• 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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  • Reminder, Bison Are Wild Animals

    Windmill Pasture is home to the bison herd. They have been quite active in recent weeks. Please stay on the trails and use caution in their vicinity. Do not come in close contact with the bison. Allow at least 100 yards between you and the herd. More »

  • Handicap Parking Available at Visitor Center

    For the next several months, the handicap parking area by the barn is closed until the barn construction project is complete. Handicap parking is available at the Visitor Center.

Virtual Tour Ranch House Kitchen Area

old kitchen

Second Level - Kitchen Area

Photo from 1935 shows the area in some disrepair. Its original use as a kitchen had been replaced with more utilitarian uses such as a space for food preservation. Also note the square hole in the ceiling. This was most likely the cavity for the original dumbwaiter elevator that lifted food to the upstairs butler's pantry.

The open door to the left of the staircase is the entrance to the underground passage leading to the spring room; the equivalent to our modern day refrigerators.The staircase in the photo leads up to the next level where the dining room and butler's pantry/new kitchen were located.

Learn more about the spring room.

 
root cellar

Using the historic photo above as a reference, the doorway to this room, the root cellar, is on the far left and not visible in the photo. Fruits, vegetables, and canned food stuffs were stored here. Of interest is the square opening in the barrel shaped ceiling. This one of two skylights serves to allow light into an otherwise very dark area.

Original occupant Louisa Jones was known to be "deathly afraid" of storms and requested her husband provide easy access to storm shelter. Today, the entire original kitchen area serves as a storm shelter to staff and visitors.

 

Did You Know?

Smoke tornadoes created from spring prairie burns at the preserve.

Kansas is tied with Florida for 3rd place in most number of tornadoes per year. This tornado is actually a "smoke devil" spawned from annual spring prairie burns at the preserve. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve