Our first stop in the Flint Hills was at Council Grove. If you visit, just go straight to the Kaw MIssion State Historic Site, because if you are lucky enough to meet the lady named Mary who was working there on the day of our visit, she will tell you about every place of interest in the entire town, and give you pamphlets and brochures to help you find them all. The signs leading to the Kaw Mission are faded and hard to see at times, so keep an eye out.
This house sits across the road from the Kaw Mission. There are several buildings in this town that are on the National Register of Historic Places, most of them private dwellings. Council Groves was built right on the Santa Fe Trail. Cliff and I live on the Santa Fe Trail, and I like to imagine the settlers passing by after leaving Independence and, perhaps weeks later, going through Council Groves.
In 1850 the Missionary Society of the Methodist-Episcopal Church, under contract to the US government, began building a mission school for the education of the Kansa Indians. Unfortunately, the Indians didn't want their kids learning the ways of the crazy white people and only sent a few orphan boy, none of whom cared for school, so they ran away. Those Indians are a stubborn lot. After a few years the white people realized it was hopeless to try and change the natives, and the building became a school for local white kids.
|bricks in front of the school|
This is a horse-watering trough that was moved here from the main street. Behind it is a reconstructed Kaw Reservation house like the ones white people built for the Indians... who did NOT like them and refused to use them.
This is the type of housing the Kansa Indians preferred.
By the way, the website of the Kaw Mission states that most people do the tour in a half-hour. Good grief, our guide talked longer than that. We excused ourselves to go eat, and then returned. Cliff tries to read every interesting tidbit of information when he visits museums, and I'm glad to see him enjoying himself while indulging me in my hair-brained ideas.
I was really looking forward to this place, and would recommend it because of the history behind it.
Our guide at the mission recommended their skillet-fried chicken, and the Hays House folks seem to think it's their specialty too; so that's what we had. If I were doing it over I would order the club sandwich, or the Reuben. There wasn't anything wrong with the chicken, but I've had better. Still, the surroundings were fun.
After we returned to the mission and finished our tour, we went for a stroll on the riverwalk.
Seems like every town has a riverwalk these days. This one took us to the statue of a Kansas warrior.
I loved our time spent in Council Grove. We should have spent the whole day there, then gone on to Cottonwood falls; but if we had, the courthouse wouldn't have been open because it's only open on weekdays. Going inside the courthouse was a priority for me. I've wanted to see the inside of it ever since my Russian friend Meesha did a blog entry about his visit to the Flint Hills.