• 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 Schoolhouse Renovation

schoolhouse before renovation

In 1968 the 14 Garden Clubs in the Mid-East District of Kansas selected the school's restoration as their special project. After securing the approval of the Davis-Noland-Merrill Grain Company(who owned the property),the clubs raised funds to renovate the building to as near its 1882 appearance as possible.Research is being completed on the school, so that it may return to its original appearance.

The photo shows the schoolhouse prior to remodeling by the Garden Clubs. After the school was abandoned in 1946, it was used as housing by a young couple who worked for the ranch. Later it was used to store hay.

garden club volunteers

This picture from 1969 shows Mrs. Fred Howard, Mrs. Elmer Ross, Mrs. R.B. Hughes, and Mrs. Carl Cowley (left to right) donating their time by painting the trim around the windows.

blueprint for schoolhouse area

This is the general layout of the schoolhouse area. Special notes show the original flagpole was located on the north side of the school and a coal shed was attached outside on the west side of the building.

From historic photos we also know a small wooden structure was located close and northwest of the school. It was used for the student/teacher horses.

blueprint of the schoolhouse interior

The interior of the school was laid out very symetrically with teacher's desk at the head of the classroom and desks in three rows. A recitation desk was closest to the teacher's desk for the purpose of quizzing students and assuring their knowledge of the lessons assigned. A stove was attached to the west wall in the back, tieing into the chimney. There were two separate entrance doors for boys and girls with cloakroom areas adjacent to each door.

Through oral history interviews with former students and teachers we know the school had a moveable raised platform for the teachers desk. A temporary curtain was positioned directly in front of the platform to allow students to perform during the Christmas program.

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Did You Know?

Southwind Nature Trail at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

A single blade of big bluestem might have a root system descending over 8 feet underground. This is deep enough so that the plant will emerge in the spring even without rainfall. Big bluestem grows abundantly on the Southwind Nature Trail.