Sunday, August 18, 2013

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in the Flint Hills of Kansas

Before we went to Cottonwood Falls, we stopped at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.  This may have been Cliff's favorite stop on our road trip.
The following is taken from a brochure I picked up there:
"In 1878 Stephen and Louisa Jones went to Kansas to build a cattle feeding station for their family's Colorado cattle operation.  They bought land from individuals and the railroad, growing the Spring Hill Farm and Stock Ranch to 7,000 acres.  They owned the land only ten years, but left behind ranch buildings in the Second Empire architectural style.  They also left over thirty miles of stone fence that had been needed when the cattle range went from open to closed.  The Z Bar Ranch, with all the Joneses' grand structures intack, became Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in 1996.  The Nature Conservancy, which owns most of the land, manages the preserve with the National Park Service."

When this building caught my eye, I made Cliff pull over so I could take a picture.  I had no idea the school was on the preserve where we were heading until we topped the hill and saw the sign.  

As we entered the visitor center, Cliff had to do his usual inspection of the building materials and check out the quality of the concrete work.   

Check out the size of that stone barn!  

I think this would make a perfect haunted house.  

Notice that the architectural style of the house is the same as the Chase County Courthouse, only a few miles to the south.  

Cliff, studying the outhouse.  

This is some fancy outhouse.  Now, when I was a kid, if the toilet was a two-holer, two of us girls might go in together and chat as we answered nature's call.  Or my mom and I might share the facilities.  But Cliff, who read the information you see in the corner, tells me that one person at a time used this one.  They would use one hole until the stack got so high it was almost to the top, then use the next one while the doo-doo in the first one sort of composted and settled.  They couldn't move the toilet and empty the pit, obviously, because it's made of stone.   

 The smokehouse (or perhaps a summer kitchen) and the back of the house.

The chicken house, with sod growing on the roof to keep it cool.  The open shed next to it was a run for the chickens.  

Inside the chicken house.  By the way, it really was cool inside, although somewhat damp.  

Horses could walk up ramps to the top floor of the barn taking grain or hay.  

Cliff pointed out how the barn had been fortified with metal in many places, probably by the park service.  That barn will be standing for a long time yet.   

Looking out across the fields from the back of the barn.  

We would have taken more time here, but I wanted to get to the Chase County Courthouse before it closed.  



LOVE the outhouse and chicken house with sod on the roof.

Margaret said...

Yuck on the outhouse--that must have smelled and attracted LOTS of flies!! That place is too cheery and in the open for a haunted house. :)

Rockintnc said...

Beautiful place! Thanks for sharing your road trips!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

That was a beautiful place. I've never seen such fancy out buildings made of stone they way those were. I can imagine they would be cooler in the summer time. I love how the park service take over and preserve places like that. I got to visit a farm that was taken over by our start parks last week and am thankful that it'll be preserved for others to see.