Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Council Grove Kansas (#2)

With over a dozen places listed on the National Register of Historic Places, we weren’t quite done exploring Council Grove! 

It should be noted that the Downtown Business District is listed basically in its entirety as is the Santa Fe National Historic Landmark District… We photographed segments of both districts but missed major portions of both as well as 4 other free standing historic places.  There is a lot to see in this historic town…

This tree trunk with a roof over it is part of the Santa Fe Trail Historic District.  From 1825 to 1847, Santa Fe Trail travelers left messages in a cache at the foot of this bur oak tree to inform others of trail conditions, giving it its name, "Post Office Oak".  Believed to have been 270 years old when it died in 1990, its stump has been preserved on the site.

The adjacent stone house is now a museum operated by the Morris County Historical Society.  It was built in 1864 as a residence…with a brewery in the basement.  The museum is open on Sundays during the summer and by appointment only at other times.


·       The Santa Fe Trail connected Franklin, Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico.  It served as a vital commercial highway until the introduction of the railroad to Santa Fe in 1880.

·       The Trail crossed Comancheria, the territory of the Comanches, who demanded compensation for granting passage to the trail.  Americans routinely assaulted the Comanches along the trail, finding it unacceptable that they had to pay a fee for passage to Santa Fe.

·       The Trail was used as the 1846 United States invasion route of New Mexico during the Mexican–American War.

The Cottage House Hotel at 25 North Neosho Street was built in 1867.  Originally it was a three-room cottage and blacksmith shop that grew into a boarding house in 1871…known as the Cottage House.  Major additions were made between 1881 and 1913.  This Italianate ‘cube’ style bed-and-breakfast has been restored to the eras of each of those additions.  Back in early 1900s, this little hotel was considered to be very upscale indeed when compared to most others.

To learn more about the Cottage House Bed and Breakfast as well as the dining room, just go to


·       Council Grove is the county seat in Morris County, Kansas.  It was named after an agreement between European Americans and the Osage Nation about allowing settlers' wagon trains to pass through the area and proceed to the West.  Pioneers gathered at a grove of trees so that wagons could band together for their trip west.

·       Today the population of Council Grove is estimated to be approximately 2,200 residents. 

The Kaw Mission was built in 1851 as a school for boys from the Kaw (Kanza) American Indian tribe.  The State of Kansas is named after this tribe.  For more information about this historical site, just go to  

Basically, the mission was established by Methodists who attempted to educate Kaw boys as a means of folding the Indians into the Euro-American culture.  Thirty Kaw boys lived and attended school here from 1851 to 1854. The Kaw lived here along the Santa Fe Trail for less than 30 years before the U.S. government removed them to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).


·       Today, the Kaw Nation's headquarters is in Kaw City, Oklahoma.  Current tribal membership is roughly 3,200 but less than half of the tribe resides in Oklahoma.

·       The name of Topeka, capital city of Kansas, is said to be the Kaw word Tó Ppí Kˀé meaning "a good place to grow potatoes."

In 1861 the federal government built 138 of these stone huts on the Kaw reservation south of Council Grove.  This one hut has been relocated and rebuilt on the mission grounds.  This is another example of the government trying to ‘help’ people.   The Indians, who had for generations been living comfortably in skin tepees and bark-and-mat lodges, wanted nothing to do with their new homes, choosing instead to stable their horses and dogs in them!


·       The Kaw Mission State Historic Site is the first designated stop on the twenty-one site historical tour route through the town.  It’s also Council Grove’s official visitor information center.  To learn about the historical tour, go to   

This was our last stop in Council Grove… The Carnegie Library building was built ca. 1917 and it’s located at 303 West Main Street.  The Morris County Historical Society holds its meetings at this building.

A total of 63 Carnegie Foundation funded libraries were built in Kansas during the first 3 decades of the 20th Century with 4 of them being built on college campuses.  At least 40 Carnegie Library building in Kansas are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  In total, the Foundation built 1,681 city libraries and 108 college libraries in the USA. 

That’s it for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by and helping us explore Council Grove Kansas!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 

1 comment:

  1. I can see why you decided to see more of this area. The stone work on the buildings is amazing and the Cottage House B&B looks like it would be a very nice place to relax and enjoy the area.