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

    Tallgrass Prairie

    National Preserve Kansas

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • 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 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?

Limestone and flint on the surface of the soil kept it from being tilled

Zebulon Pike unknowingly named the Flint Hills based on his journal entry in 1806 as he camped and passed through very 'ruff' hills of flint. This flint kept the prairie from being tilled. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve