Category: Historical


Museum of the Great Plains

Learn about the famed Leoti/Coronado County Seat Fight of 1887.

We have a large collection of violins, Marion Bonner fossils, and pioneer and old west artifacts.

Recently the museum received a new railroad collection of Richard L. George. Richard began his railroad career as a fireman in the early 1940?s and went on to become an engineer of steam locomotives. One of Richard?s favorite engines, which he drove, was Santa Fe?s streamlined steam engine, the “Blue Goose”.

Items includes the engineer “weigh box”, which the engineer must take on each run. It is filled with many of Mr. George’s instruction manuals, train orders, souvenirs of railroad fairs, and photographs of trains. Among the collection was a train track jack, a railroad pick, many assorted railroad lanterns, and a large framed lithograph of the beautiful Santa Fe “Blue Goose”, and one of the Union Station in Kansas City.

Richard enjoyed the art of photography and took many slides and movies of trains and railroad. There are photographs of trains, wrecks, blizzards and many of the Kansas Flood of 1951. Richard made several scrapbooks of the newspaper articles of the stories of the flood, among these pages are his train orders at the time of the flood. He has written a detailed story in diary form of his involvement at this time of such terrible destruction. All of these photos, scrapbooks, slides, and footage of movies have been donated to the museum. This in itself is a fantastic “first account” piece of history.

Stevens County Gas & Historical Museum

The Stevens County Gas & Historical Museum was dedicated on May 16, 1961. It was established as a memento of the Hugoton Gas Field and the progressive development of Stevens County.

Currently, the gas well, drilled in 1945,is still producing. The 1945 well equipment is on display at the location of the well.

The main museum building houses displays of early 1900 furnishings including a chapel, dining room, parlor, kitchen, and a sewing room. Also, in the main buildings displays of Indian artifacts, farming tools, a printing and western shop, and art room bring back life to the days of long ago.

Completely restored buildings on the half-block museum complex include the Santa Fe Hugoton Train Depot, an 1887 school house, an 1887 home (one of the oldest homes in Hugoton), and an early day grocery store and barber shop. There’s a Professional Building (a tribute to Hugoton’s past judges and lawyers), the first jail house in Hugoton, and a 1905 church (the second church built in Hugoton). The Agricultural Building, completed in 1995, offers extensive displays of farm equipment & implements. rn rn

Stanton County Museum

The Stanton County Museum gives a glimpse of the past and fascinating look at the history of Stanton County. There are nine buildings on the museum site and each has a special story to tell about the residents and the proud pioneer history of this county.

1. The main building of the museum complex is built of native stone. Originally constructed as a shop for the road department, the building was built in 1935 as a WPA project.

2. The Santa Fe Depot was constructed in 1923. It was sold at auction 60 years later and purchased \"Santaby Alfred Ramsay and donated to the museum. The depot houses railroad memorabilia including a small collection of 1930\’s Santa Fe calendars.

3. The decommissioned Santa Fe caboose has been repainted inside and is set up similar to what it would have been like for the train crew who used it as working and living quarters.

4. The Vosburg ironclad elevator was constructed in 1928. As the largest elevator in Johnson, it had a capacity of 15,000 bushels of grain. Most grain trucks of that era held only 60 bushels. The elevator was moved from its location on the railroad tracks to the museum site in 1994.

5. The scale house that accompanies the elevator features weighing equipment and other artifacts necessary for operation. A second room in the scale house is a bunkhouse room with cowboys and farmhand artifacts.

6. The reconstructed jail houses the county\’s original double jail cell with attached corridor, and tells the story of the progress of law enforcement in Stanton County.

7. The Ray Scott building was moved from its location just off Main Street. It has the original pressed tin ceiling and wall. It houses the museum\’s collection of transportation and tractors, along with automotive tools and accessories.

8. The 1923 house was built by Elam and Helena Hilty. The original four rooms housed the family, and a schoolteacher often boarded with them as the house was located across the street from the Old Rock School. Altho, the house was modernized in 1948 with indoor plumbing, the original four rooms are set up in a manner that is consistent with the 1920\’s.

9. The old general store building has been home to a variety of businesses and still contains original counters of Tucker\’s general store.

Coronado Museum

The Coronado Museum is housed in a landmark structure originally built in 1918 as the residence of the Lee Larrabee family. The building retains the warmth and style of an early Western home. Oak staircases, paneled walls and floors add an unusual charm to the treasures of the people who settled Seward County, Kansas.

In keeping with its affiliation with the Seward County Historical Society, the museum features both items that helped to settle the territory during its Wild West heyday, including an extensive weapons display and a large collection of those things that gave it a more civilized tone, including a beautifully restored ornate antique organ, quilts and home furnishings.

A Western Gallery, with photos of ranch life and frontier settlers, tells the story of the taming of the land. In 1996, the museum opened a western living exhibit, featuring artifacts and a recreation of what Seward County might have been like in its early days.

Fort Larned

Fort Larned was established in 1859 as a base of military operations against rnhostile Indians of the Central Plains, to protect traffic along the Santa Fe Trail and as an agency for the administration of the Central Plains Indians by the Bureau of Indian Affairs under the terms of the Fort Wise Treaty of 1861. Originally, the Army posted dugouts and tents along the Pawnee River. The post name was changed to Camp on Pawnee Fork, then it was changed to Camp Alert because there was need to be alert for Indian raids. The post was later moved and renamed to Fort Larned.

