• The setting sun over the Flint Hills casts shadows across the wide expanse of tallgrass prairie.

    Tallgrass Prairie

    National Preserve Kansas

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  • Recent Aggressive Bison Behavior

    Bison have recently exhibited some aggressive behavior. Hikers are alerted. Hiking is still available with alternate trails around Windmill Pasture. If hiking through the pasture, please stay at least 100 yards away from the bison or turn around. More »

Virtual Tour Curing Room

curing house

Curing house in proximity to the main house

The exact use of this limestone building is still under investigation. The hooks in the ceiling rafters suggest that it was used to cure salted hanging meat. A lack of smoke and soot residue in the ceiling suggests that it wasn't a smoke house. Salted meat was also placed in barrels of brine.

 
inside the curing house

View of the east wall, inside the limestone building. Note one of three round windows for ventilation. Inside on display are implements used in butchering; lard press, sausage stuffer, hog scrapers, knives, meat saw, hook, large iron kettle, and other tools.

 
doorway to curing house

Butchering usually took place in the fall. Hams and other meats were salted down, wrapped in cheesecloth, and hung on hooks in the ceiling of this building. The three port holes caused air to be drawn in from the outside, forcing the salt to move inward toward the meat's interior. This was a very common means of food preservation. Meat was also salted and placed in barrels filled with brine. Before the meat was consumed, it was parboiled to remove the salt.This structure was used as a curing house and beneath it is the spring room.

 
interior view of the curing house

Another interior view of the curing house showing portholes and meat hooks in the ceiling.

Did You Know?

Spring Hill Ranch at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Stephen F. Jones spent the modern equivalent of about $1.9 million building the Spring Hill Ranch complex including the stone fences, but only owned the property for 10 years and occupied the limestone ranch house for 5 1/2 years. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve