One of the last major segments of the Tallgrass Prairie that spread from Texas to the Dakotas. We all think of Texas and Wyoming when we think of cattle ranches, but the earliest and the some of the most prosperous were in the tallgrasses of Kansas.I arrived just at closing. The Superintendent, let me and a few other late arrivals into the brand...more
Cottonwood Street, the main traffic artery through Strong City, is KS-177, also known as the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway.This picturesque two- lane road offers an excellent opportunity for those who want to get off the beaten path and see a remnant of the vast tall grass prairie that once blanked much of Kansas and surrounding states.The...more
The W. B. Strong Memorial Railroad Park is located in downtown Strong City, next to the railroad depot. Both the park and the town are named in honor of William Barstow (W. B.) Strong, general superintendent and later, president of the Santa Fe Railway System. It is a small park, but a pleasant place to relax in the shade or maybe explore the old...more
There was a time when the American prairie seemed to go on forever. Unfortunately, we seem to be trying to pave it all but if you want to see tallgrass prairie, you will probably have to go to Kansas. 95% of the tallgrass prairie left on the planet is in Kansas and the National Park Service has decided to try to preserve some of it. There are three...more
If time is limited, but you wish to get a closer view of the grasslands, walk the nature trail from the ranch house to the Prairie Outlook. From this vantage point, you get a splendid view of the virtually treeless land once thought to be worthless because the soil was to rocky to be plowed and farmed. Hint - if it seems that there is even a light...more
If you have the time, it is an interesting experience to take the inexpensive "tour" with one of the park rangers out into the prairie preserve. It's neat to be able see little more than green grass and cattle or bison for twenty miles or so in any direction. We learned so much - how the preserve's trust status works, how the grazing of cattle is...more
Stepping inside this school house made me feel old. After all, this is a historical exhibit, I remember schools just like this. I did not actually attend one, but my four cousins who lived on a farm in my home county did*. I visited there on several occasions. My mother taught at a couple of these during her teaching career. Boys and girls up to...more
It's easy to stand on this hilltop and envision girls with braided pigtails and long skirts and aprons hurrying to the limestone school building while the none-too-eager boys find more interesting things to do - flush a prairie chicken from its nest, or chase a jackrabbit or bullsnake. In spite of the state highway running in front of the school,...more
The picture of the barn shown here belies the fact that this barn is actually a three-story limestone structure. Because it is built into the side of a hill, making the lowest level out of sight from this angle, farm workers could move livestock, equipment, or hay and grain directly into any of the three levels. And, unlike the wooden barns built...more
In the 1880's the ranch, then known as the Spring Hill Farm and Stock Ranch, was owned by wealthy Colorado cattleman, Stephen Jones. The impressive, showcase ranch house completed in 1881included innovative practical adaptations to this location and to life on the prairie. Don't miss the interesting home tour led by park rangers.more
The Annual Flint Hills Rodeo is one of the best. It is held the first full weekend of June each year. Prizes total over $50,000 and cowboys and cowgirls from all over come to compete for the prize money. Along with the rodeo there is a parade and a dance held. Other smaller rodeos are also held in the same location.more
My favorite thing in this area is the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. The ranch house was built in the 1880s by a wealthy cattleman. He hired a stone cutter and architect to help build it. The house has a distinctive mansard roof on it. All the out buildings at the ranch head quarters are made from native lime stone and you can park your car...more
Strong City is on highway 50. The big trucks use highway 50 so they can try to avoid the turnpike. The truckers don't like the turnpike fees. That means there are a LOT of big trucks on highway 50. Be careful driving that road so you don't get in the way of one of them.
This is the barn at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. It is built of the native lime stone just like all the other ranch buildings. There are two ramps going to the upper floors and the barn is so big a wagon and team of horses can drive into the upper story with ease. (I love old barns.)more
Strong City owes it's existence to the Railroad. The original Strong City Depot on this site burned in 1902 and was replaced in 1903. However, because of heavy railroad traffic through the town, both passerger and freight, this new brick depot trimmed in native cut limestone was built in 1913. At the time the cost was $20,000 and the Strong City depot was said to be one of the finest in the Santa Fe Railway System.
Alas, passener train service is no longer available in Strong City, but freight trains still rumble through town on a regular basis.