With nine restored buildings, it survives as one of the best examples of Indian Wars period forts. Today it is operated as a National Historic Site by the National Park Service. Most of the buildings including: barracks, commissary, officers quarters rnand more, are furnished to their original appearance. Fort Larned National Historic Site takes visitors back to this turbulent era in our nation’s history.

Visitor Center/Exhibits:The visitor center has a museum, introductory slide show, library, rest rooms and bookstore. There is a nature trail and a detached site where one can still view ruts left in the ground from wagons that traveled down the Santa Fe Trail.

Programs/Acitivities:When available, living historians staff the infantry barracks, post blacksmith shop, hospital, blockhouse, commissary and officers quarters. During the summer season, there are weekend demonstrations providing a more detailed look at life in the 1860s. Other special activities are scheduled from April to December.

Accessibility: The visitor center is handicapped accessible. Accessibility to the other historic buildings varies. There is a videotape of the fort available in the visitor center for those people who cannot make the walk.

Morton County Historical Society Museum

A visit to the Morton County Historical Museum is an exploration in history.

As you enter the museum, you will note the beautiful paintings around the room, depicting the history of Morton County. All are painted by local artists, reflecting pride in sturdy pioneer ancestors.

Walking through the museum, your imagination will allow you to relive Coronado\’s quest as he crosses the prairie; to experience the Indian\’s life as he follows the herds of buffalo. The Santa Fe Trail becomes a reality in your mind, and you can plainly visualize the freight wagons lead by William Becknell, as they hurry towards Middle Springs, just below Point of Rocks, for the only available water after leaving Wagon Bed Springs on the Cimarron Cut-Off.

You relive these events in history as you tour the various rooms of the pioneer home, the early businesses; look at the covered wagon hooked up to life-size horses; go down into the half dugout that is renewed memories for many visitors; and walk into the 14\’ teepee with Indian artifacts of the \”Native Americans\”. Antique tractors, cars, toys … there is something for everyone.

The Museum was established in 1987, and though the people of Morton County are the true history makers, staff and volunteers are extremely proud of their accomplishments to preserve and conserve the past.rn

The museum is a tribute to those who live … and a memorial to those who have passed on.


Meade County Historical Museum

The Meade County Historical Museum offers a glimpse into the lives of early Meade County settlers with stories and memorabilia from the frontier days. The museum boardwalk includes replicas of scenes from the past such as a sod house, general store and blacksmith shop. The museum also hosts an extensive collection of railroad memorabilia and artifacts from a local archeological dig.

The museum\’s outdoor display, which is 1 block east and 1/2 block south of the museum, includes the Sunnydale one room school house, a windmill and early farm equipment.

Lane County Historical Museum

As a tribute to those pioneers who endured the hardships and loneliness of the prairie, the Lane County Historical Society was established. In 1976, the Society opened the Historical Museum to help preserve and promote the history of the county.

In addition to the permanent and temporary exhibits, the Museum grounds include a machinery park, a native plants and grasses garden, and a full-scale sod house.

The Museum building houses a fine library containing reference materials on Lane County and Kansas. Copies of the Museum’s privately owned photographs can be obtained through the Museum Gift Shop. A variety of unique handcrafted items, and also books and post cards are available here.

The Kiowa County Historical Museum

The Kiowa County Historical Museum houses area memorabilia collected by The Kiowa Co. Historical Society. The restored Hunter Drug Store Soda Fountain stands proudly as a living history exhibit in the Kiowa County Commons Building, being enjoyed by new generations as well as devoted pre-tornado patrons.

The original Museum Building, prior to the EF5 tornado in May of 2007, was donated to the Historical Society by Beulah Wheeler, in memory of her late husband, Wendell & the heirs of J. M. Caplinger who wished the memory of their ancestor’s and the building to be preserved. Today a new building houses the artifacts and the soda fountain.

Kearny County Historical Society Museum

Step back in time as history unfolds at the Kearny County Museum on Buffalo Street. Established in 1979, the museum won the Kansas Historical Society’s Award of Excellence in 1982.

In 1974, the museum property, one-half city block, was given to the Kearny County Historical Society by Jennie Rose O’Loughlin, daughter of John and Mary O’Loughlin. Jennie’s father, John, was the county’s first permanent white settler in what was to become Kearny County. He was also the first permanent settler of Southwest Kansas. In 1873 John came to the railroad designated stop of Lakin to establish a store.

The complex consists of the museum building constructed in 1979 and annex, the White House, School House, Santa Fe Depot, Farm Machinery building and a Round Barn, totaling over 20,000 square feet. The Lakin area was an important part of the Santa Fe trail and houses an excellent Santa Fe Trail exhibit. The 1831 Conestoga Wagon is quite impressive.

The Museum was built in 1979. It houses a large reference library, with volumes reaching back as far as 1847. Extensive files on Kearny County history, families, newspapers, county records are housed in the Museum. An extensive collection of indexed photographs, Kansas Historical Society publications, and all newspapers printed in the county are on microfilm.