barber County, Kansas

Photos of Barber County, Kansas, from the Kansas Geological Society

Sun City, Kansas

The following off-site links will open in a new browser window:

Genesis V2.0 - God's Grand Work Week   A Grand Canyon Geology Primer by Bob Keller. This is an entertaining and informative introduction to geological time and processes.

Rock Identification Key   "A Beginner's Guide and Key to Help You Identify and Put a Name on That Rock! Learn to ID and Distinguish Basalt, Diabase, Diorite, Gabbro, Granite, Obsidian, Pumice, Rhyolite, Scoria, Gneiss, Marble, Quartzite, Schist, Serpentinite, Slate, Breccia, Conglomerate, Limestone, Sandstone, Shale...". This illustrated feature article by Don Peck at Bob's Rock Shop is one every rockhound will want to bookmark.


Thanks to Kim Fowles for contributing the photos of Cowboy Rock to this web site!

This RootsWeb website is being created by Jerry Ferrin with the able assistance of many Contributors. Your comments, suggestions and contributions of historical information and photographs to this site are welcome. Please sign the Guest Book. This page was created 22 September 2007.

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