Thursday, December 10, 2009

Schoolhouse & Wild Flowers

Lower Fox Creek School is located on the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve.

The one room school was built in 1882 and was used until 1930.

Woolly Verbana

Plains Sunflower

Indians mixed dried ground petals with cornmeal to use as yellow face powder during ceremonial dances.

Tall or Roadside Thistle.

Indian Blanket Flower is the state flower of Oklahoma.  We have them in Kansas also.
They are a member of the Sunflower family.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Neosho Riverwalk

This building was built in 1864 and used as a brewery.

In front of the building, a bur oak once grew which served as an unofficial post office for travelers on the Santa Fe Trail from 1825-1847.  The tree was believed to be 270 years old when it died in 1990.

Madonna of the Trail Statue was erected in 1928 by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

These statues were placed in 12 states along the routes of Old Trails.

Guardian of the Grove statue honoring the Kaw or Kansa Indians.

Neosho Riverwalk

Neosho River

Site of the Neosho River Crossing

The Riverwalk starts at the Madonna of the Trail Statue and follows the River to the Kaw Mission.

Last Chance Store

The Last Chance Store was erected in 1857.

Just our luck, last chance and they are closed.

The store was the last opportunity for the freighters bound for Santa Fe to purchase supplies.

Filled in well

I find old doors interesting.

I have a fear of looking in empty buildings.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve & Spring Hill Farm and Stock Ranch

The Tallgrass Prairie Nature Preserve is located 16 miles south of Council Grove.

The Preserve includes the former home of Cattleman Stephen F. Jones which he named the "Spring Hill Farm and Stock Ranch".

The porch provides a panoramic view of the Flint HIlls.

The eleven room home was built with hand-cut limestone.

Built in 1881, the house is characteristic of the Second Empire Style of 19th century architecture. Second Empire Arcitecture was modeled after the opulent architecture of Paris during the reign of Napoleon III and was popular in the United States from about 1855-1885. It is a style of Victorian architecture which preceeded the Queen Anne era of painted ladies.

Second Empire architecture often included small entries, mansard roofs, towers, dormers and wrought iron.

I loved this detail on the front columns.

The front doors are massive.  They are deceptive because they are made of pine painted to resemble a more expensive wood.

Natural Springs are found on the hillside behind the house.  A cistern was built to collect the water which was then piped under ground and down the hill to the house. A ice house was also constructed to store ice for summer use.

Chuck checks out the "Icehouse".

The "Necessary House" or what we might call the "Outhouse".  This outhouse even had windows with curtains, which was highly unusual.

The interior includes a child's toilet seat.

The fireplaces also use trompe l'oeil painting (fool the eye).  The limestone is painted to resemble marble.

Notice the ornate plaster molding and the bay window.

Another interior room.

Ornately carved bannister.

Up close detail of the pine doors painted to appear like more expensive paneling.

The three story barn is 60x100 feet. 

Horses, cattle or other animals were housed on the lower levels.  Hay,grain, and equipment were stored on the upper levels which were reached by means of these unique ramps.

View of the prairie out the barn window.

The day we visited, a quilt show was being held in the barn.

When built, the barn roof contained two and half tons of tin.

The real star of the Preserve is the Prairie itself, nestled among the gently rolling Flint Hills.

At one time, Tall Grass Prairie covered 140 million acres of North America.  Today, less than 4% of Tall Grass Prairie is still in existence. Tall Grass can reach heights of 6 foot.