Rediscovering Sod-House Days Self-Guided Auto Tour


In 1877, Pennsylvania native Howard Ruede arrived in the Kill Creek community of central Osborne County, Kansas and staked out a homestead. For the next year and a half he wrote letters back to his family telling them about life on the Great Plains and encouraging them to come join him, which they later did.

In 1937, 12 years after Howard’s death, author John Ise edited these letters together and had published the book “Sod-House Days: Letters of a Kansas Homesteader 1877-1878.” “Sod-House Days” has since been recognized as one of the greatest stories on homesteading life ever written. Still published in over 20 countries around the world, the book has proven popular as both a historical record of the times and as an educational tool for today’s students.

In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the initial publication of the book, the Rediscovering Sod-House Days Self-Guided Tour has been established. This 15-mile, 20-stop tour features many of the sites and people made famous in Howard Ruede’s classic tale. Numerous interpretive markers along the route expand the visitor’s knowledge of the grit and sheer determination that it took to survive as a prairie settler.

All roads are non-paved; inquire locally as to road conditions. Tour brochure available.


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