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.

Hermit's Cave of Giovanni Maria Augustini

For a brief time, an Italian hermit priest named Giovanni Maria Augustini lived in this small cave in 1863. Prior to this cave, the hermit had resided in a hollow tree in Westport, Missouri.

In 1863, the eccentric hermit followed a wagon train on foot to Las Vegas, New Mexico.  He was murdered in 1869.

Old Bell Monument

This bell was brought to Council Grove in 1863 and placed near this location in 1866, atop a hill on a wooden tower, to serve as an Indian Raid Alarm.  The bell remained for over twenty years as a school and church bell.  It is unclear if it was ever used to warn the citizen's of potential attacks.

The stone monument above was erected in 1901.  The top of the bell has since been vandalized.  The bell is located near the hermit's cave.

Durland Park & M-K-T Depot

Seth Hays Home

Seth Hays built this house in 1867.  The house is the third house he built and is unique because it is made of brick. Most houses in Council Grove were built of native limestone or wood during this time period.

Mr. Hays was the great-grandson of Daniel Boone and a cousin of Kit Carson. Apparently, Mr. Hays was a southern sympathizer. He owned at least one slave, "Aunt Sallie".  He never married but did adopt one daughter the year the house was built. He died when his adopted daughter was just eleven years old and she was raised by family friends.

Side of home with cellar door leading to basement. I thought it was unique because of the window.

I like doors.

We didn't get to tour the inside of the house. While I took pictures, Chuck entertained himself...

...by checking out a construction project next door.

The Hays House 1857

The Hays House was built in 1857 by Seth Hays, the area's first settler.

The Hays House is the oldest continuously operated restaurant west of the Mississippi River. It is said both General Custer and Jesse James have dined here.

We reserved a private alcove for our anniversary dinner at the Hays House.

Monday, November 16, 2009

1861 Terwilliger Stone Home Museum

The Terwilliger House was built in 1861and was the last house in Council Grove
 that Santa Fe freighters passed as they traveled West.

Today the Terrwillger House houses the Trail Days Bakery Cafe and a small museum.

Steps leading down to the brick pathway.

A Mayberry sort of view from the front porch.

According to a bochure on the building, the house was built by Abraham & Mary Rawlinson. The Rawlinson's would have observed long freight trains pulled by oxen heading West towards Santa Fe.

The historic home features a slat roof and stained glass. The house is the second oldest home remaining alonside the once thriving Santa Fe Trail, a frontier highway.

After an absoutely delicious meal, we were all smiles.

The restaurant offers a historic and pleasing atmosphere.We highly recommend it!

A period photograph of the Terwillinger Home.

A restored room now converted into a cozy dining hall. At one time, the home was converted into a gasoline station and eventually feel into disrepair before being rescued and preserved.

The Cafe is also a bakery.

An Indian pictograph possibly of Kanza/Osage origin, was discovered during restoration. It is believed to be a warrior's memorial.

The first floor has also been converted into a dining area.  I believe it was originally the kitchen of the home and had a dirt floor.

An upstairs bedroom is decorated in period pieces.

For 50 years, the Terwilliger Home was converted into a gasoling station.  Tourists would camp in tents on the property surrounded by large Maple trees.  The area became know as "Maple Camp".

This building orginally housed WW II personnel. The grounds surrounding the Terwilliger Home also include a 1902 one room schoolhouse, a 1858 log house and tourist cabins from the 1930's, forerunners of today's motels.

A sideview of the home.