Kaw Mission State Historic Site is one of seventeen historic properties
administered by the Historic Sites Division of the Kansas Historical Society. The Society purchased the Kaw Mission in 1951 from
Carl Huffaker for $23,500.
A native of Council Grove, Carl Huffaker moved to
Oklahoma around 1900 and became a successful businessman and banker,
prospering during the oil boom there. In 1926 Carl, his wife Bertha, and
their three-year-old daughter, Marjorie, returned to Council Grove to
take up residence in the old Kaw Mission. In that year the Huffakers
spent $37,000 to remodel the interior. Today visitors to the Kaw Mission
can view many of these 1926 alterations including the oak floors,
luxurious rosewood woodwork, steam heat system, light fixtures, and
||The interior of the Kaw Mission contains exhibits
telling the story of the Kaw Indians, Santa Fe Trail, and early Council
Grove. An eight-minute introductory video, The Original Kansans,
provides an overview of the history of the Kaw Mission and the Kanza
Indians. Written by Kaw Mission curator Ron Parks, the video was
produced in October 2000 by KTWU-TV in Topeka.
Following the video,
visitors are free to explore the two rooms downstairs and three rooms
and large hallway upstairs. Exhibits include Kaw leather craft,
beadwork, textiles, and a Kaw photo gallery. Additional artifacts
include Santa Fe Trail-related items and early day furniture, weapons,
tools, and domestic paraphernalia.
A gift shop containing books, cards, and other history related items is available. Additionally, a brochure rack provides
free information about other historic sites and museums in the region.
In addition to the Kaw Mission, a small, stone
"Indian Hut" is situated on the historic site. This is one of
138 of these structures the federal government built on the diminished
Kaw Reservation in 1861 as intended residences for the Kaws. The
Indians, who had for generations been living comfortably in skin tepees
and bark-and-mat lodges, wanted nothing to do with their new homes,
choosing instead to stable their horses and dogs in them.
1961, the Council Grove Rotary Club dismantled one of these structures
and reassembled it on the grounds of the Kaw Mission State Historic
Site. Currently, the hut contains a small exhibit gallery featuring the
natural environment of early-day Council Grove. Entitled "There Is
a Wild Beauty about Council Grove," the exhibit focuses on the
wildlife, river, springs, trees, and prairie in and around Council Grove
as seen through the eyes of travelers on the Santa Fe Trail.
The Kaw Mission State Historic Site is the first
designated stop on the twenty-one site historical tour route. It is also Council
Grove’s official visitor information center. The site is situated on
the northern end of the new one-half-mile-long "Riverwalk," a
beautiful, winding walkway hugging the banks of the Neosho River.
southern end of the "Riverwalk," located at the intersection
of K-177 Highway and Main, is the lovely bronze statue of a Kaw Warrior.
Named "The Guardian of the Grove," this eight-foot sculpture
piece provides a powerful visual statement about the historical presence
of the native peoples for whom the state of Kansas is named. (more
the Kaw Mission State Historic Site and Council Grove
residents celebrated a special event–the 150th
birthday of the Kaw Mission. This sesquicentennial was
observed by programs focusing on the history of the Kaw
Mission and its associated themes and personalities. A series
of articles summarizing the events of 150 years ago
was published in the Republican.
A powerful outdoor dramatization of the story of the
Kaws and Council Grove called "Voices of the Wind
People" was shown again in September of 2010. This highly-acclaimed historical pageant is
cosponsored by the Council Grove pageant committee and
the Kaw Nation.
Other program events include the
annual community celebration Washunga
Days, held the third weekend
of June, during which the Kaw Nation cosponsors an Inter-tribal Powwow on
the grounds of the Kaw Mission.
Raises Funds for Preservation and Development Project
In partnership with the Kansas Historical Society, The Friends of Kaw Heritage, Inc., a
501(c)3 organization, has reached our goal to acquire donations to
provide the 20% match, totaling $44,160.00, required by the
Department of Transportation for the $220,800.00 Kaw Mission
preservation and development project.
The money was used to convert the existing garage into
Center, provide ADA-approved pathways to the buildings, and repair the
exterior of the Mission
The Kansas Historical Society committed $22, 080.00 or 50% of the match requirement.
FKH raised $22,080.00 from
our membership and local supporters.
began in late March of 2005 and was completed by early July, 2006.
Many thanks to our faithful volunteers, members of the
Friends of Kaw Heritage, and the Kansas Historical Society
for working together to make our dream of the Kaw Mission
Education Center a reality!
Average annual visitation at the Kaw Mission is
approximately 10,000. Of the seventeen historic sites administered by the
KSHS’s Historic Sites Division, the Kaw Mission has recently ranked
second in the number of registered visitors per year.
Homes in Kansas Educational Tour
The Kaw Mission is now
giving first grade students and teachers alike
the opportunity to combine an enriching
educational experience with fulfillment of
Kansas standards in a unique field trip. This
standards based educational tour, American
Indian Homes in Kansas, teaches students
about how American Indians – Kansa, Pawnee,
Wichita and Cheyenne - built homes of natural
resources found in the Kansas locations where
they lived. The tour fulfills specific Kansas
standards. Teachers are provided pre- and
post-visit materials to help meet these
$3.00 for adults and seniors, and $1.00 for students.
KSHS, Inc. members, FKH members, and children under
five years and under
are admitted free.
AAA members receive 20 percent discount on admission.
9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. Wednesday - Saturday
Closed on Sunday, Monday,
and all state holidays.
We will schedule tours and private showings
For more information:
Call site curator
Honeyman at 620-767-5410
Kaw Mission State Historic Site
500 North Mission
Council Grove, KS 66846
Phone or FAX: (620) 767-5410