Seth Hays built this stone barn which stands today as a reminder of days gone by.
The imposing, 76-foot-long native stone barn was built into the bank of a hill in 1871 on land owned by the town’s founder, Seth Hays. It’s the only structure remaining from the Morris County Poor Farm, which existed here from 1889-1945. Gatherings at the Old Stone Barn in June are re-enactments of the Santa Fe Trail rendezvouses.
Location: 1 Mile East on US-56, Council Grove, Kansas 66846
Another National Historic Registry building in Council Grove. This home is Seth Hays home, the first white settler in the area.
The town founder, Seth Hays, built this home in 1867. His slave, Aunt Sally, lived in the basement and cared for the family until her death in 1872. Operated as a museum by the Morris County Historical Society, the home is open in the summer on Sunday afternoons and by appointment.
Location: Wood Street, Council Grove, Kansas 66846
Honoring the Native American Kaw or Kansa Tribe. Together with the Madonna of the Trail, these two statues symbolize the true story of the West.
Created by Council Grove artist Mark Sampsel this bronze statue was authrorized by Kaw Nation of Oklahoma.
Location: Near the bridge crossing the Neosho River, Council Grove, Kansas 66846
You can see the jail that held the criminals in the early days of the western movement. Certainly doesn’t look like there was much room for many at a time!
Desperadoes, ruffians, robbers and horse thieves all "bunked" here in this early day calaboose (jail), built in 1849. It was said to be the only jail on the Santa Fe Trail at the time. Other Durland Park attractions: the Sylvan Park Depot, a privately-owned railway station built by T. W. Whiting for the convenience of his wife and visitors to Sylvan Park Ranch; and the old KATY Depot, built around 1895 and in use until 1957.
Location: East Main Street, Council Grove, Kansas 66846
How did the settlers leave mail? They used this 300-year-old bur oak (just the trunk remains) served as the unofficial post office for travelers on the Santa Fe Trail from 1825-1847.
Passing caravans could leave messages for future travelers in a cache in the base of the tree. A stone building erected in 1864 next to the tree houses a museum, operated by the Morris County Historical Society. Open Sunday afternoons in summer and by appointment.
Location: East Main Street, Council Grove, Kansas 66846
Just look at this 10-feet-tall figure is made of pink Algonite stone and was erected in 1928 by the Daughters of the American Revolution. This striking statue, depicting a pioneer mother with two children, pays tribute to the sturdy women of covered wagon days.
There are identical Madonna statues erected in historically significant communities in 11 other states. The trail with all the trials and hardships signify the adventure those that settled the area here and further west endured. The statues are a wonderful reminder of the courage and faith of those settlers.
Location: Corner of Union and Main Streets, Council Grove, Kansas 66846
Daniel Boone’s grandson, Seth M. Hays built this Tavern and Restaurant. As the first white settler in the area in 1947 he started the business that is now on the National Historic Registry.
Over the years, the Hays House was a gathering place for church services, court trials, bawdy theatricals and politicians’ speeches. Among its early patrons were George A. Custer and Jesse James. Today the Hays House is famous as the oldest continuously operated restaurant west of the Mississippi River.
The Hays House cellar still has the original meat hooks and the original bar. For many years this area was
used church services on Sunday mornings, using the piano at the far right. This space has great acoustics.
Location: 112 West Main, Council Grove, Kansas 66846
This building was constructed in 1887 and now is on the National Historic Registry.
This bank that anchors a corner of downtown is a fine example of Western Commerical architecture. The exterior of the building was refurbished in 1974 and, after a 1978 fire, additional work restored the lobby to an appearance reminiscent of 1887.
The building continuously operated as a bank until 1978, and now houses several business offices.
Location: 130 West Main Street, Council Grove, Kansas 66846
Another building in this community that is on the National Historic Registry.
The two-story red brick bank with limestone trim was built in 1892 for
$20,000. Romanesque arches, a Byzantine dome and minarets. The bank reflects the growing sophistication and prosperity of the area before the turn of the century. A 1982 renovation allows the bank to compete in today’s electronic environment and continue to operate in its historic location.
Location: 201 West Main, Council Grove, Kansas 66846
This two-story brick building began in 1867 as a 3-room cottage and blacksmith shop.
Following its use as a cottage and blacksmith shop the house was used as a boarding house until new owners took over the property and built a 5,000-square-foot, two-story Queen Anne addition which marked the Cottage House’s transition from boarding house to hotel. Some of the more beautiful and unique features of the hotel are found in this addition.
Today, the handsome gazebo-style porches are favorite gathering places for guests and the historic hotel is a restored showcase of unique Victorian charm. From "Aunt Minnie’s Room" to the "Bridal Chamber" with its stained glass and brass and iron bed, every room in the main hotel has a personality all its own. Special accents in the 26 rooms range from a sitting room with a bay window to a clawfoot bathtub.
Location: 25 North Neosho, Council Grove, KS 66846
Telephone: 800-727-7903 or 620-767-6828
The ruts from the wagon trains traveling west on the Santa Fe Trail are still visible at this location.
the 175-year-old Santa Fe Trail ruts carved their niche in our nation’s history by helping move freight and settlers to the great Southwest.
To see the ruts, take US-56 (Main Street) west to the city limits sign. Drive another 4.9 miles west, turn left (south) on a gravel road and go 0.6 miles. A sign indicates the ruts, a shallow trough running in a west-southwest direction. (The ruts are on private property.)
See this unique store that was the last chance for Santa Fe Trail travelers to buy supplies until Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Thousands of travelers on the Santa Fe Trail knew this was their last opportunity to purchase needed supplies before departing for the 625 mile trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is the oldest commercial building in Council Grove.
The building is on the National Historic Registry.
See how small this facility is and how it had to have all the things the travelers would rely on during thier trip.
W Main St and Chautauqua
Council Grove, KS 66846
Phone: (620) 767-6828
On this site is a small cave that was reportedly the home of an Italian religious mystic, Giovanni Augustini, for a few months before he traveled to New Mexico on the Santa Fe Trail.
He supposedly walked 500 miles on this trip to New Mexico.
Location: 2 blocks north of Main Street/Highway 56 on Belfry Street, Counvil Grove, Kansas 66846
Situated high on a hill overlooking the town and Neosho River valley below, The Old Bell Monument was erected in 1866 to warn townsfolk of Indian raids. It also served as a school and church bell for nearly 30 years.
Location: North Belfry Street, Council Grove, Kansas 66846-1433